Real Honeymoon: Maldives, Sri Lanka & Dubai

My friends Natalie and Josh are the first to kick off the “Real Honeymoons” series on Peonies to Palm Trees.  Read all about their incredible honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

In September 2010, we went to the Maldives, Dubai, and Sri Lanka.

How long was your trip?

We kicked it off with 8 nights in the Maldives, then 2 nights in Sri Lanka, and 12 hours in Dubai. Plus 34ish hours on planes and another 10ish in airports ;)

Private pool at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Shortly after we got engaged, my then-fiancé and I went to Paris for a long weekend. (Damn, we sound like serious jetsetters. I promise, post-baby, this has changed.) I bought a French bridal magazine in the airport and saw an ad for the Maldives. That was it, that was what I wanted to do. We looked into some other island destinations that would have been considered unique for Americans but totally normal for Europeans (Seychelles, Mauritius), but ultimately the Maldives spoke to us. Being the sort of couple whose interests span beyond sand & sea, and knowing that we were going to trek 17 hours to get to this part of the world, we decided to make the most of it. Throw in a long layover in dubai where J’s college friend could give us a full-day tour? And a few days in Sri Lanka since the civil war had just ended and it would be…. different? Sure! Sounds perfect.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

The Maldives. That place is just unreal. Each resort is its own island, as is the airport. You land in the main city, Male, and then take a seaplane or boat to your hotel/island. We did it up — half the time in an overwater hut where you are practically IN the ocean, and half the time in a private beach villa with a personal plunge pool just for us and direct access to the most gorgeous beach on the planet. Breakfast buffets, lazy pool days, an underwater restaurant, jetski adventures, and a sunset cruise were just some of the highlights. I’m proud to say we started a bit of a Maldives trend in our worlds, with now 4-5 couples having gone there for their honeymoons since as well!

Jetskiing in the Maldives

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Ya know, I’m all for adventure & “new things.” But in retrospect, we really did not need to do Sri Lanka. Sure, it was kind of beautiful. And it was good & especially grounding after the luxury of the Maldives to be exposed to some of the poverty and harsh realities there. But it was dirty, unbelievably crowded, and just generally uncomfortable for me being a white woman. Call me sheltered, call me ignorant, call me whatever you want. Even though I have been to 30+ countries and speak 5 languages and really value diversity & different cultures, that just was not for me. An extra few days in the Maldives or a few days somewhere in Europe or South Africa would have been just fine for this chick.

How much planning did you do in advance?

Eh, not so much actually. We had hotels, and flights obviously, but nothing more than that. We aren’t the type to choose restaurants, activities, and things like that ahead of time. For some reason, I have a strange aversion to travel books. We had them with us, but I didn’t want to read the back cover let alone crack them open before we actually got to our destination. I don’t know why I’m like this. My husband is not. He was reading and researching and eager to tell me things, but in go the fingers to the ears and out goes the tongue and the la la la’s.

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

My husband is a HUGE lobster fan. Wait, let me back up. The Maldives as a country do not self-produce ANYTHING. ANYYYYYTHING. Everything is brought in. So the food at the resorts is ridonculously expensive. You have to be prepared for this. We were told to expect to pay as much as we paid for the rooms on food/excursions while we were there. That being said, we got to the resort and signed up for a lobster buffet dinner on the beach. For $250/head. In retrospect, I don’t know what we were thinking. I guess God didn’t either, because we got to the buffet, set up outside, and within 15 minutes the entire event was completely ruined thanks to the one and only sudden rain storm we had. The food was soaked and ruined. Our night, however, was not. We saved our $250/head and got room service & champagne “on the house.”

Sunbathing in the Maldives

Where do you want to go on your next big trip?

We’re both itching for our next adventure since we haven’t gone anywhere especially interesting since our big honeymoon. Granted, we had a baby, and he is pretty f’ing awesome. But we’ve been talking about South America, Greece/Turkey, and/or Israel. I have a feeling Israel will come first since I have family there that hasn’t yet met my 2 guys.

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