It's hard to choose the best place you've traveled to--especially when you love traveling so much. We both obsess over the organized chaos of Tokyo--so much that Nate says he could live there. After spending a week in a charming apartment in Tuscany, we began googling real estate. (We also gained a combined total of 20 pounds on that trip.) But recently, we spent four days in the city of Luang Prabang and fell in love.
The ancient capital in northern Laos lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers and feels like the perfect marriage of SE Asia and France. Our 17-day trip mostly focused on Cambodia, but Nate wisely booked a four-day side trip to Laos.
Here, we stayed at the Satri House--a renovated former royal residence that's now a lovely colonial-style hotel. The rooms are pretty with four-poster beds and dark wood furnishings, and there's a big swimming pool with daybeds and complimentary hats. And a great poolside bar.
The hotel proved to be an ideal home base as it was within walking distance to everything in the small town. We'd hop on our cruiser bikes and hit the low-key night market, hike Mount Phousi, and spend the evenings at the many charming cafes, wine bars, and restaurants. A stand-out day included swimming in the ice-blue waterfalls of Kuang Si. Nate jumps at the chance to wear his Tevas so he was truly living his best life on this day.
We also happened to be visiting during the country's New Year's celebration, but were clueless about this until small children began spraying us with water guns. Because the start of the new year is centered on the idea of washing oneself clean of bad spirits from the past year, there's a lot of water spraying involved. They sell water guns on the streets and children and adults fully and gleefully participate. The celebration/soaking built each day from a paltry squirt to a wet t-shirt contest look to literally getting buckets of water dumped upon us while riding in the back of a truck bed to the airport. We arrived at the counter completely soaked, with what I assume were some of the cleanest spirits around.