LUANG PRABANG, Laos – There’s a crowd at the smallest and most sustainable bar in Laos, which opens October 2014 at Kamu Lodge Experience on the verdant banks of the Mekong River.
A 20-tent eco-lodge situated 30km upstream from Luang Prabang, Kamu Lodge is enhancing its guest experience with the addition of a new thatched-roof bar featuring unrivalled views of the caramel-colored river and surrounding greenery with lounging space for two or three patrons.
For those who are not quick enough to secure a seat at the new riverside perch, another, equally scenic watering hole is set on stilts in the centre of the lodge, amid a valley of rice paddy fields bordered by forested mountains.
The bar is one of a number of improvements Kamu Lodge will debut in time for this year’s peak tourist season. The property has also re-floored the bathrooms in each of its solar-powered safari tents, and added a new restroom to its outdoor restaurant.
Opened in 2004, Kamu Lodge is a private eco-lodge and one of the country’s first pioneers in low-impact travel. The lodge employs some 27 staff from a neighboring Kamu community, one of Laos’ ethnic hill-tribe minorities. Guests of Kamu Lodge have the opportunity to explore a genuine Kamu village and participate in traditional daily activities, while local guides share their knowledge of Kamu culture.
For every visitor it receives, Kamu Lodge donates 1 USD to a village development fund. The money is spent once a year on a project chosen by the villagers, provincial authorities and lodge management. Past projects have included the renovation of the village’s primary school and the purchase of cattle for farming and breeding purposes.
Kamu Lodge also sponsors free health care for all villagers of the neighboring community and is in the process of building a fully equipped dispensary to improve the quality of medical services in the area.