A co-worker of mine recently asked me what I thought about Thailand for a honeymoon destination, as an alternative to the typical American Caribbean vacation. I told him Thailand is one of my all-time favorite countries so OF COURSE I would recommend it for a honeymoon.
Thailand will expose you to a new culture, new food, relaxing beaches, jungle adventures, and nightlife. What more could you want in a well-rounded honeymoon?
To help him structure his trip, I recommended focusing on three general themes:
1. Beaches and Islands
- Phuket – A very popular beach resort area. Knownfor shenanigans and some of the seedier things Thailand offers. That said, tous it just felt like Vegas but with more Asians. If you go here, I would recommend staying near Karon Beach. It’s a nicer beachthan Patong (the main one in Phuket) and much quieter.
- Koh Phi Phi – where The Beach was filmed. Verypretty, but a bit overrated in my opinion. We visited this island as part of a daytrip, and I’ve heard that there are extended trips you can do this island and that it’s a great place to stay overnight. If you plan to visit this island, I recommend either splurging on going with a higher end day tour that will have you visiting bright and early in the morning to beat the crowd, OR invest a few days there to explore the more remote areas.
- Koh Tao – this is where I got my scubacertification. It’s the cheapest place in the world to get PADI certified ($300
for the diving course, includes accommodation at the dive resort). This is a
resort haven for young people and back packer types.
- Koh Phangan – this is home of the famous Full
Moon party, which happens monthly during the full moon (obviously). We didn’t
go, but I’ve heard it’s pretty wild so depending on your style you will either
want to flock there or avoid at all costs.
- Koh Samui – another very popular resort island,
larger than Koh Tao. Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui are all along the same
ferry route so if you want to island hop a bit, you can do so fairly easily.
- Krabi is also very popular- I haven’t been but
I’ve heard good things.
- My blog post on diving in Koh Tao
- My blog post on Phuket
2. Chiang Mai and the North
- Chiang Main is in northern Thailand and and is the second
largest city in the country. It is considerably smaller than Bangkok and has a
great relaxed vibe.
- If you get this far north, you MUST spend a day
(at least) at the Elephant Nature Park. I volunteered there for a week last
year and loved it. The founder rescues abused/injured elephants who previously
worked in either the tourism industry giving rides to humans, or in the logging
industry (basically being used as livestock).
- Whatever you do, though, wherever you are in
Thailand, do NOT ride elephants. It is a hugely popular tourist attraction but
the “training” the elephants go through to give rides is, frankly, abuse
(whippings, lashings, literally being beaten). And this goes with any kind of
animal tourism in Thailand in general (another example is the Tiger Kingdom in
Phuket- where they drug tigers so people can cuddle with them).
- If you want to experience more culture of the local hill tribes, you can also arrange community treks that will take you through several villages over a few days.
- My blog post on Chiang Mai and the elephant
- The tourist ferry that goes up and down the
river is the best way to get around. It’s cheap, stops at all the major
temples/tourist sites, and gets you out of the craziness of the city. Check out
for info, and whatever you do, don’t fall for the overpriced boats trying to
get tourists with the promise of a guided boat tour. The only company you want
to go with is the one linked above- anything else is basically a scam
- Visit the temples, they really are cool to see.
Wat Arun was my favorite. By the way, “wat” means temple.
- My blog post on Bangkok
- Getting around Thailand is pretty easy. Bangkok Airways is
very cheap and can take you anywhere in Thailand. We flew them a few times and
had great experiences with this company.
- Hotels are cheap- in Phuket we stayed at the Bamboo Beach
Hotel and Spa for $16 a night. Rooms were decent, basic (think 2 star hotel in
the states), but the swimming pool was spectacular, they have a bar and
restaurant onsite with very friendly staff, and the location is out of the
craziness of Patong Beach area. That said, it’s not
beach front, and you can probably find something
RIDICULOUSLY nice for like $80/night and it’d still be cheap by our standards.
Most hotels that aren’t beach front do offer a free shuttle to Patong Beach,
though I know that there are some resorts with private beaches and that would
probably be worth it.
- Alternatively, if you know how to ride a scooter or a
motorbike, you can rent one for crazy cheap ($6/day) and get around to all the
beaches that way. If you aren’t experienced on a motorbike though, I wouldn’t
recommend it since a lot of tourists hurt themselves this way.