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Luang Prabang

The enchanting city of Luang Prabang is anchored at the junction of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers in northern Laos. Home to a spellbinding array of gilded temples, art deco shop fronts and weathered French colonial buildings, it is a fascinating and beautiful city to wander around. For all its magnificent architecture, it actually feels more like an easy-going provincial town - saffron-robed monks amble silently through the streets collecting offerings from the city's residents in the early morning, and when the evening comes old men lounge in chairs outside their homes while children play out in the streets.

There's plenty to explore here, from the Royal Palace and the town's many temples to the sacred caves of Pak Ou a short distance outside the city. You can also make the steep climb up Mount Phousi - the spiritual and geographical heart of the city, and a great spot to watch the sunset over the Mekong.