My fiancée and I are very into food and wine. We kind of blew our budget on our actual wedding – any suggestions for budget-friendly food and wine honeymoons?
Weddings can get expensive – and leave little extra for a honeymoon afterwards – but budget-conscious newlyweds still have some great options. The best bet among our food and wine destinations is South America – the dollar is still strong there and you can really stretch your money to go further than it might in, for example, New Zealand or South Africa, which also have well known wine regions. In South America, I recommend that you head to Argentina. You could spend a few nights in Buenos Aires enjoying the great food and then go to the Mendoza wine region to visit the many wineries. If time (and your budget) permits, you could conclude in nearby Uruguay or head back to Buenos Aires. Additionally, Argentina is famous for the romantic tango dance that originated here so don’t miss one of the popular tango shows during your stay in Buenos Aires. It’s a favorite with honeymooners!
Our honeymoon will be at the end of April. My wife likes wildlife and beaches and we both like luxury. We also considered India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. What do you suggest?
India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives might not offer ideal weather in late April but they do offer wonderful wildlife-viewing as well as absolutely gorgeous beaches. I’m not sure if you have considered Bali or a combination of South Africa and Mauritius but those would also be great options for your interests and the time of year you are going. Bali has lovely beaches and beautiful weather year-round. Though it is not as much about the wildlife (lots of monkeys, though!), they do have plenty of activities for more adventurous travelers, like whitewater rafting and mountain-biking down an active volcano. South Africa offers a more traditional wildlife viewing experience that you can follow with time on the beaches in either Mauritius or Mozambique.
We are going on our honeymoon in July (Java and Bali) and are looking for good accommodation close to Jakarta. We want to spend the first days relaxing in a nice resort with swimming pool. Any suggestions?
To answer your question, your best bet in Jakarta is the Grand Hyatt – that is where we put our clients. Ideally, however, we recommend that you skip Jakarta entirely. It’s a fairly charmless city and there are many other great places in Indonesia that you will want to focus on. Would it be possible for you to change your ticket to fly into Denpasar, Bali, instead? That way, you could make an easy hop over to Java to see Borobudur and do some exploring but it would allow you to skip Jakarta entirely. My recommendation would be to try to switch your flight to go into and out of Bali and, if that is impossible, spend your first night at the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta and then head to Java and Bali right away.
We are planning our November honeymoon and have decided to go to Thailand but are debating where to go within Thailand. Bangkok and Phuket were my original choices, but my fiancee is more interested in seeing things on the path less beaten. What do you recommend?
Well, I think it would be a shame to travel so far and only see Bangkok and Phuket. Bangkok is a lively, exciting city and Phuket has gorgeous beaches but I agree with your wife that your honeymoon would benefit from a cultural element. I recommend visiting either Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, both located in the north. Chiang Mai is larger than Chiang Rai, but there is much to see and do in each city – in Chiang Mai, the touring is more focused on temples and museums while in Chiang Rai, it is geared more towards nature and outdoor activities like elephant rides (but also has plenty of museums, temples, and other cultural activities for those who want that). Both are a quick plane trip from Bangkok and have great luxury hotels: in Chiang Mai, the Four Seasons and the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi are the best and in Chiang Rai, I recommend the Anantara Golden Triangle. Three nights in either of these cities would be perfect. You could spend two nights in Bangkok, head to Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai for three or four nights, and then spend as long as you like on the beaches of Phuket!
One last idea: if you want to see one of the most amazing sites in the world, head to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It is also just a quick flight from Bangkok but is well worth the trip. Gorgeous Khmer temples and some top notch hotels (Amansara, the Raffles Grand, etc.) make it a great side trip from Thailand.