Laos’ ancient royal capital, Luang Prabang, is the sort of city travellers dream of. It’s steeped in ancient history, boasts fantastic river views and a wealth of cultural attractions. Early in the morning, hundreds of saffron-robed monks glide through the quiet streets, chanting and receiving alms. The domed roofs and gilded prows of their wats (temples) rise above the streets.
There’s so much to do here that people often end up staying longer than expected. Rent a bike and explore the lanes and byways of the city’s historic district, which are lined with French-style buildings. There are plenty of boutique hotels where you can really experience the city’s colonial architecture.
Explore one of the city’s 33 temples – Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most popular. Head to one of the spas for a massage or steam sauna. For a taste of local culture, check out the bustling night market in the city centre. You’ll find hundreds of small stalls selling handicrafts and clothes, as well as buffet spreads of Laotian cuisine.