Auberge Sala Inpeng, known by the locals simply as Sala Inpeng, has to be one of the best hotels in Vientiane, Laos. The location provides a peaceful experience that demonstrates why anyone should ever go to Vientiane: to chill out. Which is one of my primary Laos travel tips.
Does relaxing on the front porch of your own bungalow, surrounded by trees, sound relaxing to you? Believe it or not, you can do this smack in the middle of the capital city of Vientiane—on a budget!
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The hotel is very close to the night market by the river. In fact, it’s about a two-minute walk or less down the alley! Therefore, it’s near the best of activities including street food and public aerobics. In about 20-30 minutes you can even walk all the way to or from the picture-worthy Patuxay Monument. The must-see site is located just north of the very center of town, not far from where you will find the Morning Market behind Dalat Sao Mall.
I found Vientiane to feel very safe at night, even on the quieter streets. Though I do recommend not pushing it if you are traveling alone. At about 10:30 one night, I passed one rather sketchy spot (in the middle of the busy area!) and didn’t feel comfortable. So yeah, it depends when and where you are. Be careful!
The room was very good quality with a comfortable amount of space. My “bungalow” of sorts was solid—literally. Almost everything was wooden.
The bathroom was perhaps the most attractive Asian hotel bathroom I’ve seen in a long time. (New Sunshine Homestay in Hoi An is still a winner for only 12/night plus breakfast!) The room’s newness came across as it was clean and attractive, though simple.
The room itself had a nice-size closet with shelves. I used it to the fullest extent possible to organize all my things and keep them out of sight. It would have been nice to find a safe inside that closet, but that’s not a personal requirement of mine. I carry my money and ID on my person in a money belt when I travel, so no worries.
The only thing that I wish the room had was an electric kettle. There were two glass cups on the desk next to a small fridge, but no mugs or means to make tea or instant coffee. How sad. I’d brought my tea bags for nothing. ):
I liked having a fridge so I could store fruit for breakfast to save a few kip. (This is one travel rule of mine I often follow—if a hotel doesn’t offer breakfast, then I require a fridge. If they have neither, then the price should be lower so I can afford to eat breakfast out each morning.) According to reviews, Sala Inpeng used to provide breakfast, but not anymore. The price has apparently gone down to reflect this change, however, so that’s fine by me!
This hotel is one of the nicest budget hotels I’ve ever stayed at. My favorite aspect is the small porch that accompanies each room. Some budget hotels in Asia don’t even have windows or air-con, let alone a little porch! This was an anomaly for me, so I took every opportunity to use the porch. I sat outside every evening and morning to enjoy the trees and fresh air.
It was awfully nice to have greenery around. I noticed everyone who stayed at Sala Inpeng had the same goal: to spend at least a few minutes each day chilling on the front porch. That’s what I love most about the value of this affordable place—you get a porch surrounded by nature no matter which room you choose! For me this was like staying at a resort! (Frankly because I’ve never stayed at a resort….What I don’t know won’t kill me…) Plus the perks of being near town and not killing my budget.
Beware of the mosquitoes, though. If you’re not prepared, they’ll get you. Spray yourself and you’ll be fine. Spread the mosquito net canopy over the bed like I did. I sprayed myself during the day, showered off before bed, and didn’t get bit. (:
25 USD per night for your own bungalow is a heck of a good deal! Especially since you won’t need to spend much on transportation in Vientiane. The hotel is near so many nice restaurants and quite a few herbal sauna/massage places. I was pretty wiped out most of the time I spent in Vientiane, so I was happy to stick to my neighborhood and discover its gems.
You can get a room here for as little as 15 USD per night. I recognized these cheaper rooms from their exterior photos as posted on Agoda. Sure enough, even smaller-budget accommodations award you with an outdoor table with two chairs of your own! But the two 15-dollar rooms are paired together in the same structure, so it may not come across quite as secluded as my own “house” felt.
Speaking of seclusion and serenity, the place was usually very quiet. The other hotel guest certainly weren’t rowdy. It was clear they had come for the same relaxing environment that I had. However, on the weekend, especially Sunday night, the people across the street could get quite loud. This was interesting for me, since I’ve been staying in Thailand so long. Thailand is the land of SILENCE.
Where to eat nearby
If you want a healthy breakfast, walk toward the temple from the hotel and take a left. You’ll come to the right street: straight ahead, there is a Korean restaurant that has fresh fruit juice and a yummy avocado smoothie which I tried.
If you turn left again and walk towards the river, you’ll come to a street food shop on the left. There, they make mouth-watering suki mu (a homestyle Thai-Lao dish of vermicelli noodle soup with pork, cabbage, and egg). And right nearby is a coconut shake stand. The girl working there was happy to leave out the condensed milk and/or reduce the sugar to my liking.
Also, in the vicinity, on Hengboun Road, there is a juice bar! One morning, I ended up directly across the street, chowing down on a bowl of khao soi. I could see from my seat that the juice place was overflowingly popular with the foreigners.
A few Sala Inpeng tips
- The tuk-tuk drivers know where it is, if you pronounce it as “Sah-lah een-paeng.”
- Leave your key with the person at the front desk as you go out. This is so the key isn’t stolen or lost. No one will come and go as rapidly as I did, so don’t be ashamed if you find yourself doing the same. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- The gate is locked at about 11:30 PM each night, so try to come home before that.
- Take off your shoes before climbing the stairs to your bungalow. Don’t worry if you forget, but it’s the most culturally appropriate thing to do.
Vientiane is like no capital city I’ve ever been to before, and my recuperative stay at Auberge Sala Inpeng was just the icing on the cake. I highly recommend Laos for an easy Thailand visa run!