Saturday, June 9, 2012

Imoun Homestay & Restaurant - Alternative Accommodation in Pakse for the Budget Conscious

My bigger room has a double bed.

I know I've featured Imoun Homestay and Restaurant before as part of a travelogue, but I feel that it deserves a separate post all its own. To be honest, I had trepidations booking here (I debated if I needed to book for a back-up hotel just in case), but all the rave reviews convinced me that I had to somehow experience Imoun the way others did. Tight budget wasn't the consideration; far from it actually! Aside from the bubbly praises I read, what contributed to my decision was the location - it's a mere 100 meters or even less from the Mekong with which I've formed special kinship already. Besides, this was at the fringes of the moderate bustle of Pakse. A third consideration was gastronomic. Por, the friendly lady (who speaks excellent English - and...) who runs the place, cooks amazing food for her guests - and it's always a treat to meet her adorable mother (who speaks no English).

Imoun has 3 rooms, thus they're easily filled during peak season. I took the "more expensive" - thus bigger room (the middle door at the second floor). My room is actually two adjoining rooms. The bigger one has a double bed, the adjacent has single. The beds are very comfortable conveniently taking the shape of your back; the sheets smell nice too. Each room has a television which I never used and a fan that I eventually turned off in the wee hours (4AM) when it turned uber-chilly! Bottled  water is provided daily. Towels, blankets, soap and shampoo are likewise provided. And breakfast is free! All these for the price of $10 (plus taxes) a night!

All three rooms are located at the 2nd floor. The bathrooms are found on the first floor at the back of the lobby. Guests share these bathrooms (two of them). The main bathroom is huge and very clean, with hot water provided (and needed for those early showers during the cold season).

Por will help you arrange your transport needs. I bought my bus ticket to Champasak here. Por also arranged for my tuktuk to Don Kho and my motorcycle ride to the Bolaven Plateau (no, she doesn't have a cut as I paid my drivers directly). When I found the early offers disagreeable, I asked Por to look for cheaper rates - and she did. The booked buses will pick you up in front of Imoun so you don't have to get a tuktuk to take you to the terminal. Very convenient, right?


Now, I have to write this to state my case on the very few negative reviews about Imoun. Imoun is a "Homestay". It isn't even labelled as a "guest house", an "inn" or a "motel". What I don't understand are the acidic reviews from some European backpackers who whine about the spartan amenities available in Imoun. I am not fond of transients acting like spoiled brats. If you're only capable of paying $10 for a room, then do not expect a luxurious castle, a red carpet rolled for you, a doorman who will open you doors, and the glittery lobby expected from 5-star hotels. In Imoun, you get what you pay for - and even more because you get to stay in a home and experience a Lao household. These bratty backpackers should get down their high horses, bring down their Teutonic noses, use a little more of what we call "common sense" and come down to Earth. Now, if they want luxurious splendor, the Champasak Palace Hotel - and several other hotels are open for business around Pakse. In these more expensive hotels, you will be treated like royalty - for a dear price! In Imoun, you will be treated the same for the change that you're able to spare. Nuff said.

Meanwhile, you can walk along the riverside. The Mekong is just a street-crossing away. There are restaurants that line the promenade. The scenery takes different atmospheres and moods as the sun moves from the east to the west until sundown. These riverside restaurants can get a bit noisy from 4 PM (their Happy Hour), but curfew starts from 10 or thereabouts (when the noise stops altogether).

Imoun Homestay and Restaurant is located in (106/10) Ban Pakhuaydeau. Book your room through Agoda. Tuktuk fares from the bus terminal should cost 30,000 to 40,000 kip. This is far from what tuktuks charge for locals - but then you are a tourist. And that's that.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The adjoining room (where the door is) has a single bed, a table, and a television.

Imoun Homestay and Restaurant. The walk to your right heads to the Mekong while the walk to the left (3 blocks or so) heads to the new market, a Catholic Church, a hospital, restaurants, hotels, a children's park, and - at the end of the road - Wat Luang.  


Restaurant tables

Second floor and its 3 rooms. Mine was the middle room which has a partial view of the Mekong.

The road leading to Mekong.

The street along the riverbank.

A nice viewpoint facing the Mekong. This used to be a restaurant but has since been abandoned.

My friend the Mekong.

My arrival in Pakse from Ubon

This would be breakfast - and it's free (part of your payment).


Ola said...

pity that the restaurant is abandoned - the view from the terrace is amazing!

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eye in the sky said...

@ Ola:

There's not a lot of restaurants in the strip and some of them have been abandoned like the one in the photo. Times are hard even (or especially) in Laos. :(

Homestay said...

When I first started conducting Homestays all I could think about was renting out the second bedroom and I didn't want to have to chase ESL Schools into filling the room for me. I was not willing to accept anything but a long-term homestay. Was this really the best choice? Let's look at our options.

eye in the sky said...

@ Homestay:

ESL Schools and Homestays? I am a little confused.

eye in the sky said...

@ Cristeen:

My pleasure. :)