Asia Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

3 week Honeymoon in SE Asia

Jump to last reply

After reading multiple forum discussions, I decided to write a message to ask all the questions I have conjured up. Here is my story...

My fiance and I are booking a trip to SE Asia from June 10 - June 30, 2013. We don't get away a lot so we are planning to take advantage of the 3 weeks we have off (i.e. jumping around a lot from country to country). I have been dying to go to SE Asia and have started looking into countries we can visit. Right now I have come down to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and have actually eliminated Cambodia from the trip. I know this might sound unsophisticated but I love experiencing the culture and I feel as though I might get templed out - so a trip to Cambodia might not be necessary. Is this a bad idea? I have heard amazing things about Angkor Wat but is it worth eliminating parts of Vietnam? We have also decided to eliminate Bangkok - we live in New York and all I want to do is get away from the big city hussel & bussel. I have read posts from Kathie who loves Bangkok and doesn't love Chiang Mai - is this something you would go against?

Here is the trip we have started to sketch out:

Fly into Chiang Mai and stay at the Four Seasons which will be our big splurge of the trip. Then we plan on going to Laung Prabang, Laos. After that, we are looking to go to Hanoi, Vietnam for a day which will be a launching point to take the train up to Sapa. I visited a friend in Bali a couple of years ago and fell in love with Ubud. I am hoping Sapa is a similar experience. After, we plan on going on a 3 day cruise on the Halong Bay. Not really sure how much longer we have at this point but we then are deciding whether to go down to the south of Vietnam or go for a relaxing couple of days on the beach at Koh Samui. Any suggestions about how long to spend in each place would be really helpful.

Here are my big questions:

#1 - What do you think about going to SE Asia in June during the wet season? Our wedding is in June and we want to depart shortly after the wedding.

#2 - How should we get to Laos? I have heard wonderful things about Mekong River boat. Did anyone feel stranded or bored on the boat? I love boating but I am not sure I could sit still for 2 days. Was it a lot of the same or was it relaxing? Would you do it again?

#3 - Any hotel recommendations in Laung Prabang that are nice but won't break the bank?

#4 - Any hotel or experience recommendations in Sapa? How was the train experience up to Sapa?

#5 - Has anyone heard of a nice cruise in Halong Bay to take? I have heard the Au Co is nice but is there another good cruise company that isn't as expensive?

Any other suggestions would be really helpful! Thank you!

  • Report Abuse

    Please, don't worry about whether I approve of your plans - worry about whether the plans suit the two of you! It's your honeymoon, after all.

    I am a certifiable temple fanatic, so the idea of skipping Angkor would never occur to me, but if you aren't into temples, don't go to Angkor. You will see plenty of temples elsewhere on your trip.

    I'd also say that you are going to the Four Seasons outside of Chiang Mai, not to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai itself is an ugly, sprawling city with bad air. There are some lovely places outside of CM. While it will, no doubt, be hard to tear yourselves away from the Four Seasons, do go visit Doi Suthep. I recommend an early morning visit.

    I haven't taken the LuangSay down the river to Luang Prabang, but have heard it's very nice. But if you feel like sitting still for two days on the boat will be too much for you, fly. I believe there is a Lao Air flight between Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang.

    Oddly enough, you are opting for a three-day, two night cruise on Halong Bay and aren't worried about sitting still there. Note that river cruises give you a real glimpse into the life along the river. The Halong Bay cruise may have more risk of boredom for you. We are all differnt. Some people have felt that the two night cruise on Halong Bay was a waste of their time, as it was simply two one night cruises back to back. Someone here mentioned finding a two night cruise that offered more variety. There are zillions of companies offering Halong bay cruises. I expect your thread will attract spam from a number of them.

    Do spend some time in Hanoi itself. It still has a lot of its history intact, from the Temple of Literature (not a temple) to the broad, tree-lines streets laid out by the French.

    Sapa is very different from Ubud. The people who have liked Sapa the most are those who have gotten out in the countryside and walked.

    It is a wonderful luxury to have three weeks to explore SE Asia. Right now you have Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, Halong Bay, Sapa and Hanoi on your itinerary. While you could add one more stop, whether in south VN or at Koh Samui, remember that each stop you make adds more transit time. You want to maximize your time in the places you want to visit and minimize your time in airports, on highways, etc. Both Sapa and Halong Bay add a lot of transit time.

    Have a wonderful trip!

  • Report Abuse

    I think skipping Cambodia is fine esp for a honeymoon. The temples are fascinating, but easy to get templed out. I feel very differently about Chiang Mai - I loved it and thought it a charming small town.

    I did not find the train from Sapa to Hanoi all that comfortable, but many others have no problem with it.

    I have done both a Halong Bay junk tour for 1 night/2 days and the Luang Say boat from Luang Prabang to Houey Sai, Laos across from Chiang Khong, Thailand. The Halong bay trip has lots more activity in the short time you are on the bay. I can't speak to two nights/3 days on it. But the scenery is spectacular - much nicer than what one sees on the Luang Sai ride. For Halong Bay we went on the Dragon Pearl and it was very nice. Can't speak to the price versus the one you mention. We had honeymooners on our boat and they were loving the trip. The big downside is the long, rather boring drive to and from Hanoi. It's a good three hours each way.

    On Luang Sai the trip you make 2 stops on the first day and one stop on the second day. I actually found 1 of the stops at a villages rather depressing --incredibly poor, more so than I have seen in many places. It is interesting, but there is a LOT of down time just sitting n the boat -- sometimes with very nice scenery and others not so much. The boat trip is rather expensive also. A quote from my TR
    "I’d also recommend that anybody taking this trip do it downriver from Houei Sai to Luang Prabang; You’ll see the same sights in all their glory and tedium - but you’ll see them at a much brisker pace."

    Check out my very long TR which covers all the places you plan to go. U can easily skim thru it to find the places that interest you. It gives a fair amount of description that may help you get a better idea.
    http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/our-seasia-odyssey.cfm

    Have a wonderful honeymoon!

  • Report Abuse

    Wow, I am excited for you that you have 3 weeks to spend on your honeymoon in SE Asia. I can appreciate that you want to get away from a big city experience. In answer to your specific questions:
    1. Don't worry about going during the wet season. It will rain and it will be hot but it will not rain very long when it does.
    2. If it was my honeymoon, I would fly to Laos - no hassles.
    3. We stayed at the Maison Souvannnaphoum Hotel which is mid-range and centrally located in LP. If you can afford to stay in one of the suites, they are nice.
    4. Sapa is nothing like Bali but it is an experience in itself. Great hiking, villages, etc. We actually stayed in the outskirts away from town at Topas Ecolodge, which was reasonable in cost, but basic in many ways. It is worth visiting one of the big markets in the area while you are there. The train ride consumes a couple of nights and is not a highlight by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is the most efficient way to get there. To make it worth the trip, you need to stay in Sapa 2 or 3 nights.
    5. There are lots of cruises on Halong Bay in all price ranges. There is not enough to do to recommend any more than 1 night (2 days) however.

    If it were me and I had 3 weeks but wanted to avoid the big cities for the most part, I would fly into Bangkok and use that as a base for the most appealing of the following: northern Thailand (north of Chiang Rai), Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) Cambodia, Luang Prabang (Laos), Hanoi/Halong Bay/Sapa. You can't do all of these in 3 weeks. Hanoi/Halong Bay/Sapa might take 12 days. You could spend 3 or 4 days in LP. Angkor is worth 3 full days. Northern Thailand another 3. Travel time is another consideration - often it can eat up a full day.

    Think this through and post back with questions.

  • Report Abuse

    i do not like CM either and am not partial to halong bay either...

    bkk is totally different from nyc, but it is a busy city..

    hanoi deserves a couple of days..

    i like june in SEA..

    i would not go to angkor on my honeymoon either..

    don't forget about jet lague when you first arrive..

    look at the jw marriott in khao lak for your beach time

  • Report Abuse

    You must start somewhere with things to eliminate, so no need to apologize for eliminating Bangkok, and Angkor Wat. I didn't care for BKK either, though did enjoy the things we did outside of the city while staying there.

    We stayed on the Red Dragon with Indochina Junks on Halong Bay and absolutely loved it!! I believe the Dragon Pearl mentioned by the previous poster is also with Indochina Junks. Red Dragon is just a smaller boat. Yes, the 3 hour drive from Hanoi is a bit of a drudge, but once on the boat all is forgiven as I truly felt as though I was in another time and place - I think ideal for a honeymoon. We were there in Dec. when weather wasn't ideal for water activities so only did the 1 night trip. However,if I was there when weather was good I would definitely consider the 2 night trip, if you enjoy kayaking, and swimming in the water. This is not just a trip where you sit on the boat and watch the scenery go by.

    Here is a link to my trip report from Halong Bay along with pictures: http://www.fromhometoroam.com/2012/08/hanoi-and-halong-bay/

  • Comment has been removed by Fodor's moderators

6 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement: Writers Needed for Morocco Guidebook
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Apr 11, 14 at 05:51 PM
View all Asia activity »
  1. 1 Help ! How bad is the rain in Bangkok early/mid September? Thanks
  2. 2 Trip Report DENTAL IMPLANT
  3. 3 Trip Report April in Bangkok, again!
  4. 4 3 1/2 week trip to Japan advise please!
  5. 5 driver&business assitant&guide in Shanghai
  6. 6 Trip Report Karen and Tom - a romantic Vietnam getaway: ENGAGED!!!
  7. 7 Getting down to details and welcome advice: Tokyo
  8. 8 Haneda to Narita Layover : Need advice
  9. 9 Japan night bus
  10. 10 Recs for Tokyo hotels
  11. 11 Living in Singapore Questions
  12. 12 Thailand - Koh Samui vs Koh Tao
  13. 13 Hua Hin or another family friendly beach?
  14. 14 Trip Report Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Luang Say, Chiang Rai, Singapore (but no Siem Reap)
  15. 15 Help..Want to hire a guide/driver for Golden Triangle
  16. 16 12 day split between Beijing and Shanghai
  17. 17 Please help me plan 3.5 weeks in South Korea
  18. 18 Problems at 12,000'
  19. 19 GOING TO SE ASIA , NEED HELP
  20. 20 Sixteen Day in South Korea
  21. 21 osaka to kobe frrom ship to ship
  22. 22 Spring trip to Tokyo and Kyoto -10 days
  23. 23 Best Time of Year to Visit Ko Samui/Krabi (Weather)
  24. 24 Which Putu in Bali????
  25. 25 Biting the India bullet...well, maybe...
View next 25 » Back to the top