Laos, Pakse and The South
Info : Pon Arena
Pon Arena hotel is located on Done Khong Island in one of the more remote and off-the-beaten-track corners of Laos. Khong island is situated in the so-called "4000 islands" in the Mekong river, a stretch of water where the river has widened, forming thousands of islands some large enough to inhabit and others barely bigger than a sand bank.
Khong island is not to be confused with Khone Island, which is situated further south right to the furthest point of Laos before Cambodia. Khong Island is a larger island further north than the border and is the main island in this area, with a population of around 55,000 and two main villages Muang Saen and Muang Khong. Despite its large population, Khong Island has remained relatively undeveloped, and locals maintain their traditional ways of life travelling by long tail boat around the island, giving the island a typically Lao laid-back feeling.
Pon Arena Hotel offers simple but contemporary accommodation within easy walking distance of many of the island's local restaurants and amenities. It provides a great base for exploring the island and the rest of the 4000 Islands too.
The hotel's 21 rooms have tiled floors and slate bathrooms, dark wood furnishing give a nod to elements of traditional Lao design. Accommodation is no-frills, but all rooms offer modern touches such as air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms with bathtubs, satellite TV and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Room types are split into three categories: Mountain View, Mekong View and Mekong River View. Room amenities are the same but the difference comes in their location in the hotel. Mountain View rooms are located towards the back of the hotel while Mekong View rooms are at the front and both come with balconies. Our pick would be the Mekong River View rooms, which feature private balconies overlooking the river itself.
The hotel's restaurant is a pleasant location to watch the sun setting over the Mekong and bicycle hire can be arranged through the hotel, a great way to get around and explore the island. Although simple, Pon Arena offers some of the highest standard of accommodation on the island and will provide a comfortable base.
Comfort - This is our lead in category. There will generally be a no frills approach and while some will be characterful, some will do exactly what it says on the tin - provide a clean, comfortable and good value place to spend the night. These places are normally 3* hotels.
- Mountain Bikes
- Wireless Internet
Matt really listened to what we were looking for and our itinerary was a joint project making good use of his knowledge and experience. We were really impressed by how well most of the hotels and guides were integrated into their local communities and were particularly impressed by Pong who guided us in the north of Laos. He really went the extra mile to help us meet and talk with local people and he was clearly well known and liked in the villages we went to!