If gongs were handed out for the most beautiful cities on the planet then Luang Prabang would be fighting out with heavyweights such as Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town. It’s almost impossible to quibble with Luang Prabang’s status as the premier tourist spot in Laos since the city delivers in pretty much every area. Saffron-robed monks and impossibly ornate temples such as Wat Xieng Thong offer spiritual solace, lavish hotels and chic eateries such as Tamarind up the ante in the comfort stakes while the string of open air bars that line the Mekong River offer cold beer and cheap cocktails in a setting that bypasses convivial and moves directly to jaw-dropping. Unsurprisingly, given the setting, the former royal capital is a popular spot for couples and this journey ramps up the romance by offering everything from lazy river rides to exclusive treatments in the city’s best spa.

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