5 Reasons Why Laos Is the Perfect Offbeat Honeymoon Destination
After the months of wedding planning and feeling a bit partied out post-nuptials, thereâ€™s a gorgeously serene place in Southeast Asia where you can simply chill for your honeymoon. You can soak up the local culture in between the warm sun rays and indulge in delicious food, learn the peaceful ways of the monks, and maybe chase a waterfall or two. That idyll is Luang Prabang, Laosâ€”a place many world travelers call their favorite destination in the east.
In Luang Prabang, the pace is slow, unhurried, and entirely stress-free. And thatâ€™s true from the very beginning of your trip, if you travel with Abercrombie & Kent's bespoke Tailor Made program. They actually have someone to go through immigration and collect luggage for you, meaning youâ€™re instantly whisked away to the hotel without any standing in lines or waiting around so your Laos honeymoon can begin that much sooner. If you're still on the fence as to where to plan your honeymoon, let this be your guide. Read on for five reasons why Luang Prabang, Laos is the perfect honeymoon destination.
Although the entire town of Luang Prabang is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, meaning buildings canâ€™t be torn down and rebuilt in modern style, and there will never be a chain there, there is an intimate hotel that opened in 2018 that creatively got past the strict rules. Rosewood Luang Prabang, designed by the celebrated architect Bill Bensley, was built around waterfalls in the same French colonial style as its surroundings, and it even has tents on stilts in the valley. You get to walk on bouncy wooden bridges to reach them. Each is named for and themed around an indigenous Laotian tribe and filled with artifacts. They offer plush bedding and large decks, which are perfect for cuddling with your honey and stargazing. Donâ€™t miss the opportunity to have a couples massage in one of the spa tents, with windows in the floor under your faces so you can watch the trickling stream glide past.
For those days you wish to go out and do something, programming at Rosewood Luang Prabang includes guided walks or hikes to monasteries and temples in local villages. Abercrombie & Kentâ€™s knowledgeable local guides are valuable for at least one full-day outingâ€”after a couple of days spent relaxing by an aquamarine pool, of course. It would be a shame to spend time in Luang Prabang without seeing the countless golden Buddhas inside a handful of temples, architecturally unique from virtually every other Southeast Asian country. Vibrant glass mosaics, fanciful layered roofs, and seriously gilded ornamentation make the hallowed structuresâ€”and the Royal Palaceâ€”true gems. The guide also comes in handy at The Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre in town, where artifacts and costumes from indigenous tribes are on display, and the stories to be told are fascinating, as well as at the Buddhist Archive of Photography, a space dedicated to the Zen monastic life.
The Chance to Observe Monks
Another way to discover the day-to-day of monksâ€”who populate dozens of temples in the townâ€”is with a blissful stay at Amantaka, where the staff makes it easy to rise early in the morning to give alms to the orange-robe-clad holy men. Each morning they make their way down the main street in front of the low-profile colonial-styled resort to collect handfuls of sticky rice from lines of locals and tourists alike. Itâ€™s a ritual that everyone should experience here, along withâ€”if you donâ€™t mind early morningsâ€”a climb up to Mount Phousi temple for sunrise over Luang Prabang.
Perfect for Pampering and Relaxing
Amantaka is also the place to indulge in pampering, from the spiritual kind in the form of a traditional Baci ceremony with local elders (itâ€™s a beautiful way to be blessed with good luck at the start of your marriage) to the physical, like with a deep massage using locally sourced clay and salt. Or, opt for a gloriously transformative nourishing facial that includes not only the luxury hotel companyâ€™s skincare line but aromatherapy, shirodhara, poultice massage, and hot jade stones.
Local Food and Vibrant Shops
From Amantaka, itâ€™s an easy walk to charming restaurants such as Tangor and Cafe Toui (the food in Laos is like the best of all delicious Southeast Asian flavors, with plenty of sticky rice, pork, and fish). After a meal, visit the night market, where itâ€™s hard to deny the itch to bargain for paper umbrellas, indigo-dyed accessories, and other locally made crafts. If the latter is an interest, also check out Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre. Enjoy a drink while watching the sunset at The Belle Rive, right on the river, or for an expertly made after-dinner libation head to the intimate Icon Klub.
Enjoying the Outdoors
Although landlocked, Laos has plenty of opportunities to enjoy waterâ€”and not just in the vast pools of its five-star properties. A&K guides take adventurers past a black bear rescue center to Kuang Si waterfalls, a series of otherworldly aquamarine falls increasing in size until you reach the top massive attraction. Dreamy photos are definitely encouraged at this spot. To continue your outdoor adventure, there are also cruises down the Mekong River, like on Amantakaâ€™s longboat. The most idyllic is in the morning before the mist has evaporated over the distant mountains, en route to yoga and meditation at the lush botanical gardens, or as the sun is setting, with cocktails and canapes. Itâ€™s undeniable that the setting is pure magic.