Laos welcomed us with the subtle slopes of lush greenery enwrapped in the soft light of the setting sun. The full swing of the nature surrounding the narrow strip of the tarmac confused me at first – it felt like we have just landed in someone’s garden rather than a country’s international airport. Despite the day ending, the air was still hot and humid, but unlike the stifling heat of Bangkok that we had taken off from just an hour earlier, the high temperature in Luang Prabang bore a quiet promise of relaxation.
After the swift visit to the visa desk, we stepped out of the tiny airport and headed through the palm adorned, bike-filled streets of the sleepy town to My Dream Boutique hotel.
Turning into a small residential street. that bore no signs of what was to come, we arrived at our private paradise. Walking through the airy reception tastefully decorated in cream colour with stunning carved and woven local elements, we stepped out on the veranda offering the stunning view of the wooden huts amongst flowering trees. I couldn’t believe this was going to be our home for the next few days!
After we were welcomed with ice cold juice and fresh mango served on the balcony overlooking the garden and the pool, we were taken to our room. The romantic warm lights, dark wood and the mosquito netting gave the accommodation a charming, romantic feel.
Unable to contain my excitement about our new destination, I soon dragged my husband outside to explore the rest of the hotel with me and see what other gems it had on offer.
As soon as we stepped out of our hut, I noticed a row of small lights among the greenery. At the end of softly lit path we came across a small clearing with two chairs overseeing the river.
Noticing the little spot of lights across the water, we decided to venture into town and see if we could find the intriguing place we could see on the other bank. We jumped on the hotel’s shuttle van and drove to the city centre.
We got dropped off at the main square, next to Luang Prabang’s famous night market. After a brief walk amongst the handicraft filled alleys and stalls, it soon turned out that Luang Prabang was a much smaller town than we had anticipated, with all the main amenities located within a short walking distance. There was no need to hurry any more, we could take our time and just enjoy the town.
Following a dinner of coconut pancakes and noodles, we wandered around, curious to see if could find the place we saw across the river. We walked through the quiet streets, passing bars and restaurants filled with travellers and locals. Despite the night time, Luang Prabang felt safe and welcoming, so we didn’t mind getting lost in the windy paths meandering around the colourful houses.
After few minutes, we saw a sign pointing towards a place called Utopia. Recognising the name as a bar that my friend recommended, we decided to follow the road and soon stumbled upon the most charming bar I’ve ever seen. Under the straw covered roof was a little oasis of nature and comfort. Between the dim lights and tropical greenery, was a place filled with soothing music and rhythmic murmur of conversations.
As we stepped from underneath the hooded area of the bar, we stepped onto a wide, wooden deck suspended above the water. On the opposite side of the river, we could just about tell the square lines of two chairs, gently illuminated by the lanterns in the grass. This little haven, with a name perfectly fitting it’s ambience, turned out to be the very same place we saw from the hotel!
Enchanted by the magic of the warm Laotian night, we gave in to the enticing atmosphere of Utopia completely as we reclined across the cushions lying on the deck. We ate our dinner under the stars, surrounded by laughter and the soft sways of the palm trees.
Few hours later, happy and free of any cares, we slowly headed back across the river. We walked through the night streets of Luang Prabang, passing by families eating fragrant soups and rice dishes outside their homes.
Holding hands and laughing, we walked over a rickety bridge, back to our private little paradise.