3 • SELECTING AND PREPARING A SITE

Where should you build an ecolodge? This is a very good question because if you build in the wrong spot, your investment will be lost. The good news is that there are many, many good natural areas to build an ecolodge in Laos. These can be in forested settings, in the mountains, beside rivers, lakes or near villages. If you are building in town, there should be an adequate buffer zone between the ecolodge and large infrastructure such as roads, big buildings or commercial structures. Tourists like quiet, relaxing surroundings with a view. You should not build too close to archaeological or religious sites, areas that flood, or sensitive natural habitats such as animal breeding sites.
When preparing a site for construction, cut as few trees as possible and try to position your rooms along the natural slope of the land. Do not clear the whole area expecting to plant trees again later. It will be many years before the trees you cut down grow back. If there is a natural slope or hills where you are building, take advantage of any opportunities you have to enhance the view from each room and the restaurant. Also consider water drainage and erosion if your land is located on a hill or riverbank.

Razed land - not good for building an ecolodge

Carefully cleared land

Erosion of a riverbank

Ecolodge construction on a slope

9 DESIGNING AND BUILDING AN ECOLODGE IN THE LAO PDR SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL INVESTORS

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