Category Archives: Sleeps

Yeti Sleeps: The Inhospitable Hostel

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When you book at a hostel, anything can happen. I’ve stayed at some pretty dire places in my time, but Natural Rock Hostel is possibly the worst.

To be fair, the location is great and the rooms are good value. But that’s where the positives end. When we arrived, there was no one there. Like guests or employees, apart from a cleaning lady on the 4th floor. Finally someone showed up and despite a largely empty hotel, they split up our party, putting Zulia and I on the third floor and my Mom on the fourth.

This mattered because at 2am a loud party began on the third floor. Music blasted, people sang at the top of their lungs, and the smell of alcohol filled the floor.
We waited 20 minutes before calling the front desk, who assured us everything was “tranquilo”. The music didn’t stop, the shouting and singing didn’t stop. Until finally they were replaced by the noisy sounds of sex. These lasted longer than you would have liked or hoped.

When they finally finished, we went to check on my mom on the fourth floor to see if she was okay and discovered a) the room next to us was full of prostitutes and b) the man from the front desk, wearing nothing but a towel. A used condom lay in the hallway. All this time I had hoped that it was drunk guests who thought they were alone in the hotel, but this was the dude who had checked us in. He had put us in that very room next to his antics!

What happened next I’m not sure; either the prostitutes didn’t get paid (as they claimed) or they stole something from the men (as they claimed). What it meant was a lot of shouting at the top of the lungs. By 4am, sleep-deprived and going crazy from all the noise, we fled upstairs and discovered many other guests who had fled the third floor. A german lady had fled 30 minutes before us, and a family with a baby had come up an hour before that. Even from the 4th floor, the noise of arguing and banging was so loud we had to turn up music to sleep. In all, we were up from 2 am to 430 because an employee of the hotel was partying with hookers. We left as soon as it was light, asking a new guy at the front desk for either a refund or the owner’s number and getting neither.

Guatape is a lovely town but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this affected how we felt about it. I’ve stayed in some dodgy places in India, Nepal, Thailand, etc but this was one takes the cake.

Yeti Sleeps: Somjith Guest House

Choosing a guest house in Luang Prabang is (much like the city in general) pretty stinkin’ great. Just wander down one of the cobblestone side streets on either side of the night market, and you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous two story buildings with dark wood balconies.

Prices on the street seem to vary only slightly, with doubles from 60,000K – 100,000K ($8 – 12). Most have wifi in rooms, and provide free tea, coffee, cold drinking water, and bananas (one day I ate 10 of those suckas. Banana buffet for the win!)

Free tea, coffee, and bananas!

Free tea, coffee, and bananas!

We chose Somjith Guesthouse, on a wee alley way off an apparently nameless side street just south west of the night market. Somjith won us over with its light-filled rooms and balconies (with one perfect little table and chair set up per room).

Our balcony, complete with drawing/gaming/breakfasting table

Our balcony, complete with drawing/gaming/breakfasting table

Ahi chillin' with his laptop on the bed, as he is wont to do.

Ahimsa chillin’ with his laptop on the bed, as he is wont to do.

The Good: Fantastic location, rad balcony, free bananas!

The Bad: The wifi wasn’t perfect, particularly on the first floor. That said, having to spend an afternoon with a brownie and a giant mug of coffee at Joma Café isn’t the worst thing ever…

The Price: Our double room set us back 90,000K ($11) per night — a little more than we paid in other parts of Laos, but certainly nothing bank-breaking.

Getting there: From the bus station or airport, ask your tuk-tuk/taxi driver to drop you at Joma Café, near the night market. Take the side street right next to Joma. About half way down, you’ll spot a ‘Somjith Guesthouse’ sign on your left. Follow the signs!