homestay highlight: Vanvisa At The Falls in Luang Prabang, Laos

As a total surprise to me {and I can count the number of times I’ve actually been surprised on two hands}, I was told only to pack an overnight bag and swimwear, I was at an absolute loss for what to expect. Whisked away on the back of a motorbike, I was more and more confused as we got further and further south. Surely, we were heading to the waterfalls? But…there’s no place to stay the night at the waterfalls?

I WAS CONFUSED.

We pulled up near the gate of Kuang Si and took a turn down a dirt alleyway. Pulling up to an area filled with open seating and pools of teal water I’d never seen before, Luke jumped off the bike and said, “We’re here.” And that’s how our time at the hidden hotel I’d never heard of in all my time in Laos started— the Vanvisa At The Falls Resort.

This post is not in partnership or sponsored. I just thoroughly enjoyed my little staycation and thought this hidden spot deserves some attention.


READ ON FOR THE DETAILS OF MY OFF-THE-GRID GETAWAY AT VANVISA


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GETTING THERE

You can get to Vanvisa the same way you get to Kuang Si Waterfalls. If you arrive by tuk-tuk, you’ll need to sort a tuk-tuk ride back to the city center at the end of your stay. If you have your own motorbike or have rented one, you can ride to Vanvisa on your own time. I think Vanvisa is ideal for those who dare to mountain bike to the waterfalls. This way, you can relax after the trek there and spend extra time rejuvenating before pedaling back to the city. The homestay location is pinned on the map below, like always.

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RUSTIC ACCOMMODATION + AMENITIES

The official name of the accommodation is Vanvisa At The Falls Resort {not to be confused with Vanvisa Guesthouse, which is inside the city center}. I’ve decided for the sake of transparency to call it a homestay, since it’s run by a local family on their property. The villas and bungalows are located near the home of the family that runs the place.

While Vanvisa’s hidden location feels luxurious, the place itself has a very rustic feel to it and the amenities offered on site are probably not what a Western tourist would expect at a “resort”. Still, it had everything you need to enjoy the dense jungle surroundings and the breathtaking pools. It also has the added luxury of affordability.

There are no small bottles of shampoo or conditioner in the bathrooms, but there is a hot shower, new bars of soap, and privacy. The large beds are soft, with plenty of bedding to keep warm at night if you’re visiting during the winter months. Our room came with a hot water kettle, mugs, and clean drinking water. We also had our own hammock and patio so that we could enjoy the night as the sun fell from the comfort of space that felt like our own.

I fell asleep to the sound of waterfalls and woke up to tiny streams of sunlight peeking through the room’s curtains. I felt fully enveloped in nature every minute of my stay.

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FOOD FINDS

The only thing I didn’t adore about Vanvisa were the dining options. While there is a restaurant run by the wife of the owner of the homestay, there are only two vegetarian options and they are both priced heavily by local Lao food standards {probably thanks to a near-monopoly food}. Instead of paying the USD $10 per person for dinner, wander outside the property to the local village. This is how we found Naban Restaurant, a little hole-in-the-wall eatery offering curries, stir fries, and noodles at half the cost.

Carpe Diem is a social enterprise restaurant just down the road from Vanvisa. While prices are insanely steep, there is no denying the actual setting of the restaurant is worth the money. It was closed when we went out for dinner, however, I’ve heard it’s worth the dip into your budget. 5% of the profits are donated to ASAS, which works to end poverty and establish educational initiatives in Laos.

Luckily, breakfast is included in your stay! You can enjoy a hot breakfast near the serene water pools complimentary. Typically, Asian hostels supply bread, fruit, and tea. Resorts here will put on a full spread buffet. Vanvisa served us a happy mid-point. Fresh baked bread, warm from the oven, hot tea and coffee, and an absolutely gigantic omelette. When I say it was gigantic…I’m not exaggerating. It was the largest omelette I’ve ever seen. If I ate eggs, i would have been in heaven. The omelette had spring onion and various other veggies. It was brought out to us piping hot at our poolside seating.

THE VIEW FROM OUR DINNER SPOT

THE VIEW FROM OUR DINNER SPOT

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NO WIFI, MORE CONNECTION

One of my most recent published articles was about how disconnecting from my online life helped me re-ignite my creative process, re-invest in healthy routines, and reconnect with those in the same physical space as me currently. As someone who is constantly in contact with her far-away friends and utilizing my phone for work communication, I always find myself feeling more clear and calm when I create less than I consume. That’s probably why I didn’t bring my phone or laptop with me to Vanvisa, despite looming deadlines. Bringing them would have been useless I found out, since there was no WiFi at the place!

Staying in accommodation where there is no WiFi was actually a mark in the “pros” column for me this time. Most people probably hate the idea of staying somewhere without internet access, but I found solace in the social-media-silence I was granted at Vanvisa. With the sound of waterfalls, a variety of seating and lounging spaces {including hammocks}, and mild weather, Vanvisa was an oasis for those who want to unwind, read a good book, or watch a pre-downloaded movie without notifications to interrupt the evening.

On top of reading for long bouts and watching “If Beale Street Could Talk”, I journaled with less distractions than I find myself typically facing every night. I also got to slip into the Kuang Si pools without a single person splashing about or disrupting the calm waters. As it was January and all, the water was icy {yeah, it gets cold in Laos} and I couldn’t find the courage to fully submerge myself. I settled for dipping in and out. Now that I’ve been back into running, letting my legs bathe in clear waters felt especially nice.

Moments like those spent at Vanvisa are the ones I will miss about Laos most— the calm and quiet of this place, its slower pace of life. I have loved my time returning here, but there is more to see and the rest of the world awaits!

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BOOKING YOUR ROOM

You can book your stay at Vanvisa At The Falls here, and I highly recommend that you do! It was truly a one-of-a-kind stay in a place so hidden, almost no one we’ve spoken to since has ever heard about it.

NEED HELP NAVIGATING? YOU CAN FIND VANVISA + NABAN RESTAURANT PINNED ON THE MAP!


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the hidden hotel near kuang si waterfalls

Disclosure: My stay at the hotel was not in partnership with the hotel, but was part of a personal surprise. This post is not a collaboration or a sponsored blog.This post contains affiliate links. When you make a booking using those links, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. Thank you for your support.