Thailand is an ideal destination for a romantic holiday. You can start with a three -day stay in the North, (Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai for example), and/or finish with a two day stay in Bangkok. Beside the amazing beaches, it is a great place for shopping, culture, nature and nightlife.
There are all kinds of beach resorts and accommodations in Thailand. Your choice will depend on your budget and how isolated you want to be from the rest of the world. Weather (and rain showers) is also an important variable: If you are traveling from May to September, stay in Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, or Koh Tao, from November to January choose Phuket, Krabi, Koh Lanta or Koh Phi Phi, in October choose Koh Samet or Hua Hin. Rest of the year is fine everywhere.
If possible, try to stay in two islands or two different locations.
You could stay a few nights in Koh Samui and then a few nights in Koh Phangan. Koh Samui is a large island with an international airport (and hospital). It’s a good start for your holiday as you will land there. Spend a few days, do some shopping, try different restaurants and then take the ferry to Koh Phagan or Koh Tao. Koh Phangan is famous for its wild parties (Full Moon,Half moon, Blackmoon, etc.) which is something you will want to run away from or run quickly to according to your age mostly. It’s also more authentic, wilder and less touristy than Koh Samui. The beaches are breathtaking: you will feel very close to paradise.
There are few luxurious hotels on Koh Phangan as it’s mostly for young backpackers, but here are a few recommendations: Santhiya http://www.santhiya.com/kohphangan and Rasananda (http://phangan-rasananda.anantara.com/)
Koh Tao is a small island reachable by ferry from Koh Samui. Less touristy than Koh Samui, wilder and more intimate, it is especially recommended for divers.
Another option if you want two different atmospheres: combine Krabi with Koh Lanta or with Koh Phi Phi. Krabi is not an island but you won’t notice the difference. There is an international airport. It’s wilder, and overall nicer than Koh Samui. There are three main beach areas Railay, Ao Nang, and Tubkaek. Railay beach is stunning. If you can afford it, stay at the Rayavadee (the only luxury hotel there). There are more luxurious options in Ao Nang and Tubkaek.
Take a ferry or speed boat to Koh Phiphi or Koh Lanta. Both are beautiful small islands. Check the Zeavola hotel and the Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort on Koh Phiphi, and the Pimalai and Lanta resort on Koh Lanta.
You will need to take a ferry (or private speed boat) to reach the smaller islands, and therefore night transfers may not be available. Last ferry could be at 16:00. This is important if your flight lands in the afternoon or evening.
If you are staying in more than one hotel, always finish your holiday with a “wow”, with the most luxurious one.
Since you are not traveling alone, make sure you are on the same wavelength with your partner regarding these essential issues: budget and type of holiday.
Budget: you know that your trip will end up costing more than you had planned. That’s how it works with budgets. Still, you have to have a ballpark figure in mind. If you can afford to pay around $1,000 per ticket, you can consider a far- away destination. Europe if you are located in the US, Asia if you are in Europe, etc. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll have to compromise between length of the trip and standard of hotel(s). Some people will prefer to stay a few nights in a 5* deluxe hotel and pay $1000 per night, while others will find this totally ridiculous and will choose to stay in cheaper hotels but for a longer period of time.
Type of holiday. Do you like nature, shopping, resting on the beach, walking? How important is the night life? Would you rather stay in one place or wander around the country? Would you like to be isolated? Would you rather stay in a quiet or a lively place? Answers to these questions will help you determine the type of holiday that will most suit you.
A few rules of thumb.
Isolated location => difficult to reach => more time spent on the journey to the hotel => more expensive => older people => no nightlife.
Of course there are exceptions but they are hard to find. Another rule to keep in mind: “you get what you pay for”. It is very difficult to find 5* hotels for the price of 3*. Not saying it’s impossible, just saying “good luck finding them”.
Beach Holiday- overview
French people say “To do the pancake” meaning to fry on one side and then to fry on the other side. In other words: to do nothing on the Beach. A beautiful white sand beach with turquoise sea is the typical image used to represent honeymoon. And it is an ideal type of holiday for two. There are many beautiful beach destinations but since my knowledge is limited and since I want to help you make a choice I have picked a few destinations. The following posts will each focus on an area or country famous for its beachside: Thailand, Maldives, Tahiti, Bali, Greek islands, Spanish Islands, South of France, Zanzibar, Hawaii, Mauritius, Seychelles, some Caribbean islands, Brazil.
Keep in mind that
– The further away you travel the more time you waste on the journey. There can be a difference of up to 4 days between the gross and the net length of your trip.
– Some destinations are expensive to reach but relatively cheap to stay (Thailand, Philippines, India).
– Some beach resorts are far from a main city/airport. You may not be able to get there on your arrival day. Check if night transfer is available, or at what time the last ferry leaves.
– Food on isolated beach resorts is usually expensive because of the transportation costs, and because of the lack of competition (restaurants nearby) example: Maldives. You should choose the Full board meal plan if it’s available, or All-inclusive meal plan if you enjoy alcoholic drinks (not worth it if you don’t drink). You also may want to pack some of your favorite snacks, just because they will probably be expensive/unavailable/nice to have.
– Do not expect wild nightlife in high-end or isolated beach resorts. If it’s important for you, pick your destination or hotel accordingly.
– If possible finish your beach holiday with two days in a large city, to do some shopping, visit and overall have the satisfaction that you did not get that far away just to lie down on a beach.
– If you’re staying in a large All Inclusive resort (in Mexico for example) pick a resort or an area in the resort that is adults only. You left your kids at home, you don’t need to suffer from other people’s.
Honeymoon, Babymoon, Parentmoon: it’s always a good time to travel with your partner. Where to? Why? How long? How much? I hope I’ll help you answer these questions. Unfortunately I can’t help answer the “with whom” question. There are other sites for that.
Honeymoon: Indulge. It will probably be your only truly beautiful holiday. (Although many of you might have a second honeymoon, which in my opinion is a fair enough reason to get a divorce). The length of your honeymoon will mainly depend on your budget (as will be any wedding-related decision). The destination will depend on the kind of holiday you are looking for: do nothing on the beach, visit and learn, trek, eat and party, safari, etc. This is something I will discuss in upcoming posts.
Babymoon: Stay safe. You are pregnant. Avoid areas where vaccination is compulsory or that are difficult to reach. The destination you chose depends on the type of person you are. I’ve had clients who went to the Maldives for their babymoon, and others who stayed in a one-hour drive perimeter from their doctor. (If you do choose the Maldives, make sure the resort is close enough to Male, the capital, that it can be reached by speedboat day or night and not by sea plane only during daytime in good weather conditions.)
Parentmoon: Disconnect and re-bond. Leave your children at home and run away with your partner. The length of your parentmoon is proportional to the quality of your babysitter. Example: if your children are staying with your (loving, sweet, patient, and retired) parents, your parentmoon can last up to a week. If they are staying with your in-laws, it cannot last more than four days (kidding!). Length and destination of your parentmoon are less important than wifi access. Pick a place with no wifi! Do not skype or WhatsApp your children: they are doing fine, otherwise you would have been informed.
And now, my personal favorite one: the O2moon. When you feel you’re drowning and in desperate need of oxygen. Let’s say you have four children (enough said, you got the picture.) This is the easiest and most difficult kind of holiday. Easy because any hotel, B&B, empty friend’s apartment will do. Anywhere. Difficult because if you could leave children/work/stress behind for even one night, you would not be in this hysterical need of rest.