As soon as I made it up the bank from the boat landing in town and started wandering around trying to get my bearings, I knew Luang Prabang was a place I'd need to spend more than just the three nights I'd booked for. And walking into Manichan's solidified that feeling.
Peter has everything organized so that it takes two minutes to get checked in, there's a map on your bed letting you know where, and when I asked about staying another night, he was able to accommodate me. Then i met some wonderful people at the table in the courtyard, and we started to make travel plans, and one thing lead to another and me staying two more nights in a different room, being invited to join Peter, the kids, and two other women who had volunteered at the school there, to join them to a trip out to Kuang Si falls.
The breakfast looked awesome although I was a late riser just about every day, and didn't partake in it. But i was treated to Manichan's fabulous cooking for dinner, and it was just excellent.
When I arrived at Manichan, I was trying to figure some things out about nearing the end of my year-long round the world adventure, and was looking for a place to stay put for a while and consider my options. Manichan's welcoming atmosphere and great guests along with the family's hospitality, and little Jack [cutest little puppy ever] just added to the overall charm of Luang Prabang. The map that awaits you on your bed lists a bunch of activities that you can either rush through, or tackle a day at a time. There are "regulars" who stay there for several days/weeks at a time on work or volunteer trips, so you get a bit more insight into the things around town. The breakfast table is a great place to meet people and exchange stories over wonderful food.
The staff is simply wonderful, friendly, and make the effort to try to understand what you need, if you can't find Peter or Manichan. The kids are friendly and watch out for them in a game of uno or they might kick your butt. I'm not a dog person, but little Jack totally won me over with his antics and by the end of the seven nights there we were friends. He's still being trained, but he's such a cute bundle of fur and playing with him was great fun.
In the past year, I've stayed at many places, and very few of them have made me feel so at home. Manichan made it very difficult to move on from Luang Prabang.
Other than the great overall experience, a few particulars about the guest house:
Stayed in Room 4 which is a double off the courtyard, with it's own bathroom. Was concerned about noise, but didn't even hear the guests from the breakfast table. Moved to a room upstairs when I overstayed - i think it was room 9 - with the shared bath. It's a corner room and the balcony is just in front of it. loved the breeze from the windows, and there aren't too many people sharing the bathroom to make it an issue. Beds are comfortable. Wifi is pretty decent. It's nice to have the computer terminal for guests to work off as well. Lots of advice offered for things to do, and also tours available on how to do them. You can choose to use the A/C or not and you're not charged if you don't use it. I like the "honor system" bar wherever they have it - shows that the owner trusts the guests, and it's just a nice gesture.
I thought the location was perfect. Walking distance to the night market, and really to most of town - the end of the peninsula is a leisurely 20 minutes. I walked all over town, and it's close enough to come back for a siesta before going out for dinner or drinks. Just off the Mekong street. Close to the morning market. And you can roll out of bed and down the slope to the Mekong to watch the neighbors and the monks participate in the tak bat, and away from the tourists that flood the main street.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Colonial style house (once a hospital) in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage section of Luang Prabang. Lovely garden and balcony where you can relax and swap stories with fellow guests. We are just 30 meters from the Mekong River and morning market and 130 meters from the Royal Palace Museum and Night Market. Famous breakfast and lots of helpful advice. It's our goal to make your stay relaxing and stress free. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Guesthouse Manichan Hotel Luang Prabang