The 5-star Le Grand Pakbeng Resort officially opened last week at “Destination Pakbeng”, the standard overnight stop on the traditional 2-day Thailand-Luang Prabang Mekong cruise. However, the resort’s aim is more than to present top-notch accommodation at this “Mekong Oasis”.
Le Grand’s goal is also to promote “Destination Pakbeng” as a multi-day stop offering the Khmu Trail, Mekong Elephant Park, and hidden natural and cultural gems on the Luang Prabang-Oudomxay Circuit in northern Laos.
“We need to promote activities in the Pakbeng area, and become a highlighted tourism hub in northern Laos,” said Ket Thipphachanh, Le Grand owner and Visit Asia Travel Managing Director.
“We also need to eliminate the idea that Pakbeng is just an overnight stop on a cruise. This is not true. There is plenty to see and do,” he said. “This is what guests are asking for.”
Le Grand hosts sustainable tourism packages including the Khmu Trail that stops at four ethnic Khmu villages along a 17 km driveable dirt road just outside Pakbeng Town.
Back in Destination Pakbeng, The Le Grand Pakbeng Resort, sits on a hilltop, and it lures guests with eternal relaxation. In fact “Le Grand” in Khmu translates in “Good…Stay a long time.”
The 45 sizeable, elegant villas and suites present tranquil spaces decked out in teak with Lao carvings and a variety of amenities guaranteeing a comfortable stay in the solitude of pristine nature.
The State Room or Governor Suite stands atop the marquis of accommodation with its Mekong views. It presents a sizeable bedroom, floor-to-ceiling windows, ample furnishings, and a spacious outdoor living area with a private terrace and Jacuzzi.
The Signature Villas feature private gazebos and terraces overlooking the Mekong. The themed interiors are marked by their contemporary Lao design with high ceilings, solid maka wood furnishings, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Perched on a verdant hillside, the 35-sqm Mekong Villas mix Laotian and Balinese style and comfort. Each room features a sizeable private, furnished terrace with Mekong River views. The similar Mountain View rooms overlook Pakbeng’s hills.
Dining centres on the resort’s Indochine restaurant that presents a fusion of Asian, Caribbean and Mediterranean influences. The Indochine also offers breakfast and dinner buffets, and an outside terrace, perfect for a sunset cocktail. Le Bistro Lounge that presents a variety of wines and drinks.
Other facilities include a cliff-hanging infinity pool with bar, the Banyan Spa, and Le Grand sauna.
Though Le Grand’s property may be the king Pakbeng accommodation, Mr Thipphachanh is highly focussed on his desire to show the real local way of life and the Khmu heritage and culture to world. “Visitors can experience 100% authentic local lifestyles, unspoiled like other tourist areas,” he said.
“We just launched our activities in August,” Mr Thipphachanh continued. “Tours encourage guests to stay longer, which generates income to sustain the area’s tourism, and provide better living conditions for the communities.”
Le Grand’s inaugural route stops at four ethnic Khmu villages along a 17 km driveable dirt road just outside Pakbeng Town. Ban Kham Village, at the trail’s end, has begun welcoming tourists interested in their subsistence lifestyle. Visitors can help plant or harvest mountain rice, inspect other crops, see roaming livestock, play with village kids, and sample local dishes in stilted houses.
Le Grand offers packages that take in the 1,000 Years Tea Forest, Thalae Waterfall, and mountain-top viewpoint. Tours stop at Pakbeng’s two temples and markets.