Real Honeymoon: Myanmar, Laos & Vietnam

Two years ago my friends Ben and Yoninah set the Peonies to Palm Trees record for the most flight legs during their honeymoon to Asia (12). But this week, a new couple takes the crown. Sarah and Dos took a total of 13 flights during their incredible trip to Southeast Asia this summer! Read all about their adventurous honeymoon in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Since we were fortunate enough to have an extended time for our honeymoon, we decided to venture to Southeast Asia. We spent a total of 3.5 weeks in Myanmar (formally known as Burma), Laos, and Vietnam. We left San Francisco June 19 [2015] and returned July 13.

Sarah and Dos in Halong Bay

Sarah and Dos in Halong Bay

Myanmar:
– Yangon (you will have to fly in and out of here. We stayed at the Chatrium Hotel as well as the Sule Shangri-La Hotel)
– *Bagan (stayed at Aureum Bagan Resort)
– Kalaw (stayed at Pine Hill Resort)
– *Inle Lake (stayed at the Inle Resort)

Laos:
– *Luang Prabang (stayed at Maison Souvannaphoum)

Vietnam:
– Hanoi (stayed at Movenpick Hanoi Hotel)
– *Halong Bay (stayed on the Emeraude)
– *Hoi An (stayed at Victoria Hoi An Resort)
– *Nha Trang (stayed at the Mia Resort)
– Ho Chi Minh City (stayed at Majestic Hotel)

I would be comfortable recommending any of the places we stayed. The ones with the stars were our favorites, city wise as well as accommodations wise.


How long was your trip?

3.5 weeks: eight days in Myanmar, three days in Laos (was supposed to be four but our flight was cancelled and we had to spend the night in Bangkok), and 12 days in Vietnam.

Victoria Hoi An Resort

Victoria Hoi An Resort

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

We had originally thought of going to Bora Bora but were worried there wouldn’t be enough to do to the fill the amount of days we wanted to be gone. I had never been to Southeast Asia and Dos had been to Thailand and loved it. We have done a lot of traveling together and wanted to try some place new. Southeast Asia has a good combo of lazy beach life and sightseeing adventures so it was a good compromise. It also has DELICIOUS food!

Fortunately we had a family friend very familiar with that part of the world and planned our entire trip for us. He was adamant we go to Myanmar and connected us with a travel agency, Destination Asia. If going to Myanmar, I would recommend getting a guide. We were so happy to have guide/driver meet us in each city; I don’t think we would have seen half the stuff we did if we didn’t have a guide.

Monks in Luang Prabang

Monks in Luang Prabang

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Too many things! I think our highlights in Myanmar were Bagan and Inle Lake. Bagan feels like you’re on a different planet; everywhere you look are temples dating back to the 10th or 11th century. Our guide said there are about 3,000 or so temples remaining. Inle Lake was beautiful as well.

Bagan Temples

Bagan Temples

The only city we went to in Laos was Luang Prabang, which we loved. Highlights there included going to the Elephant Village to spend the day with elephants as well as getting up quite early to see the monks receiving alms. It also has a nightly market that they shut down the main street for.

Elephants in Laos

Elephants in Laos

Highlights in Vietnam were definitely spending a night on a boat in Halong Bay, Hoi An (you must get custom made clothes here!!), and our resort in Nha Trang. Since we went to all of these places towards the end of our trip it was nice to relax by the beach/pool and enjoy a cocktail or two.

Shopping in Hoi An

Shopping in Hoi An

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

We discovered that we liked the smaller cities/towns better than the big cities so if we were to do it again we wouldn’t spend as much time in the big cities  (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Yangon in Myanmar). We loved Hoi An (in Vietnam) and Luang Prabang (in Laos) so we would definitely spend more time in those cities. We would also eliminate going to Kalaw as there’s not really much to do.

Canoeing in Inle Lake

Canoeing in Inle Lake

Another thing we would change is taking some cities off the itinerary. We flew to a new destination nearly every two or three days so it got a little exhausting. Unfortunately, Southeast Asia doesn’t have Europe’s rail system so our only option was flying from place to place. Including our flights to and from SFO I think we had 13 flights!

Inle Lake, Myanmar

Inle Lake, Myanmar

How much planning did you do in advance?

Since we had the help of a friend familiar with the area as well as Destination Asia, the travel agency, we really didn’t do any planning on our own. We wished we had done a little more research for Vietnam since we didn’t have a guide with us telling us what to do/where to go. There were a few times we would arrive in a city and say, “Now what?!” Obviously we found plenty to do and had a fun time exploring anyway.

Bagan

Bagan


What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

Our biggest splurge was staying at the Mia Resort in Nha Trang, Vietnam and it was totally worth it. Nha Trang is a busy city but the Mia Resort was about 15 minutes from the city so it didn’t feel like we were caught up in the hustle and bustle. Instead we were able to spend four blissful days on the beach. We originally had a condo but decided to splurge and get a villa instead which I highly recommend. Some come with their own pool!


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

I would love to go to Australia/New Zealand. Neither of us has been and it’d be fun to visit a new part of the world.

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