My Hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos

Infinity pool with a view of Mount Phou Si I woke up early every morning at my hotel, La Résidence Phou Vao, in the tiny former royal capital city of Luang Prabang, to watch the fog over the iconic Mount Phou Si. The entire stay was pretty much ridiculous. I woke up at 7 a.m. to do yoga by the spa with views of green mountains and a lotus pond. I imbibed in the hotel's signature drink, the Lao-tini (YUM) alongside copious amounts of sticky rice. And the best meal of my time in Laos was one I helped to cook during a class at the hotel.

You can take one of their bikes and zip off to town, which I highly recommend. It's a bit removed from the center of Luang Prabang which is so nice to relax but just a short bike ride away (or you can take their shuttle).

All of these things certainly help ease the awful jet lag you get when you go to Asia. It hits me so badly. Just when I think I've got a handle on it, it's time for me to go home. But yes, I know it's a small annoyance in exchange for a life-changing adventure. 

I wish you had been there with me - it was so dreamy in that wonderful, exotic "I can't believe I'm here" kind of way. If you're interested, I wrote a piece for my National Geographic column here, called "The Mystical Riches of Luang Prabang."

Here's a little tour of my hotel, starting with my room, the balcony, and the views you'll want to wake up for - or maybe you're a prisoner to jet lag like me, and already wide awake at 3 a.m. Either way, you'll want to be up early to just....stare.

My beautiful bed in Luang Prabang Cappuccino & a good book please! View from my room after the fog had lifted a bit I couldn't get enough of this view of Mount Phou Si Then there was this gorgeous little courtyard area outside my room - those stairs lead up to my door on the left. This was such a honeymoon hotel - in fact, my entire trip to Laos & Cambodia was. I had just gotten married, but sadly, my husband was at home.

At the entrance to the hotel At 6:50 a.m., this is the path I shuffled along to get to the Mekong Spa & my yoga class at 7 a.m. Pure bliss.

Yoga viewAnd how gorgeous is this doorway? Just off the main restaurant and infinity pool area, you'll find this which I thought was so cool.

Finally - if you go, order yourself a Lao-tini! It was addicting.

Reflections on a Another Big Adventure

Last big trip of 2013 - Cambodia! Angkor Wat at sunset

Last big trip of 2013 - Cambodia! Angkor Wat at sunset

Looking back, I actually can't believe it was ME that went to all of these places - a whirlwind of new friends, countless airports, amazing hotels, time with family & friends, thousands of miles traveled by car, plane, helicopter, train, and foot, & many pieces written. It is beyond my wildest dreams where my life and job have taken me in the past few years (reflections on 2011 & 2012).

Thank you for giving me YOUR travel tips, following along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and making me feel less lonely when I'm thousands of miles from home.

This year's adventures - in chronological order:

Winter in the Hamptons

Winter in the Hamptons

Breakfast at Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.

Breakfast at Hotel Bel-Air in L.A.

Rocco came with us to D.C., too! 

Rocco came with us to D.C., too! 

Back in the Hamptons

Back in the Hamptons

Brussels was surprisingly awesome

Brussels was surprisingly awesome

Bruges, Belgium - like Disneyland, but still cute

Bruges, Belgium - like Disneyland, but still cute

Loved this B&B, La Vigie, near the town of Spa, Wallonia - Belgium

Loved this B&B, La Vigie, near the town of Spa, Wallonia - Belgium

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

 Tel Aviv - a fast-paced, cool, changing-by-the-minute city

 Tel Aviv - a fast-paced, cool, changing-by-the-minute city

A complicated, beautiful city to explore - Jerusalem.

A complicated, beautiful city to explore - Jerusalem.

Adorable goats at Mizpe Hayamim in the Israel countryside.

Adorable goats at Mizpe Hayamim in the Israel countryside.

Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor

One of many Connecticut weekends

One of many Connecticut weekends

 I loved this exhilirating, gorgeous city - Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 I loved this exhilirating, gorgeous city - Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Emerald Coast of Brazil and Ponta dos Ganchos Resort.

The Emerald Coast of Brazil and Ponta dos Ganchos Resort.

With my dad at the Cliffs of Moher.

With my dad at the Cliffs of Moher.

My entire family rented a house outside Galway for a week.

My entire family rented a house outside Galway for a week.

Wedding in the Catskills.

Wedding in the Catskills.

Back in genteel, lovely Charleston, South Carolina.

Back in genteel, lovely Charleston, South Carolina.

One of my favorite places on the planet, Kiawah Island.

One of my favorite places on the planet, Kiawah Island.

A major highlight - attending the Coronation Festival & concert at Buckingham Palace in London.

A major highlight - attending the Coronation Festival & concert at Buckingham Palace in London.

A couple of days on the Isle of Wight, England.

A couple of days on the Isle of Wight, England.

Eloped and went to Paris for ten days.

Eloped and went to Paris for ten days.

Labor Day - Hiking in my hometown on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Labor Day - Hiking in my hometown on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona.

The start of two weeks in Mexico - Imanta Resort, Punta de Mita.

The start of two weeks in Mexico - Imanta Resort, Punta de Mita.

LOVED joyful Mexico City - and this seafood restaurant, Contramar.

LOVED joyful Mexico City - and this seafood restaurant, Contramar.

I want to go to Cabo every year - at Las Ventanas al Paraiso.

I want to go to Cabo every year - at Las Ventanas al Paraiso.

Oxford made me want to go back to school. 

Oxford made me want to go back to school. 

Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.

Barnsley House in the Cotswolds.

View from St. Paul's Cathedral on a sunny, cold London day.

View from St. Paul's Cathedral on a sunny, cold London day.

Teaching a travel writing workshop at Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Teaching a travel writing workshop at Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Mystical Laos - Southeast Asia

Mystical Laos - Southeast Asia