If you’re looking for the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure, Thailand is one of the best possible honeymoon destinations out there. (Its absolutely delicious food, incredibly friendly people, and low price points don’t hurt either!) Read all about Elana and Adam’s amazing honeymoon in Thailand below:
When and where did you honeymoon?
We went to Thailand in November of 2013: Bangkok for two days, Chiang Mai for four days, Phuket for five days, and Krabi for three days. We heard that was a good time of year to go because the rainy season was just ending. There was a little bit of rain on our trip but most of the time it was welcomed and it didn’t prevent us from doing anything we had planned.
How long was your trip?
2 weeks, but we would have loved another week to travel to some other parts of Thailand and SE Asia.
How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?
We chose Thailand based on recommendations from friends who have travelled there, and also the fact that we needed a good mix of relaxation and adventure. We’re not really “sit-on-the-beach-for-a-week-and-do-absolutely-nothing” kind of people.
The best part about our honeymoon was…
I would say it’s a tie between Chiang Mai and Railay Beach. Chiang Mai has so much to offer; the city limits are only a little over a square mile but the province is enormous with so many little villages and hill tribes and so much culture. We picked coffee beans right off the tree and ate them, rode elephants, hiked through the jungle, and saw a Thai boxing match all in the same day.
Railay Beach is so picturesque you feel like you’re in a movie. You can rent a kayak for a about $8 per day and take yourselves through these incredible caves on the Andaman Sea. Its got a relaxed island feel, monkeys hang out on your hotel balcony, and you can eat the freshest fish for dinner that was caught that day.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
The public bathroom situation is usually less than desirable, so I’d bring more of my own toilet paper. I’d also give myself an extra week to travel, and I would bypass Bangkok all together. People warned us that we wouldn’t really care for Bangkok, but we couldn’t go to Thailand and not stop there. Now that we’ve seen it, I don’t need to ever go back. It’s busy, dirty, touristy, etc. A few temples are cool, but how many temples do you need to visit on one trip?
How much planning did you do in advance?
Several months’ worth. It’s hard to figure out how to get where you need to go and make sure that you’re using your time efficiently. Thailand is big, and it could take a couple of days to get from one end to the other if you don’t plan it right.
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
SE Asia is pretty cheap in general, but because it was our honeymoon we splurged on the hotels. You can easily find hotels for $40 per night or even less if you stay in guesthouses, hostels, etc., but we went during high season and mostly stayed in 4 star hotels. They were still way cheaper than a 4 star US hotel though!
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
Costa Rica or Hawaii =o))
More on Elana and Adam’s trip details below:
We started in Bangkok, only spent two days there because we heard from friends it “wasn’t really our scene.” We accidentally slept through half of our time there because of jet leg, but we weren’t too disappointed because everyone was right… it really wasn’t our scene, very busy and tourist-trappy. The best thing we did was a river cruise and saw a few really cool temples. We stayed in a really nice boutique hotel called Siam Heritage- they were so friendly and accommodating. It was also really affordable- like $80 per night and we really liked it.
We then flew to Chiang Mai which was probably our favorite part of the trip. We spent four days there and stayed in the Rimping Village that I HIGHLY recommend for anyone looking for a place to stay. The hotel staff were SO incredibly nice. When we arrived it was at the end of Thailand’s festival of lights, and they gave all of the guests lanterns to light and send into the sky, and “gifts” to place into the river to give thanks to the river for everything it provides. It was so nice. The hotel has free bicycles you can take out whenever you want to explore the city. We took a few private day tours to the Doi Inthanon National Park, Doi Suthep (one of the most famous temples in Chiang Mai), and we visited a hill tribe village where we picked coffee beans right off the trees and made the freshest coffee I’ve ever tasted.
We also took a day trip from Chiang Mai to the city of Pai which was incredible. We rented a motor bike (because that’s the thing to do there), and once my husband figured out how to drive on the correct side of the road and stop smoothly, it was AMAZING. We just rode through the rolling hills of the countryside, stopped at a natural hot spring and a beautiful waterfall, and saw goats and elephants along the way. It was kind of surreal, the kind of place people go to visit and never leave. It’s so picturesque. If we had more time to travel I definitely would have liked to spend more than one day in Pai, and a few extra days in Chiang Mai.
From Chiang Mai we flew down to Phuket and stayed in the Karon Beach part of the province. We heard it was a beautiful beach and not quite so “spring break-y” like other parts of Phuket can be. We stayed at the Pacific Club Reort which was awesome. It’s set in the mountains but just a five minute walk to the beach. They had a beautiful rooftop pool with an incredible view of the beach on one side and the mountains on the other.
Before we left Phuket we did the obligatory visit to Maya Bay (where the movie The Beach was filmed) but the way we did it was kind cool. We did the Maya Bay Sleep Aboard overnight trip, so we took a boat with 20 other people and got off and snorkeled and kayaked along the way to island. We didn’t arrive there until 5 pm which is when all the other tourists are leaving, so we got the whole island to ourselves, watched the sunset, had an authentic Thai meal cooked for us, drank rum buckets and ate chicken wings, and it was the most relaxing evening. I guess the rules have changed and you are no longer allowed to sleep on the beach, so around 11 pm we all headed back on the boat to sleep. That part was less than desirable, as the boat was literally rocking all night long. I got so sea sick (which i don’t normally do), and probably only got 30 minutes of sleep total. I wouldn’t do that part again, but I’m glad I got to see Maya Bay without the swarms of people.
We then flew from Phuket to the Krabi Province which was our last stop on the trip. We stayed in Krabi for three days. We’d previously heard from friends that Railay Beach was one of the best beaches in Krabi, that it has a super laid-back island feel. Our hotel was called the Railay Village Resort and Spa. Aside from being on the pricier end for Thai hotels, it was pretty cool. The best part of the hotel was the monkeys that hung out on our balcony and played with each other – so cool to watch. They told us to make sure we keep the balcony doors locked, otherwise the monkeys will come inside our room and eat the fruit.
Railay Beach was definitely the right choice for us. It’s a destination for a lot of serious rock climbers, so it was nice that it wasn’t populated by a-holes who don’t do anything but sunbathe. We rented a longtail boat for the day and stopped at bunch of cool spots to go snorkeling. We also took a kayak ride through the caves on the Andaman Sea. We ate at a beachside restaurant and got fresh fish that was caught that day. My favorite beach by far, but it’s really small and not the type of place I’d stay at for more than a week.