I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
– Mary Anne Radmacher Hershey
More ideas for an Asian honeymoon, in places that are just as beautiful, but slightly less well known than my top 10.
Oman is trying to gain some of the fame and fortune of its neigbour the U.A.E. (think Dubai!) A friend of mine lived in Oman for a while, and told me she thinks it is a shame that the country is trying to become a Dubai-a-like, because Dubai was purpose built in the desert and Oman is lovely and traditional. There is a lot to do in Oman; jeep excursions, sailing, traditional Arab markets, and mountains in the south. The Omani people are friendly and welcoming, but you need to be aware that Oman is a traditional Muslim country, so, unless you are in your hotel complex, knees and shoulders should always be covered as a sign of respect – even if you are told “It doesn’t count because you are not Muslim.” Head to Oman for a Middle-Eastern getaway that is still traditional and relatively new to the tourist trade.
Vietman offers some of the most diverse landscapes known to man. Stop in Saigon (the old name is becoming more commonplace, and is interchangeable with Ho Chi Minh City) for the markets, the insane traffic, and the weird fusion of French and Vietnamese. Head to the Mekong Delta for a spot of ‘crocodile fishing’ (you don’t get to catch and keep the crocodiles, it’s more feeding them), traditional industries and river cruises. Head to the Cu Chi Tunnels to gain some perspective on the war. Or go north to Hanoi for museums, temples and parks; and head to Halong Bay for a breathtaking, alien landscape. In other words, head to Vietman for a varied, wild, unusual honeymoon.
Nepal is probably most famous for its mountains. The mountainous north offers 8 of the 10 highest mountains in the world – including Mount Everest, so if you are into mountain climbing, there isn’t really anywhere else to go! Travel to the southern regions however, and instead of snow-capped peaks, you can take a jungle safari tour. Head on honeymoon to Nepal if you are into extreme mountain climbing, or want somewhere with low tourism, but fantastic tourist activities!
The land where Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product. The peoples of Bhutan pride themselves on an ecofriendly and sustainable approach to tourism. There is a myth that Bhutan has a limit on the number of tourists to enter the country each year – this is not true. However, there is a ‘visitor tariff’ of around $250 a day. This sounds expensive, but the tariff is an all-inclusive fee, and includes accommodation, food and an official guide. Bhutan truly is the last forgotten paradise, and your tourism fee will be helping to bring the ancient country into the modern world, whilst unwaveringly maintaining its distinct cultural identity. Head to Bhutan for that Shangri-La experience.
Often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbours, the landlocked nation of Laos retains its old-fashioned, welcoming charm. Laos still allows westerners to feel as though they are treading where few have tread before. Make sure you head for Van Vieng and tube down the river, make sure you try the local food – spicy and herby, it has its own distinct flavours; and definitely visit That Luang, the most important religious building in Laos. Head to Laos if you want that ‘Asian-backpacking’ feel without the swarms of backpackers.
Famed for its orangutan population, why not head to Borneo for a volunteering honeymoon? Care for the animals and help to spread the word of orangutan conservation. Alongside the great apes, Borneo offers mountain lodges, and beach resorts. Confusingly, Borneo is the name of the island, which is shared between three countires – Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. Most visited are the two Malaysian provinces of Sabah and Sarawak. Head to Borneo for diving, mountains and orangutans.
Stay in a Yurt in Mongolia
Ever considered just getting away from it all? You can’t get much more remote than Mongolia. A yurt (also called a Ger or Yurta) is a traditional Mongolian family communal tent. Several tour companies offer stays in traditional style yurts – usually together in tourist camps; offering flushing toilets, electricity and restaurants. If you are interested in this type of trip for your honeymoon, then make sure you book with a reputable company, as these help with the sustainability of the countryside, and offer legal places to stay. Head to a Mongolian Yurt if you want to get away from everything and don’t mind roughing it a little.
Believed to have been built around 300BC, the treasury at Petra remain unknown to the western world until 1812. Since this time, it has become the most visited site in Jordan. And who wouldn’t want to visit this astonishing monument cut into a cliff face? But Petra offers more, tombs, temples and monasteries. If you are interested in seeing Petra, you are best off staying at one of the major resorts by either the Red Sea or the Dead Sea. Head to Jordan for everything unusual!
Turkey is a great country, but the best of this land is away from the beach resorts. Cappadocia is one such gem. This site has been inhabited since the 6th Century BC. Head to Göreme to stay in one of the many cave hotels. Eat traditional Turkish food. Experience the most bizarre natural rock formations you will probably ever see. And if you have a chance, take a trip in a hot air balloon over this inconceivable landscape. Head to Cappadocia for bizarre at its best, and fantastic food!
This is something that Sam and I would love to do. The issue being that you do need a few weeks to fully appreciate it (I think 5 is about right) Begin in Moscow, see the sites, then hop on board the train: this is your new hotel room. Travel overland through Russia, and then choose which route suits you best. The original Trans-Siberian route takes you from Moscow to Vladivostok (or vice versa) but today, you can head from Moscow to/through Mongolia and into Beijing, China.
Personally, I love trains, over-night ones are fantastic – you get your transport and hotel in one. And there are always like-minded travellers to meet en-route. To travel to Beijing or Vladivostok non-stop takes about 7 days, but, I’m pretty certain you would want to get off to investigate one or all of the many stops along your route. Head for a honeymoon on the Trans-Siberian Railway for the journey of a lifetime.
Have I missed your perfect honeymoon destination?