It is almost impossible to avoid karaoke anywhere in SE Asia and Thakhek is no exception. I happened upon this place one night and it was the usual offering of fairly appallingly rendered Western soft-rock hits interspersed with a few Lao / Thai standards.
When I was in Thakhek I did not see a lot of foreigners and this place, being on one of the backstreets, didn't have a single one. Just my sort of place! I have to say, I was made to feel very welcome, as is the Lao way, but I didn't accept their kind invitation to join in. OK, I do it sometimes but it is not a necessity for me.
There is food available if you want it but I had planned a meal elsewhere for that night so I didn't indulge.
This is a great little place to seek out if you can find it.
Readers of my other pages will know that I am quite content to eat in small local places, at roadside stalls or whatever and have had some tremendous meals doing just that. However it is noce to have a bit of a splurge now and again and I had been recommended the Inthira Hotel by several people so I thought I would give it a try.
I went in the evening and parked myself at the bar with a bottle of Beer Lao and enquired as to the availability of food. I believe there is a very pleasant restaurant here but the whole place seemed very quiet and I opted just to eat at the bart as I was having a bit of a chat to the barman and was dining alone. I should mention that the Lao seem to eat relatively early in the evening and I was being a night bird as usual so it may just have been that it was getting late by local dining standards.
The menu, which you can view on the attached webpage, was pretty extensive with all the usual Lao favourites as well as Western dishes and naturally enough Thai dishes. Well, the far side of the river is Thailand after all. I opted for pork and vegetables with plain rice which was every bit as delicious as it looks in the image.
I do not normally eat sweet / dessert / pudding or whatever you want to call it but I do have a wekness for banana fritters and thought I might just have room for a couple so I ordered some. Out they came, all seven of them! Well I did my best but there was just no way I could finish them, tasty as they were.
I mentioned at the start of this tip that this was a bit of a splurge although that is not strictly speaking correct. Certainly by local standards it is one of the more expensive places and I do not remember the exact figure but the whole lot, washed down with a couple of the excellent Beer Lao all came to less than $10US. I don't think I ever paid more than that sum for a meal anywhere in Lao and I had some gorgeous feeds.
Just a technical note, there are two Inthira Hotels in Thakhek, this is the Inthira Thakhek Hotel, located as described.
Favorite Dish: The pork and veg were excellent bu the banana fritters would have to get my vote as favourite, even if the portion was enough for two people!
there is a small airstrip in Thakhek but, unless you have your own transport, the chances are that you will arrive by bus. The VIP bus from Vientiane will take about five hours and the slightly cheaper ordinary bus about seven hours. I shall post an entry here from my external blog as I do not see much point in re-writing the whole thing.
"I am convinced that the siting of bus stations anywhere in Southeast Asia is organised by the tuk-tuk (taxi) mafia. I can see no other reason for putting them so far out of town other than to generate business for the drivers as local town buses are non-existent and you have to use them. They know this and really try to stick the arm into tourists. I am at a loss to know why the 14km. to and from the bus stations (Vientiane and Takhek repectively) cost well over twice the amount to travel the intervening 250km. or so." there is no point in trying to haggle with them, they know they have got you over a barrel and all charge the same.
Apart from the distance from the town, it is a pleasant enough place, clean and with the normal vendors, eating places and toilets that are not actually too awful. It is certainly one of the more pleasant bus stations I have been in travelling in SE Asia.