Laos - Fitlife
Laos! The second to last countries of the ASEAN I hadn't visited while studying abroad in Singapore 9 years ago, and wow I'm so glad I finally made it! Absolutely beautiful country with a sad history. With one of the lowest GDP of SE Asia, one could guess, it is very much a "developing" country. Thus, for all my reviews of gyms in Laos I think it's important to keep in mind that you just can't compare to "developed" countries. Most of the equipment without doubt is old and not the best (especially with the humidity of SE Asia) so, my focus here will be on value for money and variety of equipment. All of them only took cash and I didn't even bother checking out the toilet/locker situation. Also something to keep in mind, because I was at Laos in January (basically dry/winter season) i didn't have to deal with humidity or uncomfortable heat during my workout sessions!
My favorite city of Laos, with beautiful nature and an authentic feel. As the typical tourist, I stayed near Phousi Hill and found a gym that was within running distance (.75mi/1.5km), so about an 8 min run. If you're a bit farther or If that seems far, biking or motor biking should get you there in about 5 min
Big Muscle Gym
For my first gym in Laos I was pleasantly surprised. Again, ignoring quality, I'd say the size and number of equipment was great! I was able to find all my favorites and more. Most of the equipment/workout area is covered outdoors but make sure not to miss the inside which had additional equipment including my very much loved Roman Chair. Although a little cramped, there weren't a lot of people there during the morning and im honestly just amazed on what a good variety of strength and cardio machines they had. Hours were great, 6-20:00, and the attendant always provided a small towel that smelled very clean. Also, they had a small store on site for basic workout stuff including branded tank tops (indulged and purchased one!) at the price of 15k kip (less than a $), definitely a good value!
4/5, one star off because it is a bit cramped and distance from main area can be a bother for some!
Ok so first off Vang Vieng is very small. It's pretty much a town that thrived cause of party travelers searching for beautiful nature. And so, given it's size, there's only one gym in town!
vangvieng fitness center gym - ສູນອອກກໍາລັງກາຍ ວັງວຽງຟິດເນັດ ຢິມ
+856 20 55 555 333
No matter where you're staying it should be an easy run, at most 10 min. And if that's too much, motorbike or Tuk Tuk
For this gym, well let's just say it's a good thing they have a monopoly lol! Make sure to look out for the signs and two floor building, the entrance itself was a little "in". My favorite part of this gym was that the view as you walked up the stairs - simply amazing view of the mountains! Gym itself had a good enough crowd. Mostly tourists and at points it got crowded around the benches, but otherwise not too bad. The space was more spacious than Luang Prabang, with two floors and had an alright variety of equipment about the same quality as Luang Prabang's gym, BUT, they had no actual squat bars - just 2 smith machines! Furthermore, their hours are definitely inconsistent and I felt sad seeing that the main "attendant" was just a child. Communication was hard as I tried to change my 1000 kips for a 5000 kips. The price per session was 25k kips, slightly more expensive than Luang Prabangz
With all these factors in mind, I'm giving this gym:
Works as the only gym in town!
Vientiane, Laos biggest city and thus they had more than one gym. But since I was only in Vientiane for a day I only got to check out one, and for obvious reasons, I just chose the one closest to me
Vientiane Fitness Centre
Half mile/1km away from my hostel, the run itself was easy enough, even with the traffic.
So about this gym, well if you're a swimmer you will be happy to know they have a pool! It does have a separate charge at 15k but I mean to have the option of a pool, that alone is great! The gym/fitness center itself cost 20k per session. Overall, I'd say the variety was about the same as both Luang Prabang and vang Vieng. Most disappointingly, it also lacked a proper squat bar and in fact only had one smith machine! The space itself was about as spacious as vang Vieng, except it was just one floor, but it did have less people!
Given all these factors, I'm giving this gym also
Slight bump up from vang Vieng because of pool and it wasn't being attended by a child!