By Laura Gelder – February 2020 – 3 minute read
From teak-decked colonial mansions to island paradise resorts, Indochina has plenty of romantic and luxurious places to stay.
It might be a tad rougher around the edges than Thailand and less established on people's bucket lists than Vietnam, but Cambodia has the former's white- sand beaches and the latter's French colonial charm - plus one of the world's most famous 'lost' cities.
Lovers looking to explore Angkor Wat can stay at Amansara in Siem Reap, ten minutes from the UNESCO site. Once a residence for guests of the Cambodian king, the resort's 1960s New Khmer architecture sports monochrome minimalism and a tranquil atmosphere.
For the beach break after the culture, Song Saa Private Island off Sihanoukville is Maldives-esque with its powdery white sand and villas reached by floating pontoons across the reef. Interiors are all floaty white linen, polished dark wood floors and driftwood decor.
Alternatively, adventurous couples can check into the eco-friendly 4 Rivers Floating Lodge on the Tatai River in the Cardamom rainforest.
Landlocked Laos has the kind of romantic landscapes that poets dream of, with misty limstones karsts rising out of paddy fields, shining golden temples and distressed shuttered mansions.
The capital Luang Prabang has to be the world's calmest – the busiest it gets is when its saffron-robed monks collect alms at sunrise – and it has the lion's share of luxury accommodation, mostly boutique hotels.
There's Satri House, set in a former Lao prince’s childhood villa lined with fine art and boasting a spa set around an ornamental lily pond; Rosewood Luang Prabang, hidden on a hillside outside the city with riverside suites, waterfall villas or hilltop tents, all sporting French colonial furniture set against bold colours; and Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao, set in tropical gardens bursting with frangipani, mango and hibiscus, boasting views of Mount Phousi and with stylish teak- and wicker-decorated shadowy interiors.
In Champasak, southern Laos, Kingfisher Ecolodge is a more rustic option, nestled in the tranquil Mekong meadowlands, with buffalo grazing by its bungalows.
Long and skinny Vietnam is loved for its combination of chaotic cities thrumming with mopeds; the iconic scattered isles of emerald-hued Halong Bay, beach destinations ranging from lively Nha Trang to the serene islands of Phu Quoc and mountains accessed by winding roads or hardy treks through hill tribe territory.
When it comes to luxury there's an established repetoire including big brands – like the zen-like Four Seasons Nam Hoi near historic Hoi An. Here, a three-tiered pool leads down to one of the country's best beaches and villas are tucked away in tropical gardens or on the beach, with canopied beds and sunken baths.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is a city landmark steeped in history and dripping in colonial opulence. Located in the French Quarter by the Opera House, it's a destination in itself for atmosphere and cuisine.
Six Senses Con Dao is named after this group of green islands. Designed like a fishing village, it has 50 pool villas built from sustainable materials like reclaimed teakwood. Couples can explore deserted beaches, kayak mangroves or hike through an old fruit plantation.