Real Honeymoon: Malaysia

Remember when I asked if there was such a thing as taking too many flights on a honeymoon?  Well Ben and Yoninah are back from their epic trip, and they will be the first to tell you that all of the flying was well worth it.  Read all about their incredible Malaysian honeymoon below (and do not miss their amazing sea turtle video!):

When and where did you honeymoon?

We left for our honeymoon on September 3 [2013] (just over 24 hours after the bride finished her post-wedding afterparty cheesesteak). The honeymoon’s primary destination was Malaysia (both Borneo and peninsular Malaysia), but also included stops in Bangkok and Tokyo.

kinbalu

How long was your trip?

The trip was two weeks long.

tuktuk

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

We always knew that we wanted to go somewhere really far away and exotic and somewhere that we would likely never visit again. We also knew that we wanted part adventure and part relaxation. Our thinking was not much more developed than far away and off the beaten path when Yoninah and I were watching a Discovery Channel special on orangutans. Yoninah said “Let’s go there!” After some Googling we learned that the best place to see orangutans is in Malaysia on the island of Borneo. We also discovered that the requirements of adventure and relaxation could be met in Malaysia.

orangutan

We then developed our itinerary around other things we definitely wanted included. We both wanted more wildlife, I wanted some form of hiking, and Yoninah wanted relaxation on a beach. The final itinerary included beaching, a climb of Mt. Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Malaysia and depending on who you ask, the highest mountain in SE Asia), a visit to Turtle Island (a sanctuary where we saw a mother turtle lay her eggs and later see hatchlings released), and five days on Langkawi at the Andaman Resort (off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia). Our slow return home also included day-long stops in Bangkok and Tokyo.

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Reaching the top of Mt. Kinabalu at sunrise, releasing a baby sea turtle in the ocean, and monkeys – Yoninah loves monkeys. Also a big plus was traveling just about the entire way in business class for about 1/10th of what it would have cost to pay cash for the flights (Thanks, credit card sign up bonuses!).

kinbalu2

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

The weather… Everything we read before we left indicated that during this time of year, there likely would be some rain each day, but that the rain would not last for more than an hour on any given day. Unfortunately,our beach time in Langkawi included multiple rainy days.

It also rained for our entire 6 hour descent of Mt. Kinbalu. Not normal rain, but that special kind of pouring rain you can only get in the tropics.

kinbalu3

How much planning did you do in advance?

Lots. All 12 flight legs (4 within Malaysia and 8 total getting to Asia and back), hotel rooms in four different cities, the climb and turtle island trips, and tour guide in Bangkok were all booked well in advance. Also, most flights were booked with points, which required some additional effort.

monkeys

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

Afternoon of couples’ massage and various other spa treatments at the Andaman Spa. And eating everything and anything we wanted – goodbye wedding diet.

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

We are torn on whether to pursue more adventure or more relaxation.  The current discussion involves Africa including a safari and Kilimanjaro climb or Hawaii.

_____________________

Below are a few more Malaysian hotel recommendations from Ben and Yo:

– The Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang was spectacular.  Very impressive colonial elegance.

– The Sama-Sama Hotel next to the Kuala Lumpur airport is great if you have a connection in KL.

– The Datai in Langkawi looked amazing and I’d definitely recommend it. It’s a 5 star hotel, we passed by it and saw their pool/bar and accommodations. It’s on the same beach as the Andaman.

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