us. Although we might be a little biased, here’s the reasons why we feel it should be on top of everyone’s honeymoon destination wish list.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with staying in value hotels for less than $50 per day – and in Thailand, there’s no shortage of these value accommodations that let you stretch your vacation budget. The real value, however, is in finding the 5-star gems that go for less than $200 per night. It’s our honeymoon, afterall, and we wanted to live a little! We were lucky enough to stay in the Marriott Phuket Beach Club and The Hansar in Bangkok during our honeymoon – these hotels would easily go for $400-$500 per night in any major city in the US. Our villa at the Marriott came with our own private pool and our upgraded honeymoon suite at The Hansar came with an en suite soaking tub (yes, please!) Did we mention they had a scrumptious breakfast buffet and free happy hour at night? And these deals were easy enough to find. Take some time to compare all the online travel sites like Priceline, Travelocity, and Kayak – there are a lot of great bargains out there if you take the time to do the legwork. Pretty soon you’ll be at The Hansar’s rooftop pool taking an evening swim while overlooking the Bangkok skyline.
If you’ve ever ridden the subways in New York or the BART in San Francisco, you know the value of having a reliable public transportation system in a big city. Riding the Skytrain in Bangkok made exploring the city so easy. For about 1 US dollar, you can buy a round trip ticket on the Skytrain good until the last train at midnight. We printed out a map of the city with the nearest Skytrain stations for all the places we wanted to visit and went on our way. All the temples in Bangkok were a simple Skytrain ride away (and so were all the crazy malls and
markets!) We would have easily spent $50 a day on cab fares in Bangkok had we not used the Skytrain and it gave us the opportunity to gain a much richer experience exploring the city on foot.
The food in Thailand is unbelievable! The street food scene is alive and buzzing – every street corner you visit serves their own foodie specialty and you will wish you had a second stomach to eat it all. I thought all along that living in LA gave us some decent Thai food (and for the most part, that’s still true.) But having authentic street food in Bangkok, where you’re literally slurping freshly-made Pad Thai while bumping elbows with perfect strangers sitting at communal tables too small to accommodate the 10 people sitting around it and alternating turns adding spoonfuls of deadly-hot dried chilis to your plate, is one of the best food experiences in our lives. Did we mention that the world’s greatest plate of Pad Thai only costs $1.50? Add an ice cold bottle of Chang beer and your entire meal is right around $2. Man, that was some good eating!
Have you ever been so unbelievably overcome with wonder at looking at something so spectacular that your jaw literally drops to the floor? That pretty much sums up our experience island-hopping the Phi Phi Islands and Phang Nga Bay in Phuket. It was like stepping into the real life version of The Avatar (minus the Na’vis) We were so lucky to find Simba Tours who operate a small family-run speed boat excursion company in Phuket who specializes in small-sized tours of the islands. We snorkeled with schools of tropical fish, we jumped into natural pools, kayaked into narrow sea caves, and beached ourselves in small deserted islands in the middle of the Andaman Sea that made you feel like you have escaped the entire world.
The people in Thailand have a natural graciousness and welcoming quality about them. It was infectious and it was refreshing. The one person that embodied all the warmth and generosity that everyone extended to us is Chef Ton from Kin Dee in Mai Khao Beach. Chef Ton won the National Chef of the Year award in Thailand and is somewhat a local legend in Northern Phuket. After learning that Carlos got food poisoning from a dish we had at her restaurant, she went out of her way to bring us medicine at our hotel, check up on Carlos almost every hour until he was OK, and even gave us free cooking lessons! She felt horrible that we had a bad experience and she went out of her way to make it up to us and then some. If that’s not customer service, I don’t know what is. If we ever make it back to Phuket, we will definitely take the time to visit Chef Ton again!
There’s a reason they filmed the movie, The Beach, in Thailand. Beaches with powdery white sands looking out to emerald green and blue waters – amazing. Koh Phi Phi certainly did not disappoint. Lucky for us, we set out on our trip very early in the morning, before most speed boats and outrigger boats made it to the island. We got to explore the beach and the island uninterrupted before the swarms of other tourists made it to shore. It was pure heaven. The view coming into the island is something we will never ever forget.
There was never a dull moment in our honeymoon. It was relaxing and hectic. It was crowded and private.
And we loved every minute of it. Of all the places we’ve visited, Thailand is still the one place we always want to go back to. One of these days (maybe for our 10 year anniversary, perhaps?) we will hop on a plane and set off on another adventure in Thailand. I can’t wait!
Any other honeymoon destinations you would recommend?