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“Nature Trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

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Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge
Ban Thadokkam, Vientiane, Laos   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 178 Vientiane B&B and Inns
Byron Bay, Australia
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Nature Trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2013

Certainly worth the drive out of Vientiane! Set your expectations straight before coming though, cause it surely ain't for the party crowd. If you're looking for tranquility, however, this is the place to be.

The lodges do need a bit of maintenance work, but we still had a cozy sleep. They got a list of activities such as nature treks, local village visits, even cooking lessons. Because of my swollen ankle, we weren't able to give these a go. We did enjoy the DVDs we borrowed from Barnaby (He's got heaps!).

There's a floating restaurant where brekkie is served. The resto has an extensive menu. But again, because of my ankle (there's a few meters walk downhill to the river from our lodge) and my husband's pad thai craving, we ate more often at the Thai restaurant next door.

Our toddler Luna had fun playing with Barnaby's toddler Alicia. Will definitely come back if we get to visit Laos again.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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93 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    43
    29
    10
    3
    8
See reviews for
11
31
21
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
2 reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2013

After visiting Lao numerous times I was delighted to find Rivertime Eco Lodge! Those who know about Lao the roads north can be very dangerous as in buses slipping off cliff faces and even tourist being shot on highway 13! you need to fly between destinations.. These are unfortunate risks one takes when visiting this delightful but dangerous country.

And then I found Revertime!!! You couldnt ask for a better landing pad, it's super close to the vientianne border crossing and you have a English born expat to ensures your safety, he speaks the local dialect fluently and also German and French making the global community that much smaller. No long dodgy bus trips required!

I visited Rivertime before Barnaby was the manager and let me tell you he definatly makes the place better and helps you get a grasp on LAO LIFE, why not follow by example and snooze in the hammock?? LAO P.D.R !! P.D.R is said to stand for 'please don't rush' so leave your westen anxietys and great expecations at the border! Lao is on of the poorest countries in the world but makes up for it in the richmess of culture and a very relaxed happy attitude! It's so nice to get off the beaten track and experience a culture for what it really is!! Not just people that a forced to work for tourism, the traditional village across the river is one of the sweetest places on this planet, RELAX and enjoy!!

Sleeping under a canopy of butterflies and moths in a mini jungle setting is a true delight, the colours that are contantly changing within the river and sky from dawn to dusk is an absolutely spectacular view somethning that can observed for weeks on end!

Get back to nature and the life god (or buddah) intended! take a breath and air your bones for a while, this is the place to do it, leave feeling like part of the family!!

Would love to see the bungalows rebuilt as the truth is they are getting run down but well worth the stay regardless.

Love to see you all soon X

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

My girlfriend and I had arranged with Barnaby our stay early last year via email. Rivertime also arranged our pick up from the train station at the Thailand/Loas border. The driver, Sit, is a local that works at Rivertime (he's probably the nicest person in Laos you'll ever meet).

It takes about 40 minutes to get to Rivertime from the station. Barnaby introduced himself and Sit then showed us to our lodge. The room was incredible! It is in a rural, wooded area therefore there are going to be various wildlife about but don't let the idea of creepy crawlies put you off; there are mosquito nets around each of the beds. Very protective. The westernised toilets are a nice touch too.

The floating restaurant is a sight to behold, great river views that will not make you want to leave. Relaxing with a Beer Lao (not Lao Beer, I made that mistake!) and watching the sun set in good company cannot get any better.

Barnaby and Sit asked us to join them and the other staff in a beverage or two most evenings. It was great fun hanging out and having a laugh with them, treating ourselves to a drink or two the day before Women's Day.

There is plenty to do at Rivertime Resort. You can go tubing, kayaking, take trips to local villages, swim in their swimming pool and borrow a bicycle amongst other things. We took advantage of the book exchange in the office and the borrowing of a laptop to watch a couple of films from Barnaby's vast collection, thanks for the few we watched!

It was quite sad to leave, as we felt we built a good friendship with both Barnaby and Sit. We would definitely stay at Rivetime Resort again, and possibly never leave because of how relaxing it is.

Thank you again Barnaby and Sit!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Udon Thani, Thailand
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

I found Rivertime a wonderful experience and would much rather stay here than anywhere in Vientiane. The place is not for everyone (it is rural Laos, after all), but for those who can handle sleeping in a rustic cabin among the trees it offers plenty of opportunity to both relax and enjoy oneself.

The cabin (#1) was comfortable, although I wouldn't call it luxurious by any means. The bed was OK but not great. Even on an exceptionally cool day, the water in the shower was warm enough - just. There was some evidence of termites, but that probably can't be avoided, and they don't bite. More importantly, over the course of almost 48 hours, I saw all of one (1) mosquito in the cabin, and not many more elsewhere. Not that I was looking for them, but didn't see many bugs, period. Maybe I was just lucky. In any case, the mosquito net was in great condition.

The staff was consistently friendly and helpful - when it started raining, someone brought us an umbrella, for example - and I enjoyed every bite I ate in the restaurant. The Thai restaurant next-door is a treat: great food in a beautiful setting.

One night Barnaby and the staff took all the guests to a festival in a nearby village, and while the event was 90% cheesy and maybe 10% exotic, it was a fun and night out. It did raise one question, however: if Beer Lao didn't exist, would there still be a Laos?

The best part of my stay: swimming in the "pool," a part of the river that is enclosed by the same floating deck as the restaurant. The current is strong, but not too strong to swim against, so the pool provides a great place to get some exercise in an endless pool: there's no risk of floating away down the river. The water, in case you wonder, seemed clean and fresh, and it was just warm enough that one could comfortably stay in it forever.

I've pointed out a couple of shortcomings, but that's easy; it's more difficult to describe just how relaxing and comfortable a resort feels. And Rivertime does feel relaxing and comfortable. I'm not talking about the hammocks and the chairs, which, by the way, I thought were just fine, unlike another reviewer. I thought the atmosphere of the place was a breath of fresh, invigorating air, and I left feeling rejuvenated.

I could have stayed for weeks.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2013

Fantastic! We had a great time here, we had had enough of the hussle and bussle of Thailands capital and were so ready to CHILL OUT! The eco lodge was perfect for just that. We were collected from the city by Sit. He was very friendly and also a good driver! We arrived and settled in quickly by ordering copious amounts of beer lao at the floating river restaurant! We did much of the same on our second day too! Reading our books in the hammocks and sleeping and eating! Enjoying the river views and endless rice paddies! We could have gone for a cycle or done some activities but we were happy to stay and relax (I swam in the river once). We spoke with all the guests and met some lovely people while we were there from all over the world. I enjoyed the bungalow style accomadation, sheets were clean and the bed was nice, even came with a mozzie net. I like the pebbled bathrooms too, western toilets and it was also clean. We were woken to roosters and jungle sounds early in the morning and we loved every minute. It is a great get away for anyone that loves nature/relaxing/back packing and beer (lao whisky is quite good too), take cash as there are no atms there but you can pay for everything at the end with card so it was no problem. Thanks Barnaby and family for a great time! I wish you guys all the best for 2013!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Delhi, India
Top Contributor
107 reviews 107 reviews
81 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
125 helpful votes 125 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2012

Nice little getaway from Vientiane. Food is not so exciting but there is a great Thai restaurant next door. Rooms are ok, management is BritishbeentoolonginLao style. We got a massage from the local woman (as per their list of things to do). She was very local style, spent an hour yawning and scratching her head and then took the USD$7 fee from me (a 100,000 kip from my friend). When we checked out we told the manager that we had paid the woman already but he did not deduct that from the bill.
I do appreciate the eco policy and arrangement with the locals but really, there are better value options around

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BarnsLaos, Manager at Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge, responded to this review, December 21, 2012
I wondered why you kept eating upstairs! You only ate on our floating restaurant once over the whole three nights you were here and then it was only one simple noodle dish and one simple rice dish. A bit too small of a sample to make such a wide-ranging judgement!

There are 380 dishes on our menu ranging from simple noodle and rice dishes to big beautiful BBQ Fish & Fresh Vegetables...as commended so highly in the last review!

You read about the massage in our list of Activities & Excursions. The massage paragraph is only five lines long and two of those lines say, word-for-word, "We pay her directly ourselves when she leaves and add it to your bill so please don't give her any money, unless you mean it as a tip of course!" I don't see how I can be any clearer than that. I even asked her when she left, as I always do, "The guests didn't give you any money did they?" and she said "No" so, of course, I paid her too! As a result, of course I added it to the bill. Why should the company lose money due to the dishonesty of locals? We already lose plenty due to that!

I think my management style is more BeenbangingmyheadagainstabrickwallfortoolonginLao style...

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it overall.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swindon, United Kingdom
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012 via mobile

If you are doing your research and wondering about this place then let me state a few facts for you. It is 30km away from Vientiane, it's in a rain forest and it's by a river. That means that you stay pretty much on site (tours not withstanding), it's wet and occasionally even a little mucky and that 5 star accommodation it ain't.
What it is however is a chance to experience something a bit different.
The Good
-the peace and calm (except when the locals play Lao music.)
- the people; Barnaby the owner is great, Sit the Guest manager is great (even helped me eat my dinner) and the the rest of the team are friendly and helpful.
-the food; Barnaby could charge more... It's Cheap here but the food is fantastic. I have spent two months seeking the best seafood in Asia and I would still rate the BBQ fish from here at the top.
-the whole set up; it's a bit wild and a lot different, floating restaurant is a unique and brilliant concept, which works very well.

The bad
-bugs... Harmless but damned annoying.
-Lao music; this isn't restricted to rivertime... It's bloody awful whereever you go!
-the bathroom floor is stones and slabs. Ok when you are sober and alert. Painful when half cut and sleepy.

So there you have it; read the website. Barnaby is remarkably (and commendably) honest on his website. Email if you aren't sure, we found the responses prompt and helpful. Enjoy!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

Address: Ban Thadokkam, Vientiane, Laos
Location: Laos > Vientiane Province > Vientiane
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 178 B&Bs / Inns in Vientiane
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We are a riverside ecolodge resort only 30 km outside of Vientiane which offers a true taste of rural Lao life but with most of the comforts of home. We have a floating restaurant on the river and offer a range of activities such as local village tours, tubing, cooking classes, massage, a sauna nearby, boat trips, fishing, free bicycles etc. We do our best to live in harmony with both the local people and the surrounding forest. We also donate $2 per guest night to local education and community projects. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rivertime Resort And Ecolodge Hotel Vientiane
Rivertime Hotel And Ecolodge
Rivertime Hotel Vientiane

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