Sengdara Fitness Vientiane
5/76 Dongpaina Rd. Ban Sapanthong Neua, Vientiane
Opening times : Mon – Sun: 600-2200
Cost: (Backpackers look away now!) 90 000 kip per day for casual use. Gulp.
Sengdara Fitness Vientiane is located to the East of town, around 3.5km from the night market. I hired a bicycle (for the small sum of 100k!) and cycled there.
This gym was a welcome sight, having only seen the two budget ones up till now! The price, however, was less of a welcome revelation. Backpackers, may I refer you to Vientiane Fitness Center instead, unless you just fancy treating yourselves anyway.
This is probably the best gym I’ve seen in Laos and is on par with any Western chain; it’s aesthetically pleasing, clean and modern, including having great shower and toilet facilities. It’s also very well air-conditioned to a good temperature, which can count for a lot in the tropical heat! The gym is spread over two floors.
For a steep but refundable deposit (100k) you can borrow an electronic locker key and rent a large plush towel. Free drinking water is available from a water machine.
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The ground floor contains a larger range of weights, while upstairs has more abs benches. Freeweights go up to 55kg dumbbells and 90lbs (41kg) barbells downstairs, and 20kg for each type upstairs. There are several options for chin up bars and even an appropriately sized stool for ease of use, meaning you don’t need to try and leap into the air, or lug a bench over, unless of course this adds to your workout enjoyment.
Functional training equipment is a little lacking but I did encounter a BOSU upstairs along with a few kettlebells. I didn’t see a dedicated floor space area in the gym but a couple of people were using the spacious studio for this purpose. There are however mats in the gym and you could certain create your own space.
The cardio equipment consists of good quality modern treadmills and a variety of bikes and crosstrainers. As is common in Laos, rowing machines are absent.
There is a large studio upstairs where a range of yoga and Les Mills classes take place daily, including Step, Combat, Zumba, Pump and Spinning. There are also Aerobics, Dance and Tae Bo classes. The studio looks stunning, containing all the Les Mills equipment as well as mats (yoga and normal ones) and Swiss balls.
The floors each host a range of cardio and resistance equipment, a squat rack and Smith machine each as well as free weights.
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I attended late morning on a Tuesday and there were a fair number of people training but it was certainly not busy – all in all an ideal level for a good workout. There are sufficient duplicates of both popular machines and freeweights so even in busy periods, it’s likely to be workable.
All in all, by far the most expensive gym I found in Vientiane, but the facilities were excellent. Great for a treat or if money is not a major concern.
For afterwards, if you have any cash left, check out the refreshments counter; in addition to basic “scoop out of a tub” protein shakes, you can get freshly made ones with fruit and nuts etc. I can certainly recommend the banana chocolate one which I thoroughly enjoyed. And unlike most drinks in Asia, this baby was not laden with sugar! Cheers, everyone.
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