The Darling of Laos

1-sunset

Luang Prabang is on the list of must-see Southeast Asian cities. With royal roots, pristine temples, French colonial architecture, Buddhist monasteries, chic shops, bustling markets, and plenty of nightlife, this riverside city is the perfect destination to infuse culture into a Southeast Asian honeymoon. To embrace the charm and history of the city, we stayed at Villa Maly, a former royal residence turned boutique hotel.  We adored everything about this hotel—service, design, food, location, and history…it made our stay in Luang Prabang!

2. villa maly exterior luang prabang
The residence was built in 1938 by his Royal Highness Khmatan for the first of this seven wives during the time the French ruled Laos and they embraced the nouveau style. The original house “Plumeria” is now the gorgeous lobby, bar, and spa while there are four newer buildings containing the 33 guest rooms with a blend of European and Laotian flair.

3. bathroom Villa Maly
The manager of the hotel, Marie-Helene, showed us to our gorgeous suite with a wrap-around balcony, canopy bed, vanity, and this bathroom—personalized just for us! She personally adorned the bathroom walls with our names (in permanent paint!) and tagged the mirror with lipstick hearts—now that’s the honeymoon treatment!

4. Phu Si Hill view Luang Prabang
We asked the concierge for the best sunset spot in town and he directed us to Phu Si hill. We climbed the ornate staircases passing temples, shrines, and peaceful parks on our way to the top. Standing high above Luang Prabang we understood why this lovely peninsula, with rivers and mountains on both sides, was chosen as the royal center of the “Land of a Million Elephants.”

5-Night Market Luang Prabang
Th Sisavangvong is the main street of the old quarter and each evening it closes for the dynamic Hmong Night Market. As far as night markets go, Luang Prabang is definitely the best one we experienced in Southeast Asia. Hmong textiles’ embroidery and motifs are so vibrant, that no matter the age or even quality of the piece, it’s exciting to browse or buy. We bought a vintage beaded sash and a set of antique palm-leaf rice baskets.

6. ock pop tok weavers
If you are into traditional textiles and weaving, we’d recommend a trip to Ock Pop Tok. This fair-trade weaving center offers classes in weaving, dying silk, drawing batiks and a pleasant place to just poke around or grab a bite.

7.Dinner Villa Maly
We returned to Villa Maly for a special Lao barbeque at Sindad. We reserved a romantic table by the pool and were delivered tons of different meats and vegetables for a fun and yummy grilling session.

8-Monk Alms Luang Prabang
The next morning we set our alarm for 5am to experience the famous sunrise procession of monks collecting alms. There are over 1,000 Buddhist monks that live in Luang Prabang and each morning they are given sticky rice, fruits, and snacks by devout locals and the visitors who wants to partake. Seeing the saffron-cloaked monks stream through the streets and the people that care for them is a beautiful thing, but best observed from a distance as to not intrude on this very intimate local tradition.

9Xieng Thong Temple
Luang Prabang is a great city to rent bikes and ride along the river, cut through little streets, and explore it’s 80+ temples. At the tip of the peninsula is perhaps the most pristine Wat, Xieng Thong, built by King Setthathriat in 1560. The architectural details inside and out of these buildings are incredible…especially the gilded panels depicting erotic episodes from Ramayana.

10. Nava Mekong Cruise
To get a sense of the surrounding area and relax at the end of the day, the hotel recommended we take a dinner cruise with Nava Mekong. To watch the sunset followed by the city twinkling at night was magical and certainly enhanced with a few glasses of wine and a delicious meal. For a grand finale, the captain pulled up to a floating stage where we saw a very impressive traditional Laos dance show–the music, costumes, and movements were mesmerizing!

11.Villa Maly Suite
We returned to our room and found our bed decorated with rose petals! The Villa Maly team never ceased to amaze! Everything they prepared for us was so thoughtful—from our room to the meals to the itinerary suggestions, they were always thinking of ways to make our honeymoon that much more special.

Much love from Luang Prabang,
Anne & Mike
www. HoneyTrek.com

Note: Villa Maly invited us to be our guests; however, all opinions are our own.

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