In Laos, you're always discovering a new little gem and then realising that it's been around for ages but you somehow missed the memo.
The Jungle House is one such gem.
It's an intimate, family-run bed and breakfast in a big, lush, jungly property teeming with life. The Jungle House is no ordinary jungly B&B either; here you'll experience real Lao hospitality including family dinners, laundry and evening G&Ts on the balcony. All inclusive.
In keeping with the boutique atmosphere, there's only 3 double rooms, 1 in the main house and 2 in the 'cottage' at the back. The cottage also has its own kitchen and living space so it's perfect for families.
The Jungle House is owned and run by Mike Boddington and Xoukiet Panyanouvong, two amazing and dedicated people who have spent their lives working to help the Lao people. Xoukiet is a leading Lao authority on human trafficking, while Mike is the founder of COPE and the Lao Disabled People's Association. Read more about the work of Mike and Xoukiet.
Mike designed the Jungle House as their dream home in a traditional Lao style. The big open plan house has soaring ceilings and woven bamboo walls. French doors flood the house with natural light and and wooden verandahs catch the breeze.
Downstairs is the living space and upstairs is Mike and Xoukiet's book-lined study and a large meeting room that's available to organisations for planning days and workshops.
When it was first built, the Jungle House truly lived up to its name, the surrounding land was thick with wild, untamed foliage. But as Vientiane grew as a city and people build homes further afield, the jungle retreated.
Today, most of the jungle is inside the property's fences, though there's enough of it to feel like you're in the wilderness. Just with good food, cosy beds and a swimming pool.
It's wonderful to visit such an oasis of life and greenery. The house looks over a big pond, in which 12 million (give or take) fat fish swim lazily around. Sacks of fish food are heaped in a corner of the verandah and our kids love hurling handfuls into the water. Of a morning, the fish are swarming to the surface but as the heat hits the water, they melt beneath the surface.
At the other end of the pond is a fountain and the trickle of water is a constant accompaniment to the buzz of insects, chirp of birds and cacophony of frogs that make up this microcosm of life.
So, if you're feeling like a clean, green break (with a few G&Ts of an evening) but can't face a long drive out of the city, look up the Jungle House. They've already got quite the fan club on TripAdvisor and AirBnB. I'm sure you'll love it too.
The Jungle House is at 206, Soi 20, Ban Xokkham (Xayxettha District). To book, contact them directly via their website.