Sayabouly is coming alive, with new transportation links providing quicker travel times between Luang Prabang and Thailand. To meet the needs of tourists flocking to The Land of Elephants, new accommodation is rising, with the province now offering some 150 places across all price and quality ranges.
Imaginative architecture marks many of the establishments, giving each a distinct character. The top accommodation is in Sayabouly Town, with a few hotels and guesthouses in the tourism hubs of Hongsa in the northeast and Paklay covering the south. Outlying districts also offer rooms along the main roads.
The handful of hotels can be standard multi-floor buildings with local decor or smaller Lao-style structures in quiet areas off the main roads. Rooms generally run between $50-130. Most establishments are geared towards Lao and Thai guests, with roomy accommodation offering electronic goodies, balconies to enjoy your own outdoor space, and reasonably decked out bathrooms. Restaurants mostly offer local food, and you can spend the evening with Lao folk at an on-site karaoke club or nightclub.
You can also spend a quiet night in a reasonably priced room with some creature comforts and good service in a quiet setting. Choose a room in what appears as a Lao mansion or a motor lodge on the edge of town for $30-50. Many feature sizeable rooms with plenty of extras and larger than normal bathrooms, with some having tubs.
Budget travellers simply seeking a place to stay will find smaller rooms with most amenities and a modest restaurant for $15-25. Some are in the downtown Sayabouly area while others offer garden settings in a more residential backdrop. Standard guesthouse rooms with a fan in town and throughout the province generally cost around $10 per night.