Unveiling the essence of Asia

An update on the post-flood situation at Muang La Village and the Muang La Lodge

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Flood Relief for Muang La

The recent flood, a result of a dam burst at a mining reservoir upstream of the village, occurred on the 27th of August 2022 and destroyed bridges, roads, countless houses and local businesses. An unstoppable wall of mud, debris and water engulfed everything in its path, leaving a trail of destruction across Muang La Village as it roared down the valley, finally leaving the Muang La Lodge buried under more than 3 metres of mud. The extent of the damage was amplified due to the village being surrounded by 2 rivers. Muang La Lodge was almost totally destroyed. The villagers and the team at Muang La Lodge have encountered river floods in the past, but the damage they wreak is never of this magnitude.

An active member of the Muang La community for more than 14 years, The Muang La Lodge has long been the largest commercial activity in the village. During that time, the Lodge team and the kind-hearted villagers have worked together to overcome each adversity that has come their way. Working together over the years with more than 100 people from the local community has helped us all to become a close family and very much an integral part of the village.

When it comes to Muang La Lodge, as well as the other members of Secret Retreats, we see these properties as more than just a hotel or a business. These beautiful properties have stories to tell with bonds forged in culture and tradition, as well as the mission to provide a warm, convivial, and professional hospitality that is both boutique in style and uniquely Asian in delivery. Sharing the culture, traditions, and ways of life of the local community with the guests is the main priority for all of the members of Secret Retreats.

Guests that travel to our hotels and destinations are looking for a unique experience that only properties truly imbued with the essence of place can provide. This is the reason why these hotels are part of the Secret Retreats community. These are the reasons why members of Secret Retreats were selected and the integration into local life is what makes it a rare, sincere and generous experience.

Glenburn Tea Estate
Slow Private Pool Villas
Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge

Muang La Lodge employs the entire workforce from the local community. Hospitality training is provided onsite and the attention to detail as well as the will to please and wow the guests is learnt through experience. This leads to the workforce providing the highest quality service possible. During the high season there are 35 employees working directly for the lodge in which they organize activities and excursions for the guests. This means that dozens of local families are supported by the lodge. The lodge is often the main financial supporter for events taking place in the village for example: a religious celebration, a marriage, funerals, and parties. With the lack of public service, it was often the lodge which came to the aid of the villagers. Indirect activities organized by the lodge has long provided much needed extra income to the villagers.
Some examples have included:

  • The temple in the mountain is visited by the guests of the lodge, each visit generates a donation which is used to maintain the facilities.
  • The collection of disposed garbage. Before the lodge opened in Muang La garbage was often mishandled and poorly disposed of.
  • The lodge setup and supported a carpentry shop. This was done to help promote, preserve and maintain local craft skills – and the lodge was also the first client of the workshop.
  • The lodge has also bought a small salt mine that was abandoned many years ago. This allows the mine to stay open and keep the jobs of employees as well as providing the lodge with a very high-quality salt unique to Muang La. Salt packets from the mine are offered to the guests as a departing gift.

Harmony comes from the balance of elements, and the 3 elements at Muang La, the valley, the village and the lodge, have long worked together in unison to create the perfect retreat.

Since the tragedy, which happened right after 2 years of closure due to the covid pandemic, the lodge has continued to pay salaries to support the families in the village. This is the strength of being a member of a community, working together, supporting each other, being there for each other when needed.

Secret Retreats setup a fund to receive donations to offer flood relief to families and folks affected by this disastrous flood and we are very VERY pleased to update you that to date so far, we have collected more than 25,000 EUR.

A massive THANK YOU to all of you. Thank you to everyone for every single donation, it is sorely needed, lifesaving in fact. And will be gratefully received by all the families affected.

Today is no longer the time for looking back, but time to look to the future. An investigation is taking place on the cause of the flood and the villagers are helping to clean up and remove the mud and debris. The lodge has restored electricity and has been helping to provide medical care for the folks injured during the flood. The lodge should have been re-opening on the 1st of October 2022 and the employees were working on refurbishing the property ready for the reopening. Although the circumstances have not been in our favor, first the pandemic and then the flood, we cannot and will not give up. 4 buildings of the lodge, although very damaged, can be saved. The lodge must reopen for the village. At least a year of intense work will be necessary to repair these 4 buildings and to adapt to its new topography a result of the wall of mud that was deposited in the valley. The hope is to reopen the 4 villas ready to accommodate you again in October 2023.

There is still a great need for help in the village and so The donation link is still active if anyone still wants to support us in rebuilding the lives of the Muang La Village and community.
https://www.leetchi.com/c/help-mudflood-muang-la-laos

Every single Euro donated is a sign of hope for the future of the village, and it is very much appreciated.

Thank you all again very much for your generosity and support.

Secret Retreats and the people of Muang La Village

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