Zen Namkhan, Laos - ECOCLUB.com Rating

ECOCLUB.com Rating

ECOCLUB.com Rating Explained: The first 5 sections of this application each correspond to the 5 ECOCLUB.com Criteria for Ecological & Socially Just Tourism

The maximum rating score we can award in each section is 5, and the minimum 1. When a criterion is fully met in our view we award 5 stars, when it is nearly met 4 stars, when it is partly met 3 stars, when it is not at all met but effort is being made to meet it 2 stars and when we feel that it is not at all met and no effort is being made to meet the specific criterion, 1 star. You may add a comment with improvement suggestions to the Lodge at the bottom of the page.

For detailed information on the free ECOCLUB.com Rating System please see here.

Name of Property (Country): "Zen Namkhan Resort" (Laos)



N19 51.746 - E102 13.664
Lodge Address: Xienglom Village, Luangprabang District, Laos PDR

Number of Rooms:

 6 (Six)

Average Double Room Rates:

approx EUR 100 / USD 130

Name of Applicant (Title & Role):

 Luc Delorme (Proprietor)

Official, Legal Proprietor(s):

Luc Delorme & Chansone Thongsavath
Operating Since: February 2009

Rating Date:

30 April 2010
1. OWNERSHIP - 4 out of 5

(1.a) Who owns the Lodge? Please clarify if private, family, public, municipal, NGO, cooperative, as well as the nationality and place of birth of the owner.

90% owned by Luc Delorme (Canadian) and 10% by Chansone Thongsavath (Laotian)

(1.b) Who manages the Lodge (if different)?

Chansone Thongsavath

(1.c) How many rooms are there?

 6 (Six) Bungalows.

1c. One of the Six Bungalows


1c2. Bungalow interior.

1c3. The Restaurant/Bar.

(1.d) How many beds are there?

10 (Ten)

(1.e) How many employees are there?

11 (Eleven)

(1.f) How many employees are from the same village / city?

10 (Ten)

(1.g) If applicable, do employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?

When we reach 5 years of operation (Ed. currently in 2nd year) we are planning to offer 2.5% of revenues to the local school to promote environmental education.

(1.h) What is the total area of the land?

3 (Three) Hectares.

1h. Elevated walkway within the property.

1h2. View from the Resort.

(1.i) What is the total covered area of the Lodge including rooms and common areas (in sq. metres)?

410 sq. mt.

(1.j) What is the total building footprint (in sq. metres) – i.e. part of the land covered by buildings

290 sq. mt.

(1.k) Who has access to the Lodge’s facilities and its land and for what uses?

The guests.

(1.l) What was the total turnover (total sales) of your last year of operation?

April 2009 - Dec 2009: USD 75,000 or KIPS 637,500,000

2. ENVIRONMENT - 4 out of 5

(2.a) Lodge Sitting (how was location chosen):

Mountainous Tropical forest bordering the Namkhan river.

(2.b) Policy followed during construction:

Most materials were recovered by the construction people and the villagers. Waste which was not recovered was either buried or burnt.

 (2.c) Lighting:

Solar LED Lights were installed along the path just to indicate the way and we provide rechargeable flashlights in each bungalow. During the night, most of the lights are turned off.

2c: Solar LED Lights

(2.d) Heating:

We have a solar water heater, that allows to reduce the general electricity consumption. Otherwise no heating.

2d. Solar water heater. We tried to install a solar hot water for all our bungalows but because of the orientation of the land
and the location of the bungalows we found it was inadequate. Therefore we use the solar system as a complementary source
to the electric hot water tank and for staff's use.

(2.e) Cooling:

no air conditioning.

(2.f) Cleaning:

(no answer)

(2.g) Water Management:

We have increased the capacity of the village source, by constructing a dam higher up and two water reservoirs for the needs of the resort.

Ecological chlorine-free pool
This ecological pool is one of the first in Laos and South East Asia. It is the result of German and French expertise. The pool is 1.4 meters deep, 6 meters wide and 12 meters long, excluding the ponds.

Our pool is equipped with the biological capacity to purify water through an eco-system and appropriate recycling of the water. A pump circulates the water from the pool to a pond dotted with plants overlooking the pool. During the journey in the pond, the water benefit the presence of bacteria that converts organic minerals.

2g.As for the drinking water, we provide plastic bottles, but also a public water distributor, and encourage our clients to refill their bottle once finished.

2g2. We have the first ecological pool in Laos. The system is purely natural, from the filtration to the cleaning.

2g3. Different plants on the surrounding of the pool kill the bacteria and an adequate circulation of water filtrates the pool.

(2.h) Cooking:

On gas.

(2.i) Waste management:

3 containers were placed: 1 for recycling, 1 for non-recoverable waste (to be burnt), 1 for composting (vegetables & fruits)

2i. By having garbage, compost and recycling (plastic-metal-glass) bins, our waste is minimized

2i2: Non-recoverable waste is burned.

(2.j) Insect, pest control:

No product is used on the soil, we ocassionally use anti-termite products when it is necessary.

(2.k) Energy Sources, Use & Saving Measures:

Electric power mainly, we use leed lamps, solar lamps and solar water heaters

(2.l) Noise Protection:

No noise allowed. Ideal for medication.

(2.m) Accessible by public transport? If yes, please provide instructions from nearby city.

No public transport in Luang Prabang. Transport by Tuk Tuk, taxi or our mini-van.

(2.n) What is the recommended way of reaching your Lodge from the nearest International airport?

We provide mini-van transport.

(2.o) Distance from nearby village / city:

Ban Xienglom is 2km away if you take the road or 1km by boat.

(2.p) Architectural Features:

Local Luang Prabang architecture and south east asian (Bali) style.

(2.q) Construction Materials:

Local Materials: bricks, wood, cement. We restored and converted an old house so as to create one bungalow and preserved the old beams.

(2.r) Landscape Management:

2r. The compost produced by the kitchen is reused and added to the earth of our garden, this one providing to the kitchen
most of the fruits and vegetables.

3. ECONOMIC - 4 out of 5

(3.a) Initiation or participation in local projects:


(3.b) Contact, cooperation with local organisations:

Because the philosophy of ecotourism includes giving back to the community we recommend to our guests a visit to the local school. Some of our guests have donated to the school and Zen Namkhan has matched their donations.  So far (Ed. 17 March 2010) we were able to collect USD 1,375, which was given to the school to cover electricity, furniture and library costs. We also organised a book party with 'Big Brother Mouse' a Luang Prabang-based NGO which distributes books (Web: www.bigbrothermouse.com)

3b: Party organised with Big Brother Mouse - Books in Laos

(3.c) Direct Donations:

We have donated USD 5,000 to the village for the construction of a community centre and in turn we have asked them to protect the surrounding forests for the future generation.

3c. Our donation to the village

(3.d) Who took the initiative to build this Lodge?

The current proprietor (myself).

(3.e) Did the local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge?

Some decisions were taken by the community such as our access road, the water reservoir and the boarding dock on the river.

(3.f) How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?

We hope to establish a fund for school donations. Three key people are needed: the village chief, the school director and the resort manager. Every month, by consensus, a specific project would be funded (help a child, buy books etc).

(3.g) Are there any national and local taxes to be paid or are you exempt?

We pay 10-20% on salaries and 20% on company profits.

(3.h) What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?

85% of the food, as much as we can we use local products.

(3.i) Do you cultivate food for the guests?

We have an organic farm on the banks of the Namkhan River where we grow our vegetables. In the future we want to raise chickens.

(3.j) Do you have any agreements with local producers?

Not particularly.

(3.k) Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?


(3.l) What is the average double room rate (excluding breakfast) per room per night?

Approx. Euros 100 (USD 130) including breakfast and transport to and from airport.

4. SOCIAL - 3 out of 5


(4.a) Do your employees have health insurance?

No but we offer support to them when they are sick, and to their families.

(4.b) Do your employees have paid leave?

We follow governement regulations in terms of paid leave and we do not discriminate between men and women.

(4.c) Are your employees entitled to maternity leave?


(4.d) Do you pay your employees above the minimum wage? (Please state minimum wage, and explain):

We are in a competitive market and we pay salaries according to market rates which is higher than government standards.

(4.e) What is the total paid for wages last year? (excluding wages paid to yourself and members of your family)

Salaries amount to a total of USD 1,100 per month on average.

(4.f) Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week:

8 hrs average (8-17:00) with 1 hour of rest. 10 hrs maximum. The kitchen and the table service rest between 13:00 and 17:00

(4.g) Do you employ your staff all year round?  (If not, please explain arrangement)

We keep our employees all year round.

(4.h) Do you employ immigrants? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits?


(4.i) Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, and how many hours do they work and how do you source them?

No employee is paid below the minimum salary. Bonus is occasionally offered to honour a good employee.

(4.j) Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?


(4.k) Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors?


(4.l) Is there disabled access at your Lodge?


(4.m) What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism?

No measures are taken as there are no negative effects.

(4.n) Do you undertake any poverty reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to poverty reduction?

Our company does not contribute to poverty... no initiative is taken.

(4.o) Do you undertake any inequality reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to inequality reduction?

We adhere to gender equality principles and have zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

(4.p) Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction?


(4.q) What is the minimum, average and maximum age of your employees?

18 Years, 28 Years and 45 Years.

(4.r) How many employees do you have?

11 (Eleven).

5. CULTURAL- 3.5 out of 5

(5.a) Is there a local community / e.g. a nearby village?

Yes, Ban Xienglom

(5.b) Do guests interact with the local community and how?

We invite our guests to make a visit to the Village and the School.

5b. Guest visits to the local school

(5.c) What type of information is available to guests at the property:

The Tourist Service produces an excellent brochure about Laos and Luang Prablang and we provide this to our guests. We also inform them on how to minimise waste, for example we ask our guests to refill their water bottles with water from our fountain.

(5.d) What type of activities are available to guests at the property:

Village and mountain hiking, visiting ethnic minorities, the waterfall, kayaking, boat ride, elephant ride.

5d. One of the activities available.

(5.e) Local guided tours for guests:

Yes, we have a concierge service.

(5.f) Events / presentations held at the facility so far:

We have organised a Baci, typical Laos feast.

5f. Before installing our sign along the road, we organized an activity with the staff and inviting the community and students.
We wanted to clean the area around the sign in an attempt to promote the preservation of their environment.

(5.g) Specific programme for children:

No age-specific programme. However children can chase butterflies, collect flowers, visit the garden etc.

(5.h) Research / Publications produced / assisted by the property so far:


(5.i) Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how?



(B.a). Please send links of videos from your Lodge backing one or more of your answers, along with brief description (50 words maximum) of what each video shows.


(B.b). Please state any green certificates won by the property and provide scanned photos of these.

None to this day.

(B.c). Please sign to indicate your agreement with the following:

I hereby declare that all my answers are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and understand that I and/or my company will not have the right to veto or 'hide' our ECOCLUB Rating, which will be decided in the manner specified at http://ecoclub.com/ecotourism/rating if we find it unfavourable. I also understand that the rating will be valid for a minimum of 1 Year, and a maximum of 3 Years. By submitting this questionnaire I indicate acceptance of all ECOCLUB.com Rating terms, conditions and procedures as stated at http://ecoclub.com/ecotourism/rating and understand that these may be modified at any time without notice.

Please enter (paste) your signature below or type your initials to indicate acceptance:

Your Name:  Luc Delorme  Date: 17 March 2010

ECOCLUB.com Rating: 

11107-sun 3.7 out of 5