How To Plan An Adventurous Honeymoon (or Vacation) Throughout Southeast Asia
Some peoples idea of a perfect honeymoon would be sitting on the beach, in an all-inclusive resort, 100% relaxing and enjoying newly married life. While I am sure that sounds lovely to some folks, those people are not my husband and I. So if you are one of those people this post probably isn't going to be for you, but if you are looking to really start expanding the way you choose to travel then I am so excited you are here! And what better way to start then with your honeymoon (or any vacation for that matter).
When we first began planning our honeymoon my husband and I knew immediately that we would be going back to Southeast Asia. It is one of our favorite parts of the world, and it was exactly where we knew we would be able to experience the kind of honeymoon we were looking for.
We wanted an adventurous honeymoon, since we were going to have one full month of from work we wanted to make the most out of our time, and really explore as much as possible. We also knew that after planning a wedding we were going to want to have some good quality relaxation time though so we made a point to think about how we could combine our natural adventurous spirit with some good quality rest and relaxation.
I am sure if you are reading this, you probably are thinking of planning a similar trip, or would like to at some point, but you may not know where to even begin. Especially if you have never been to Southeast Asia before. Don't worry I am going to walk you through exactly how we planned our trip, and our recommended itinerary. By the end of this post you will be scouring the web for the most affordable flight to Asia, and will be pinterest-ing your way into a black hole of adventure and possibility.
make an initial list of priorities
My best advice is to think about what are some of your non-negotiables on your honeymoon, and make a list of the countries/country you would like to see from top priority to lowest priority.
For our honeymoon we knew that we wanted a mix of adventurous nature sightseeing, cultural temples/villages/cities, and then some quality beach time. Since we have done enough traveling now we know that we personally really like to do more of our adventurous/cultural traveling towards the beginning of our trip, and then when we are beginning to feel a little tired we will be ready for the beach.
This is also how we usually prioritize where we spend our money when it comes to accommodations. Typically we will start out with more of the budget accommodation options and move gradually towards nicer accommodations for the end of our trip. It's harder to go from a private villa with a water-view to a budget hotel then the other way around if you get what I mean.
our general itinerary
So for our honeymoon this is what our bare-bones itinerary looked like:
Fly into Hanoi Vietnam
Travel in Northern/Mid Vietnam
Fly Out Of Da Nang, Vietnam to Siem Reap Cambodia
Explore Angkor Wat/Siem Reap
Fly Out of Siem Reap Cambodia to Bangkok
Explore Bangkok and Island Hop
Fly from Bangkok to the Maldives
100% Relax in the Maldives
Fly from the Maldives to Dubai, UAE
Fly from Dubai to New York to Boston
When it all was said and done we traveled to five different countries, took 16 different flights, and had the best time ever. But this was also what works for us. We are pretty experienced travelers and this wasn't our first time to Southeast Asia, which meant that we knew what to expect. We knew what works for us when it comes to jet lag, and overall we just don't need a lot of down time before we really can get into exploring a place.
With that said, I probably wouldn't recommend our itinerary for someone who has never been to Southeast Asia before, and isn't used to traveling in developing countries. It can just take a little getting used to, and something like what we did may be a little overwhelming.
But if you are an experienced traveler and feel like you totally are on board with the way we like to travel, then I couldn't recommend our itinerary more. It worked out perfectly for us and we truly loved every moment and went home feeling so full.
how to start booking flights
If you are planning on traveling to multiple different countries on your honeymoon to Southeast Asia you are definitely going to be taking a lot of short flights. We only had wonderful experiences with ever airline we flew with, and flying is many times a cost effective, and time effective way to travel between countries.
Remember that your time is so valuable, especially if you are trying to see a lot of places and travel to a few different countries, so manage the amount of time you are wasting in transportation.
To start I would recommend checking out some of my favorite affordable travel booking sites, and put up some price alerts. The first thing you want to do is book your flight to Asia and your flight home. Once you have decided what the order of countries you will be visiting is you can book your first and last flight. Most likely you will not be traveling in and out of the same airport so look for one-way flights.
These flights are going to be your bookends that you fill everything else in the middle around. Since you most likely will have a day in mind that can will leave, and a day you need to return by, booking these flights is one of the best things to do first. They also will be the most expensive.
Once you have these flights booked the other flights will be pretty easy to plan, but you should wait until you have your itinerary really planned out before you start booking any of the other between country flights.
Filling out your itinerary
You now know the dates that you will traveling for your honeymoon, now it is time to flesh out some of the details. Start to research the countries you will be traveling to and determine what locations you absolutely want to see. Most likely you will have to make some compromises, which is why it is great to keep a list of the things that are most important to you.
Once you have a good idea of where you want to go/what you want to see, and approximately how long you want to spend in each place you can begin filling those detailing around the flights you have booked to Asia and home.
For us our itinerary looked something like this:
Day 1-3: Explore Hanoi, Vietnam (tour temples and see the city)
Day 4-6: Take a bus to Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Take an overnight boat out into the bay.
Day 7-11: Fly from Hanoi to Hoi An, Vietnam. Explore the city and countryside
Day 12-15: Fly from Hoi An, Vietnam to Siem Reap Cambodia. Spend three days seeing the temples, and exploring the city.
Day 16-21: Fly from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok to Koh Samui. Relax and get some quality beach time in.
Day 22-24: Fly back from Koh Samui to Bangkok and explore the city for two days.
Day 25-30: Fly from Bangkok to Sri Lanka to the Maldives. Take a sea plane to the Conrad Hilton Maldives. 100% relax and enjoy the beautiful ocean life and beaches.
Day 31-33: Fly from the Maldives to Dubai, UAE and explore the city for two days. This personally, was perfect for us. We really wanted it to just be a short layover stop.
Day 34: Fly from Dubai to Moscow to New York to Boston. Sleep for 24 hours.
This should get you started thinking about your Southeast Asia honeymoon, how you may want to plan out your itinerary, and some of the sights you may want to see. In future posts I am going to be sharing exactly what we did in each country, how we packed, what airlines we flew, and general costs to help you really gain a good understanding of what a honeymoon with a mixture of adventure and luxury travel can look like.