Vientiane has a wide range of tourist accommodation, from cheap backpacker dives to five-star behemoths like the Don Chan Palace. Most of the city’s hotels and guesthouses are located near Nam Phou in the centre of town but others, especially mid-range hotels, continue to open up beyond this area – particularly in the vicinity of Patouxai and on Luang Prabang Avenue, a quick tuk-tuk ride into the centre.
Budget hotels in the central area are generally housed in renovated older buildings. Rooms at the best budget places, like the MOIC or Saybaidee, tend to fill up very quickly, even in low season. It’s not uncommon to see late arrivals desperately pounding the pavements looking for a reasonably priced room, as what’s left by that time tends to be towards the top end of the budget range without meriting the price. It’s therefore a good idea to check in by noon, when people start checking out. Guesthouses and budget hotels rarely take advance bookings unless they know you already. As a general rule, better deals can be found in the mid-range establishments.