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“Beautiful peaceful retreat up the Mekong”
Review of Kamu Lodge

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Kamu Lodge
Ranked #34 of 71 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 25, 2013

If you are staying in Luang Phrabang and had enough of streets and night markets it is well worth splashing out (haha) and booking an overnight trip to Kamu Lodge, a beautiful tented camp 3 hours up the Mekong through spectacular bamboo and teak forest. The camp itself is solar-powered and Internet-free, providing a truly peaceful, ecologically responsible but very comfortable haven. There are opportunities to plant rice and visit the local village or simply relax and enjoy the forest noises from your tent verandah overlooking the river. The food is excellent, with a selection of local cuisine and the staff hospitable and friendly.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank EETT65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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88 - 94 of 261 reviews

Reviewed July 17, 2013

I make my way down to the banks of the mighty Mekong and board a motor boat that will take me up the Mekong for an adventurous night in the jungle. We pull away from the makeshift pier and start the cruise. The sediment-thick waters glide past as massive limestone cliffs and the jungle of multi-green hues sedately sashay before us. Towering blue-green ruggedly peaked distant dusky mountains are set against a blue sky. We pass fishermen and boat builders and children cavorting in the cooling waters.

We stop at the Pak Ou caves, a shrine filled with Buddha statues too many to count. I look at one in a no conflict pose and notice a coronet of guano, another whose tiny robes are caked with the dirt of ages and yet more were dusty and candle wax smeared, some were standing on one leg, others had no arms, a few no heads all blindly staring at the life giving river. The Buddhas seemed like an allegory for the country; maimed and ravished by time and history but now standing in peaceful contemplation of the present and future.

The serenity was shattered when approached by a tourist official who asked me what tourists wanted. I replied with a simple sentence: “Nothing more than this.”

At the Kampu Village Lodge I was greeted by an excited gang of village boys, shouting the traditional welcome “Sabaidee”. An elephant and its mahout appeared from a bend in the dirt track and continued onward to its destination. Cresting a small hillock the village came into sight, a huddle of bamboo huts clustered around a small stream sat on the edge of a mountainous jungle, lush and verdant the view from the hillock was mesmerising.

Below a small paddy field provided rice for the community, flat and vibrantly green, galumping around the edges a couple of buffaloes lazily grazed an unplanted plot and then chewing the cud they wallowed in the cooling mud bath churned by their heavy hooves.

Settled into my tented accommodation we toured the small village as our guide, led the way. Chickens, ducks, dogs and a giggling gaggle of kids formed a Pied Piper procession as they followed this stranger in their midst.

The village contained a disused Buddhist chapel, rice and corn store rooms, a school and stilled houses. During a demonstration I was shown how the men hunted using cross bows and home adapted rifles that were used in a nightly wild boar hunt. I even had an attempt at firing a cross bow at a suspended apple. I am afraid to say that William Tell was a better marksman than I.

Down to the river and a demonstration of traditional fishing and gold panning followed, I cast the net but did not catch a fish and was just as unlucky in gold panning. No chance of my finding my fortune on the Mekong.

Dinner was taken in the open-sided bamboo restaurant, the traditional Laos food was plentiful, hot and delicious. I then retired to the open stilted bar and quaffed gin and tonics as dusk fell, slowly the pathways were illuminated with a processional way of kerosene lamps that twinkled and blinked their soft amber beacon-light through the darkening skies. The village was quiet with not one light to penetrate the darkness.

I looked at the heavens only to marvel at the canopy of stars, bright and shining like silver buttons on a cloak of the deepest black. Orion, the Plough both large and small were clearly visible as was Pegasus. Now and then rapid flashes of light streaked across the void as meteorites burned up in their earthward death throws.

The now fading lamps flickered the way to the tents. Unzipping the entry flaps I flicked on the solar powered light and fan, secured the flaps again and showered before settling in for what was a fitful sleep. Pulling aside the mosquito net and clambering into bed I switched off the light, not a single shaft of light penetrated the darkness of the tent. I blinked at the unfamiliar blackness and strained for some illumination no matter how little, but none came.

Sleep came as I listened to the unfamiliar sounds of the jungle, crickets and cicadas, distant bird calls and whoops from monkeys, the rustling of branches right outside the tent provided the night’s sound track. Then a crack of a rifle shot, the men of the village were on a hunting expedition, gathering the village dinner.

The adventure was over all too soon. While eating breakfast I saw two lines of village teenagers wander into the jungle, I asked my guide what they were doing? He said that one group was gathering bamboo for food and the other group tending to small gardens of wild vegetables, everything from kale to wild garlic and egg plants. Nature I thought provided all that this small village required for their sustenance.

Then time to leave, as I boarded the boat for the return journey the same group of children appeared to wave goodby as they did so they gladly accepted handfuls of sweets and lollipops. Two hours later Luang Prabang hoved into sight and a great adventure was over but not easily forgotten.

Room Tip: The tented accommodation is not luxurious but comfortable, shower and toilet are good. The tents are...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Suanphlu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

Pictures or reviews cannot do Kamu Lodge justice, you simply must go to experience it yourself!
My husband and I did a 2 night/3 day stay, which I am glad we didnt just do the 1 night like alot of people do.
We met our english speaking guide (Lee, who was exceptionally helpful and so kind, I didnt wan to say goodbye to him!) and started the 3 hour boat ride up the Mekong, with a stop at the Pak Ou caves along the way. The Boat was a good size and life jackets are on every seat, and a toilet and plenty of bottled water on board.
We were greeted by Oliver (there french manager) on arrival, who was a great host and taken to our glam, thatched roofed tent with ensuite and patio. The beds are all king singles, and they pushed our ones together. The Mosquito nets however were only suited to a single bed so when the beds were together there was a hole in the middle, but we just put our one over the top.
Our guide took us though the local activities which was a walk through the Kamu village, which is located right next to the lodge, cross bow shooting, net fishing and gold panning on the river and rice planting.
All of the food was lovely and tasty, they have drinks that you can purchase (beer Lao, wine ect.)
The next day we went on a trek with our guide and some one from the village. You have 2 options.... the easy one on the river bank or the hard one up the mountains...... we did the mountain one and it was incredible. Bring sneakers that you can throw away and plenty of sunscreen. We had a packed lunch brought with us that we enjoyed by a stream, went to another village, and walked back along the river. The trek took about 5 hrs and was a highlight of our whole trip.
We had a full body massage at the perfectly situated "spa" overlooking the river ($12 pp for an hour!!!).
On our last evening the Lao-Lao was pulled out and we had a drink and dance with the locals that came over from the village with Olivers battery operated speakers.
I really cant rave about this stay enough!! Please keep in mind, this is an eco lodge stay, no wi-fi limited electricity and is staffed by the people who live in the village next to the lodge, so some of them are learning as they work and may have limited english, but do everything with a smile and great enthusiasm. You are really off the beaten tourist track here and will have an unforgettable experience if you get out of Luang Prabang and visit this great lodge and village.
Thankyou Olivier, Lee and all the staff for an amazing stay :)

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank holidaydreamer932
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Kamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Dear holidaydreamer932,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang...
Well what to say ? It is not everyday that we receive such nice comments about the experience of our guests at Kamu Lodge. We are delighted to read that you loved it so much. I will personally convey your message to Olivier, Lee & team.
Thank you very much again and I hope that you will grant us the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future.
Warmest regards,
A. de Boynes
General Manager
Apple Tree Hospitality Laos: Villa Maly, Nava Mekong, Kamu Lodge

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 6, 2013

If you want to discover a real living village, in the Mékong River, the truly way. No internet connection You are out of modern world. On this lodge the people of village learn you how they fish, put rice, and you visit the village. And even so far from every thing, the dinner was perfect.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Romainmac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Kamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded July 15, 2013

Dear Romainmac,
Sunny greetings from Luang Prabang...
I would like to take the opportunity to thank you very much for your valuable feedback about your experience at Kamu Lodge. Without a doubt, i am sure that the whole team will be delighted to learn about your satisfaction.
Thanking you again, I hope that we will have the chance to welcome you again in the future.
Warm regards,
A. de Boynes
General Manager
Apple Tree Hospitality Laos: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Kamu Lodge should be named Kamu Tented Camp, not to disappoint anybody. A charming camp where you really get the felling of being out of place out of reach, in a positive way. The accommodation is basic but still comfortable and every tent has its own bathroom. Electricity is powered by solar so only 12 volt but theres still mini fans in the rooms which are efficient enough.

The highlight of my stay was the absolute amazing (and charming) village in the connection to the lodge. Not many countries can pride themself of having the real authentic around and it will also here be a matter of time when its gone. My advise is; visit it while its still there.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank ThaiExplorers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Kamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 25, 2013

Dear ThaiExplorers,

We thank you very much for your comments shared on Trip Advisor. We have taken notes about your suggestions, and will forward your feedback to our Manager on site.

We look forwards to welcoming soon in one of our property.

Kind Regards

F.Lehmann
Assistant Operations Manager
Appletree Hospitality Laos -Villa Maly - Nava Mekong - Kamu Lodge

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Reviewed June 1, 2013 via mobile

accessible only by boat, so imagine yourself being on a real heaven on earth where you won't be disturbed by any phonecalls or emails.

The lodge is just a small bridge away from KAMU village where you would just appreciate how much nature means to you.

Only the food here that we would think should be improved. Lao cuisine would be so perfect as they have varieties of vegetables and herbs.

Surely, there will be a second trip for us.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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1  Thank Janejit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Kamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 6, 2013

Dear Janejit,

We thank you for having taken the time to share your feedback about Kamu lodge Experience.
We were most disappointed to learn that the quality of the food fell far short of our standards, and for that we apologize. We strive to make every guest’s stay at Kamu Lodge a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Please be reassured that this incident has been reported to the Manager on site.

We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you on another opportunity.

Kind regards

F.Lehmann
Assistant Operations Manager
Appletree Hospitality Laos - Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2013

went up the Mekong from Luang Prabang on the quite comfortable boat owned by Kamu lodge with a 'guide' from the lodge who could hardly talk in English together with the French manager of Kamu lodge. According to the itinerary provided by our local travel agency we should have made a stop at the Pak Ou Caves to visit the 2 lime stone caves with hundreds of golden Buddhas inside on the half way going to the lodge. The French manager decided like a dictator that we would not make this stop on the way going up although our small group unanimously wanted to see the caves on the way going uo the Mekong as we would have more time to spend there as on the next morning as some of our group had to be back in Luang Prabang early to catch flights. The activities at the lodge were ridiculous e.g. catching fish by net in a mud hole next to the Mekong where only 1 small dead fish was around. The only nice thing was walking around in the neighbouring Kamu minority village.The service at the lodge was worst as all meals were served cold and we were kicked out of the restaurant at 8 p.m. and did not get any drinks after that. So were were banned to our tents and sat in front when we heard loud gun shots from near by which really frightened me. there was some security around but they did not stop the shooting. The next morning we had to get up very early to be able to see the Pak Ou caves on the way back to Luang Prabang. I would not recommend anybody to stay at the Kamu lodge except the management has changed.

Room Tip: there is only one category of tents whether you are a couple or not: 2 single beds with a big gap be...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank andrea0611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VillaMaly, General Manager at Kamu Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded June 12, 2013

Dear Andrea0611,

We first would like to thank you for having taken the time to share your comments on Trip Advisor. We were most disappointed to learn that the quality of your stay in Kamu Lodge fell far short of your expectations, and for that I apologize.

However, we would like to mention that Kamu Lodge includes Pakou Cave visit, and does not specifies if going or coming back from the Lodge, as it depends on the staying guests coming from the North. The French Manager did not stop as some guests were coming back the following day to Luang Prabang coming from Thailand, and then, had to stop to the Cave. You would then have stopped twice. We are sorry that the maneer used was not appropriate according to your criteria, and we strongly regret this has caused a negative feeling about our lodge.

The activities provided by our team represents the Kamu Lodge traditional way of living ; we may understand that your find them ridiculous. Unfortunately, this is their way of life, and the purpose of the stay in Kamu Lodge there is to discover it, and not to judge it. These activities are representative, as in one day, you are shown 5 of them.

We have also taken notice of your observations concerning the food and the service, and please be ensured that your feedback have been forwarded to the Kamu Lodge Manager.

We assure you that the comments and opinions of our guests are of extreme importance to us as it is the primary mean of ensuring that our high quality standards remain consistent, and we apologize again for not having complied with your expectations.

Kind Regards

F.Lehmann
Assistant Operation Manager
Apple Tree Hospitality Laos: Villa Maly, Kamu Lodge, Nava Mekong

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kamu Lodge

Address: 44/3 Ban Wat Nong | Kham Kong Rd,, Luang Prabang 0600, Laos
Location: Laos > Luang Prabang Province > Luang Prabang
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #34 of 71 Hotels in Luang Prabang
Hotel Class:3 star — Kamu Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sitting along the Mekong River, Kamu Lodge offers the unique opportunity to experience slow travel with accommodation in our spacious "African Safari" tents, each with a private balcony and thatched roofs. Our tents provide all necessary comforts and great river views. Using only solar power energy at the lodge, rooms have lights, fans and each has an en-suite private bathroom with shower facilities. The experience includes boat transfers to and from Luang Prabang. Step back in time visiting and getting to know the people from the neighboring Kamu Ethnic Minority Village. Activities include the chance to learn traditional crafts from the Kamu people of net fishing, gold panning and to learn with a "hands on" opportunity of rice planting and harvesting. We also offer traditional massages that complement the experience. Enjoy al fresco dining at the lodge's rustic restaurant in the middle of the rice fields. We serve Lao specialties, offering lunch, dinner and breakfast included in the package. There is also a well-stocked bar, offering a delicious selection of drinks and refreshments. Kamu Lodge is in Yoi Hai Village, a 2.5-hour boat ride from Luang Prabang, tour includes a stop at the revered Pak Ou Caves. The 2 day 1 night package departs Luang Prabang daily at 9.00am, returning the following day before 4pm ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kamu Hotel Luang Prabang

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