Monkey magic, monkey hostel, magic garden, I have lost count of the times that I butchered the name of this hostel. For the record, it’s called Magic Monkey Garden Bungalow and Dormitory, yes, a mouthful. This is where my friends and I stayed during our Vang Vieng trip and today I’m doing a review of this place, which makes me a bit nervous because whenever I share a hotel review on my Facebook page, random people send me a message to reserve a room (I wish I’m kidding).
Magic Monkey Garden offers bungalows and dorm-type rooms located in the Ban Phoudindeng area [Check booking rates here]. Getting there is easy, tuk-tuk drivers know where it is and it’s just a few minutes on foot off from the main road. The reception area is filled with written signs of house rules and advertisement of tours and activities that they organize.
Upon check-in they gave us the key to the room and a brown towel that was still damp and had a funny smell to it. It might have been newly washed but they weren’t able to dry it well, I don’t know. Anyway, we stayed in a dorm room with bunk beds good for 10 people. For a 2-night stay, I paid, ₭161,000 (₱922.85).
Inside the room are three bathrooms that are in dire need of maintenance. For one, the doors are misaligned so you cannot close them all the way through. There’s a glaring gap on the sides that would allow anyone a peep show if you’re not careful. So whenever I showered, I would roll up some tissue paper to fill in those gaps because the last thing I wanted is to give everyone a live show that they didn’t ask for.
Also, the mirror, oh my god I have so much angst about the wall mirror. They were mounted so high up on the wall I couldn’t freaking see myself unless I jump or step on top of the toilet seat. So I never bothered using this mirror because whoever put it up seemed to have forgotten that short people like me exist.
Of course, I didn’t complain to the front desk because first of all, this is not a 5-star hotel and the rate is cheap so I was only getting what I paid for. But apart from these inconveniences, our stay at Magic Monkey Garden was generally good, let me tell you why.
The first thing I love about it is the free, do-it-yourself breakfast. Every morning, my friends and I would come down to the kitchen and cook our own food. There are noodles, eggs, bread, coffee, vegetables, fruits, etc. We would sit at a long table and sometimes chat with other guests.
There was this Argentinian guy that one of my friends was eyeing and we got to talk to him a little. He said that he could pick up some Spanish words from our conversation, we explained that indeed, our language is laced with Spanish words due to Spain’s 333 years of occupation in the Philippines. That’s over three centuries, you’d think the Philippines should at least have Spanish as the second language, but no, it’s English. Anyway, that’s enough history for today.
Back to the story, Magic Monkey Garden also has a swimming pool (albeit non-operational during our stay, not sure why) and a small bar that faces this wide expanse of land offering the best view of limestone mountains and the beautiful sunset.
Another guests’ favorite, and for good reason, is the once a week (I forgot the exact day) free barbecue day where everyone (staff and guests alike) gathers to enjoy fresh and generous servings of grilled meat, vegetables, and noodles. For me, this is the best part of staying here. My friends and I had a blast eating with our hands, making our ownwith the glass wrapper or lettuce. For this alone, I would recommend anyone to book at Magic Monkey.
Other things that I love about this place is the laundry service, which I availed as I was running out of clothes for ₭24,000 (₱137.57), the kind and polite staff, and this dog that always hang around us whenever we’re eating. Also, the garden, it’s beautiful and peaceful, perfect for a morning walk.
For the rate, this accommodation is good enough. It has a free breakfast, amazing views, nice staff, and it’s only 0.8 km away from the city center. I am comfortable recommending Magic Monkey Garden to those who are looking for budget hotels in Vang Vieng.