Cliffview Bungalows: offering tranquility in Vangvieng

Welcoming Visit Laos Year 2018, Vientiane Times is publishing a series of feature articles and images
inviting you to experience the authentic nature, culture, history and hospitality of Laos, Jewel of the Mekong.

Cliffside bungalows provide a free cross-river ferry boat ride to town.

Viengvang is one of the most beautiful and well-known tourist destinations in Laos and is popular for its river trips and other activities centred on the area’s caves and craggy limestone hills.
The scenery is spectacular and offers great views from the hilltops and along the scenically situated Nam Song river.
Of course, if you want to have an enjoyable time that means choosing a comfortable place to stay and good places to eat.
In this captivating resort town there are hundreds of hotels and guesthouses to choose from but the Cliffview Bungalows have become my firm favourite and were where I had yet another wonderful couple of nights last weekend.
The bungalows are very close to the town where most services and activities are located, but on the other side of the Song River.
Crossing the river is easy as guests at the bungalows have free use of a boat at all times of the day and night, and in the dry season you can walk across a bamboo bridge.
The wooden bungalows are well designed and are sturdy and comfortable. We chose one at the front near the riverbank or you can opt for a room at the back from where you get a view over the hills and rice fields.
The bungalows are situated in a lush green area so that you feel you’re in a garden, which is well organised and full of green plants and is so enjoyable that you may not want to leave.
If you have a room at the back, my advice is to get up early and sit at the small table on the balcony while having a hot cup of coffee to bring your senses alive. You can either stay there for a while and let your gaze linger over the verdant vista, or you can take a walk to explore.
The beauty of these bungalows is that you can walk straight out to the rice fields where you will see the early morning mist hanging over the farm and rising to the hills. After a while when this has dissipated, you will be greeted by the sight of a spectacular sunrise over to the left.
A bungalow at the front gives you a different but equally rewarding outlook, and it’s advisable not to waste a moment of the day and to get up early as this is always a good time in Vangvieng. Sit on your balcony while sipping on a coffee and watching the burbling river gliding past. You will see wisps of white smoke along the river and the locals out on their boats, either ferrying people across or fishing.
The bungalows serve up a western-style breakfast including fried eggs, omelet, hotdogs and other cooked items.
Of course, Vangvieng is full of fascinating activities, so you should venture outside as soon as you’ve finished breakfast.
The bungalows are located close to one of the town’s major attractions - the tubing and kayaking that are so popular with people wanting to spend time on the river. There are also many huts along the riverbank where you can while away a few hours eating and drinking or engaging in water sports.
If you’re part of a group or with a friend it’s good to return to the bungalows in the evening to prepare your own dinner. You can cook up a barbecue and the staff will lend you everything you need.
Another of the appealing aspects of this location is that there are few people around, especially at this time of the year before the main tourist season kicks in.
This means you almost have the place to yourself and feel very privileged to enjoy the environs in privacy. It is so relaxing to sit by the riverbank chatting to your friends. And later on you can enjoy complete silence, disturbed only by the sound of insects singing and the river gently gurgling by.
Vangvieng is often abuzz with music, bars and dancing, but it also offers complete relaxation and total immersion in nature if you pick the right place.

By Patithin Phetmeuangphuan
(Latest Update October 04, 2018)

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