“Experience sustainable tourism at its best at this admirable community-driven hillside hideaway”
Lanjia Lodge is made up of 4 identical lodges. Each houses 4 double rooms, and all are the same standard. Don’t expect sheer luxury: while very comfortable, there are few frills. But we found that to be perfectly in tune with the untouched rural setting, and the rooms are stylish in their simplicity.
The walls, floor, ceiling and doors are all made from reed and bamboo matting. A firm kingsize bed stands in the centre on a raised platform, and either side, wicker lanterns cast a muted light with energy-efficient bulbs (ask in advance if you'd prefer a twin room). In daytime, the bed is covered with a bright woven and batik throw, which is removed by the turndown service at night to reveal crisp clean white cotton. A mosquito net is hooked up then too, forming a safe haven from bugs. A bamboo table at the end of the bed provides a place for belongings, and there's a large wicker basket containing white towels, a torch (for the occasional blackouts), and a tissue-box holder. To the side of the room, large windows reveal a wonderful view over the surrounding countryside.
The little ensuite bathroom is tiled with terracotta. The shower - which is surprisingly strong, hot and reliable given this remote location - is separated from the toilet and sink by a tiled partition. There's a selection of fragrant shampoo, conditioner, body and hand washes in large ceramic bottles, and a wooden shelf by the sink holds a modest vanity set. A couple of wooden coat-hangers and a wood-framed mirror are useful too.
All meals are included and prepared by Hmong and Lahu villagers then served in the open-walled lounge area overlooking the countryside, seated on floor cushions. For breakfast, choose from scrambled eggs, bacon, omelettes, banana muffins, rice soup with chicken and mushroom - a local favourite - cereals, fresh fruit, toast with butter and jam, pancakes, coffee and tea. The tea and jam are produced as part of the national ‘Royal Project’, which aims to increase organic agricultural production; it is possible to visit these tea plantations nearby.
If you are out trekking during lunch, your guide will produce a welcome picnic. We had tasty tuna sandwiches wrapped in banana leaves, followed by banana muffins.
Back at the lodge, lunch and dinners are a 3-course set-up (if you have any dietary requirements, let them know in advance). Meals start with a clear glass-noodle soup with pork or chicken, and this is followed by a choice of 3 mains. Staff kneel to serve the fresh, colourful dishes: expect flash-fried vegetables, lightly spiced curries and sauces, ginger roast chicken, pork burgers with spring onions, fried noodles with chicken or beef, delicious barbecued fish and lots of rice. Dessert is cut fruit - pineapples, bananas, papayas, watermelon and dragon fruit.
Drinkswise, water is served with all meals; beer and a limited selection of wines are available on request. Throughout your stay, staff will offer refreshing icy ginger drinks after your excursions.
A range of packages is available, combining hiking, cycling and bird-watching with a large dose of local culture and insight - including Hmong dance, market visits and trips into the Golden Triangle if you want.
Children are welcome, and the treks and village visits would be fascinating for kids. It's best suited to kids aged 5 and above. Babies aged 0-2 stay for free. Children aged 2-12 are charged at 50% of the adult rate, when sharing parents' room
Children (4-12 years)
Extra Beds Available