Kamu Lodge is an eco-lodge, which earnestly looks to strike a balance between tourism and the preservation of the region’s cultural and ethnic heritage. Therefore, it is a worthy authentic option for those wanting to explore the north of Laos. It is on the banks of the Mekong river, just under three hours upstream from Luang Prabang in an area which, prior to its opening in 2004, was far from the tourist route. It is surrounded only by lush green mountains, paddy fields and remote villages.
There are 20 comfortable safari tents on elevated platforms, each with private balconies overlooking the river, solar-powered hot water, electricity and private bathrooms. Faithful to local stylings, each one is protected from the elements by a thatch roof, resulting in the lodge actually looking and feeling a little like a local village. The tents are decorated with bamboo and wooden furniture and whilst relatively spartan have all the home comforts required. Every lodge features a white-washed stone annex.
The restaurant serves tasty food, using the freshest local market sourced ingredients. Meals are set menus and as well as the Lao speciality dishes, they also offer a colourful array of organic tropical fruits and vegetables, all served in raised thatched cabanas dotted in the paddy fields.
With its strong ethical commitment, it is staffed by local villagers and, consequently, service can be a little patchy. However, without any prior knowledge of tourism and hardly any education to speak of, they do an excellent job and are justifiably proud of the skills they are learning.
You are actively encouraged to get your feet dirty with these same local villagers and help out with the rice planting and harvesting. Gold panning is also an option during January – June, as well as treks to a local waterfalls, fishing for your supper and even Lao style archery.
Whilst not for everyone, Kamu Lodge will suit travellers looking for an ecologically sound experience in a traditional and simple setting. The lodge is not suitable for less mobile clients as the grounds and activities, especially if it rains, can be quite slippery; you will get muddy! But that said, no level of fitness is required, just a sense of fun and an adventurous spirit.