Bounchan and his family had previously been staying with a relative in Luang Prabang in order to be close to jobs that he and wife, Noi, had at the Mekong Riverview Hotel. Allowing his four children to attend a better school in town was also a consideration. At the start of 2022 he was able to acquire a small plot of land near the airport. We’ll be following his family’s exploits on this page with most recent news at the top.
New house 2
(FB April 14, 2022)
Except for the new toilet, Bounchan completed the house in less than a week. The photos below show the exterior and interior of the new house. Notice that the family now has a connection to the power grid. But, more importantly, the first photo shows Vong & Anna in a moment of joy on new bikes that the project bought so they could get to school without riding on the back of Bounchan’s motorbike. The final photos show Bounchan digging the cesspit for the toilet.
New house 1
(Facebook February 18, 2022)
During the pandemic when most workers in the hospitality industry returned to their home villages, Bounchan & wife Noi lost access to living quarters in Luang Prabang which was essential for their work at the Mekong Riverview Hotel. With the tourism industry slowly reviving they’d been looking – to no avail – for a suitable rental. More importantly, they want their children to attend a better school in town. Due to high rents Bounchan decided to build a new home on a small plot of land out by the airport in an area which is becoming a Hmong enclave. (Hmong people make up about 9% of the population of Laos.)
Unlike western countries with all sorts of onerous building regulations, property owners in Laos can pretty much do as they please. Bounchan was able to put up a new house in 3 days in early February, and because of power lines running beside the house (he) will be able to connect to the electrical grid.
In the first photo are Bounchan’s kids in school uniforms: left to right, Vong, Kai, Tousia, and Anna. The remaining photos show the progression of the construction from clearing the land to attaching a solid blue zinc roof and finally the frame for a covered front porch. No power tools were used, just a hammer, hand saw, and machete. In the background of photo 8, showing the house skeleton, are some of the nearby mountains. The last two photos are screenshots from Google Earth showing the location of the house relative to downtown Luang Prabang, the airport, the hotel, and the Mekong river. The property can be found at 19.91852 N 102.19243 E on Google Earth.