Real Honeymoon: Singapore & Thailand

We haven’t had a new Real Honeymoon post on the blog in a few weeks, so I was thrilled when my friend Kathleen agreed to write a post about her recent honeymoon in Asia where she and her husband Jon decided to split their time between the cities and beaches. Sounds like the perfect balance to me! Read all about their amazing honeymoon in Singapore and Thailand below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to 2 countries [in February 2014] – Singapore and Thailand. While in Thailand we hopped around from city to city. We went to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, and Phuket.

Bangkok TemplesHow long was your trip?

We were gone for 2.5 weeks – disregarding the 24 hours it took to get to and from. I wish we could have stayed longer…but you can’t avoid real life forever!

Phuket

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

My husband and I had actually both been to this part of the world previously, so it was actually a little bit of a tough decision. Why re-do Asia when we could see something we’ve both never seen before?  I lived in Singapore when I was younger, and while there we had traveled to Phuket for a family vacation – pre-tsunami. Jon did Asia about 4 years ago for school. He went to Vietnam, Cambodia, and spent about a day in Bangkok.

Asia has a special place in my heart, as corny as it may be, so I had been dying to go back. I’ve always knew that once I got married, I would want my husband to see Singapore someday. Jon also really enjoyed Asia and felt like he missed out on Thailand during his trip – half of his friends did Thailand and half did Vietnam when they had gone for school. I had only ever seen Phuket, so seeing the rest of Thailand sounded great to me. So that was that! We both loved the idea of seeing different cities in Thailand and while in Asia we were able to squeeze in a quick trip to Singapore. We’ll save the rest of the world for later!

Phi Phi Island Tour (1)

 

The best part about our honeymoon was…

I have a really hard time answering this question. Everything was really unique in it’s own way! Singapore was awesome for me – very nostalgic. Bangkok is so insane in an interesting way. Chiang Mai was more rural, a little more cultural and we got to pet tigers. And as for the beaches, you really can’t go wrong there!

Chiang Mai Tigers

But, if I have to answer, I would say 3 things: 1. I really loved Krabi. We didn’t really know what to expect from it. We chose it after debating which beaches to hit for weeks. We finally chose it somewhat randomly because we knew the rock formations would be very picturesque. Just seemed beautiful. Our hotel was awesome there – it was only accessible by boat because it was set in a nook surrounded by massive rocks/mountains. The beaches were beautiful, the resort was amazing, and we were able to get to the small town of Ao Nang every night via boats to walk around and eat. So we there was a mix of beach and Thai culture.

Krabi Hotel

2. We took a cooking class in Chiang Mai that we LOVED! Siam Rice Cooking School – do it!

Chiang Mai Cooking School

3. Being away for 2.5 weeks was so great. When we finally started the beach portion of our trip, we both looked at each other and were like “Wow…we still have 7 nights!” Best feeling ever.

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

There are definitely a few things I’d do differently, not that our trip was anything short of amazing!

1. I would have stayed one more day in Singapore – we did that so quickly and it felt like we tried to shove things in and we had just gotten to Asia. It was a lot. I could have probably planned that one out a little better.

Singapore

2. I would have also added a day or 2 to Chiang Mai. I would have loved to do an elephant camp and taken a day trip up to Chiang Rai which is right by the Burma border.

Chiang Mai Mountain Temple

3. We planned a few guided tours a long the way – they were OK. We would have probably been better off doing it on our own. Our tour guides also spoke really poor English so it was very difficult to understand them.  However, we might have just chosen poorly. I’ve heard others say they loved their tours. Recommendations are definitely the way to go. Why we didn’t listen to others – I still don’t actually know…

4. I don’t know when we’ll go back to Asia, it’s soooo far away! But…there is still so much I want to see there. Sometimes I wonder if we should have just taken a whole month off. I would still love to see Angkor Wat and Vietnam. Who knows though – maybe we’ll make it back one day!

Bangkok

Continue reading

Advertisements

How Long Can You Delay a Honeymoon?

I had brunch over the weekend with three friends: one who honeymooned in Tahiti a few days after her wedding, one who honeymooned in Costa Rica a year after her wedding, and one who got married in Ireland last summer but hasn’t gone on a “real honeymoon” yet. That last friend, however, is planning a two week trip to New Zealand in October. Even though the trip is a year and a half after her (destination) wedding, is it okay to still consider it a “honeymoon”? How long can you delay a honeymoon before it just turns into a regular vacation?

nhatrang

The consensus around the table was that you can go on a honeymoon whenever you want – there’s no expiration date. It’s very common for couples to delay their honeymoons a bit after their weddings, whether it’s to save money, visit their dream destination during a more preferable season, or just because they have scheduling conflicts. Couples should do whatever works best for them, without feeling like their honeymoon needs to be rushed.

However, if you do decide to postpone your honeymoon, it’s important to realize that other people may treat it differently. As I wrote in one of my very first blog posts about when to go on a honeymoon, you should be forewarned that coworkers and employers may be less than enthusiastic about you taking an extended vacation if it’s not shortly after your wedding (especially if you already took a lot of time off for that). Friends and family probably won’t be as “Oh-My-Gosh-So-Excited-For-You!” either if your wedding seems like a distant memory. So as long as that’s cool with you (as it should be – it’s YOUR honeymoon after all), then plan your honeymoon whenever you feel like it.

That being said, you cannot plan multiple honeymoons (sorry, Alice). An extended multi-moon is acceptable (and totally awesome), but if you tell your friends/family/coworkers that you’re going on a second or third honeymoon, expect lots of eye rolls in return. At that point, please just call it a vacation.

As for my friends who are planning to go to New Zealand in October, I think that they should totally still consider that trip their honeymoon, and I honestly can’t wait to hear all about it. And, of course, they’ve already promised to write an awesome blog post when they get back.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

The Cliffs of Moher, June 2013

Even though I’m not even the slightest bit Irish, I’ve always been a fan of St. Patrick’s Day. The holiday makes me think of my two trips to Ireland (see my latest Ireland travel tips here), waiting in line for The Brown Jug in Ann Arbor at 7 am, the electric green river in Chicago, and a ridiculously fun bar crawl in The Rocks with my Sydney housemates during my semester abroad.

Admittedly my more recent St. Patrick’s Days have been far less exciting, but the holiday still just makes me happy. (And the 30 Rock St. Patrick’s Day episode makes me pretty happy, too.)

I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day full of Guinness, corned beef, and (at least the soundtrack of) The Boondock Saints on repeat. Be safe, don’t be obnoxious, and have fun!

How Long Should a Honeymoon Be?

Alright, you’ve finally figured out where to go and you’re ready to book your honeymoon. But now the question is how long your honeymoon should actually be. The answer is different for every couple, and it totally depends on a multitude of factors:

  • Your budget
  • How long it takes you to get to your destination(s)
  • How much time you can take off from your jobs
  • How much you like being away from home

That being said, the average honeymoon length of the Real Honeymooners who’ve contributed to this blog is around 13 days. Some of the shortest honeymoons (excluding mini-moons) were 6 days, and the longest ones were an impressive 21 days. My own honeymoon was 16 days: 8 in Bali, and 8 in Vietnam.

beach

Private beach on Hon Tam, Vietnam (from our own honeymoon)

If you’re having a hard time deciding how much time to spend on your honeymoon, it’s time for you and your significant other to think about the following questions:

  • Do you envision your honeymoon to be a major (financial) blowout? If you’ve always wanted your honeymoon to be the most extravagant trip of your life, you may need to keep it on the shorter side in order to, you know, stay financially solvent.
  • How much is there to do at your dream honeymoon destination? If you’ve always wanted to honeymoon for 2+ weeks, but you want to honeymoon in, let’s say, the Maldives, you* may get a bit restless after a week or so. (*Exclusions apply to self-proclaimed beach bums such as yours truly.) Continue reading

If You’re Eating in San Francisco…

Inspired by SF style and beauty blogger Gal Meets Glam‘s recent post, I decided to come up with my own list of favorite places to eat and drink in the City by the Bay!

I’ve lived in San Francisco for nearly 8 years now (3 in Cow Hollow, and 4 1/2 in the Castro), and I’ve had my fair share of incredible meals all over town. While you can certainly go to many restaurants where a great meal will cost at least $50 a person, one of the best things about SF is that some of the most wonderful meals in the city can be had for less than $10.

Not a bad looking city, eh?

Not a bad looking city, eh?

So if your travels bring you to San Francisco, below is the list of my favorite places to check out. Bon appétit!

Cafés/Breakfast/Coffee:

  • Philz Coffee – my go-to iced coffee.
  • Town’s End
  • Tartine Bakery & Cafe
  • Blue Bottle Coffee
  • Foreign Cinema – 3 words: homemade pop tarts.
  • Craftsman and Wolves – mmm… the rebel within!

Lunch:

  • Swan Oyster Depot – an absolute must for seafood-lovers.
  • Ike’s Place
  • Slanted Door (+ Out the Door
) – I’m completely obsessed with their spring rolls and peanut sauce.
  • Marina Submarine
  • Yank Sing – the most wonderful Shanghai dumplings in SF.
  • Red’s Java House – best place for burgers and chili fries before SF Giants games!
  • Twitter – yes, as in Twitter’s headquarters. Don’t miss a chance to have a meal there if you know an employee.

Burritos: (because, yes, SF burritos deserve their very own category)

  • El Farolito
  • Papalote
  • Gordo Taqueria
  • Taqueria Cancun
  • Espiga De Oro

Dinner:

  • State Bird Provisions – hands down, my absolute favorite restaurant in San Francisco.
  • Stones Throw – my new favorite burger in SF.
  • Hillstone
  • L’Ardoise – the best date night restaurant.
  • Shanghai Dumpling King – soooo many dumplings, soooo little $.
  • 
Spruce
  • nopa
  • Zazie

Drinks:

  • Blackbird
  • Trick Dog – really amazing cocktails.
  • Hi Tops – gay sports bar with awesome music and totally amazing food (brunch + dinner).
  • Southern Pacific Brewing Company 
  • Locanda – delicious cocktails (good Italian food, too).
  • Toronado