by Parm Joha
Mexico, check. Hawaii, check. Cuba, check. Looking fora new destination with a mix of adventure, culture and sandy beaches for your honeymoon? Thailand is an amazing choice for an exciting, romantic get-away. Leave your go-to tropical destination in the South and head East to Thailand for an unforgettable time. There’s a reason why Thailand is rated #1 with Indian globetrotters – it is diverse, offers good value for money and provides a variety of niche travel experiences fit for every type of traveler.
After researching for months and booking our honeymoon two weeks before our wedding, my husband and I went with our first choice – Thailand. What made us finally decide? Although luxurious all-inclusive with personal butlers in the Caribbean sounded enticing, we asked ourselves, “will we be going to Mexico within the next five years?” With so many pre-packaged travel deals available to Canadians, the answer was yes. We were unsure of when we would go back to Thailand, so it was decided, now was the time to go. To this day, Thailand has been our favourite destination
Here is a two week itinerary highlighting a beginner’s guide to Thailand for couples:
Bangkok City Life: 4 Days
What to see: Start your honeymoon exploring the capital of Thailand. Go temple gazing at Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Saket temples along with the Grand Palace. Visit local markets, try street food and take a long tail boat ride on the Chao Phraya River. If you’re up for it, take a day trip to see the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya. Celebrate romance with a fine dining experience and after dinner cocktails on one of Bangkok’s many rooftop restaurants and bars – all with a magnificent view of the city. If you’re jet-lagged, hot and have tired feet after all that exploring, head to your hotel spa for some pampering.
Where to Stay: Try the stylish boutique hotel we stayed in, The Majestic Grande , in close walking distance to the BTS skytrain or splurge on the Lebua Hotel as seen in various movies including The Hangover 2 . Although we didn’t stay here, we did go to the Skybar on the 64th floor for cocktails. Awesome views.
Where to Shop: MBK Centre for knock off goods, Siam Paragon + Siam Discovery for authentic and designer goods, Floating Market + Patpong Night Market for local, non-commercial shopping. Get ready to haggle!
Where to Dine: For an authentic Thai dinner, try the Blue Elephant Restaurant . With low lighting, classic Thai décor and traditional spicy dishes, this is a great spot for a romantic night.
Chiang Mai Culture: 3 Days in Northern Thailand
What to see: Leave the hectic city behind and head north to quieter Chiang Mai, known as the cultural hub of Thailand. The lush landscapes and mountains are great for any nature enthusiast. Slow down the pace and visit the Doi Suthep Buddhist temple on the mountain, ride elephants in the jungle and learn more about the Long Neck Karen villagers from Burma. Day trips are available and can be booked at your hotel or through many tour operators in Chiang Mai. Haggle with shop owners at the famous Night Bazaar or take a Thai cooking class.
Where to Stay: For a centrally located, luxurious boutique hotel, stay at the dusitD2 in Chiang Mai. Contemporary chic design and only steps away from the famous night market. Rated for excellence by Conde Nast Traveller, Travel + Leisure and Trip Advisor. One of our best stays.
Where to Shop: Chiang Mai Night Bazaar where thousands of stalls open up every evening from 5pm-11pm selling Thai handicrafts, jewelry, suitcases, clothing and everything under the sun. You’ll see both locals and tourists out every night shopping and haggling for the best deal.
Where to dine: The best places are sometimes the ones you don’t plan for. One night while exploring the city on foot, we walked over a random bridge and discovered a string of informal eateries with patios along the Mae Ping River. During the day, the river might not look all that clean, but in the evening, the restaurant lights go on and the river looks beautiful. A warm night, a spark of spontaneity and a riverside patio makes for a fun, romantic evening out in new city with your partner.
Tip: Head even further north to Chiang Rai if you want to visit a place with small town charm and easy access to green open spaces.
Thai Islands: Phuket 7 Nights
What to see: Now that you’ve been on the go for the past week, time to relax on one of the Thai Islands. We stayed in Phuket, known as the original tourist destination in Thailand. Although to some, Phuket is too touristy and over run by major resorts, we both enjoyed our time in Phuket. As a traveler, I try not to dismiss places just because they aren’t off the beaten path. Surrounded by the beach towns of Kata, Karon and Patong, Phuket beaches are gorgeous and comparable to Caribbean beaches. Take a break from the resort with a scooter rental for the adventurer at heart. Head to Phuket Town, the Premium Outlets or the Phuket Zoo. Be careful of the turns!
Where to stay: Although there are many resorts to choose from in Phuket, we were impressed with our stay at the Katathani Phuket Beach Resort . Get pampered with garden side massages, take a dip in the infinity pool or sun tan on the beach. Although it is a public beach, it was mostly private as the resort is located at the end of the strip of hotels. The junior suites are spacious and we loved the Thai decor.
Where to Shop: If you stay at the Katathani Resort, Kata markets are close by or you can take shuttle to Patpong market with shops, bars and restaurants.
Where to dine: You won’t find all-inclusive resorts in Thailand so expect to pay extra for meals at resorts. Because it is a resort town, taxis will also cost more to head into the town centre. The resorts may offer half board during your stay for an additional cost. As there was limited choice for restaurants at our resort, this was the best deal for us during our stay. The Katathani Phuket Beach Resort has amazing restaurants, but if you get tired of the food, head across the street or into town for a Thai lunch.
Tip: Island hop to Koh PhiPhi where Leonardo Dicaprio’s “The Beach” was shot. Clearest water I’ve seen. Other Thai Islands: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Krabi.
The wedding and honeymoon budget is usually the first discussion that brides and grooms have on finances. This can be a sensitive issue and open communication is key. For us, we both knew we wanted a minimum of a 2 week vacation instead of 1 week to relax after the stressful year of wedding planning. We also did our own research on the internet along with asking a travel agent for a similar itinerary. After comparing our research with the travel agent, we were stunned to know that we could shave off a $1000.00 by booking on our own. The travel agent gave us a quote for around $6500 for 2 (hotels + flights) and we booked our two week trip for $5500 (hotels + flights).
That extra $1000 that would have gone to the travel agency went to our expenses instead – after all what’s Thailand without experiencing good food, massages and boat trips to the best beaches!
Adventure + Culture + Romance! This wedding season, book your dream honeymoon in Thailand – it’s diverse, adventurous, romantic and relaxing.
Desiglobetrotter is a new travel blogazine with a focus on independent world travel through a South Asian lens. For destination guides, travel stories, tips and travel features, please visit www.desiglobetrotter.com.
About Parm Johal
Parm is a travel junkie living in Vancouver and is the Editor-in-Chief of www.desiglobetrotter.com, a travel blog that connects South Asians passionate about independent world travel. Parm’s favourite travel moments include backpacking solo in Spain and Portugal, spending a night in the Saharan desert gazing up at the stars, exploring the streets of Mumbai, working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean with over a 1000 crew members from around the world and experiencing the magic of travel with her husband in Thailand.