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LUANG PRABANG

"Luang Prabang is in reality a love, a dream, a poetry of naive sensuality which unfolds under the foliage of this perfumed forest". So penned Marte Bassene in his 1909 Laos travelogue, and a century later surprisingly little about this picturesque idyll has changed. Indeed, after their initial survey, UNESCO proclaimed Luang Prabang to be the "best preserved city in South East Asia."

But nestled at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Kham Rivers and encircled by green mountains, Luang Prabang is also one of the most enchanting cities in the region and a destination that seems custom tailored for romance.

A leisurely stroll through Luang Prabang feels like a walk through history. Crumbling colonial architecture gives way to ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries; towering palm and banana trees shade the dirt lanes; novice monks in saffron robes pad down narrow alleyways and simple, narrow cargo boats drift up the Mekong. Passing lazy mornings in the faded, but still splendid, colonial hotels is a wonderful luxury, but I dragged myself out of bed to witness the sacred ‘takbat’. This early morning spectacle involves food offering to hundreds of orange-wrapped monks who stream out the cities temples in a stunning sea of saffron.

Food is an important aphrodisiac and Luang Prabang is packed with fantastic restaurants. Several excellent French bistros serve quality wines (so often a rarity in Asia!), and what better way to end a dreamy day than a candle-lit dinner and shared sunset over the Mekong.

More information on Luangprabangcity.com

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