A tour from the other side of the Mekong River

Many are familiar with the Mekong River from visits to Thailand and maybe Vietnam. But there’s another Indochinese country just higher up the river: Laos.

Head to an exotic locale with Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao in Laos’ Luang Prabang. The luxury hotel and spa has a whole itinerary mapped out with a full-day Mekong River cruise that ends with a gourmet picnic against the Luang Prabang Mountain Range; a Lao cooking class with dinner on the hotel grounds with traditional Laotian music; a traditional Baci ceremony with blessings given by a local Shaman; and an early morning alms-giving to Buddhist monks.

It doesn’t come cheap at $638 per night for Garden View Junior Suites, but you do get round-trip airport transfers and a daily buffet spread while you’re there.