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SEA Honeymoon - Feedback please!

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Hello Travelers - Fiance and I are planning our Honeymoon for February 2014 for 18 days total (including travel time). We are leaving from NYC (JFK) and we'd like to visit Bangkok, Cambodia, plus one beachy resort (either Krabi, Phi Phi, or Koh Samui). Might be helpful to note here that we will also be staying in Taipei for a couple of days (family visitation duties) but we can be flexible and either start or end with Taipei.

Can you guys please help me with the below -

1) Which beachy resort destination you would recommend (Krabi, Phi Phi, or Koh Samui - or feel free to recommend one you think is even better!) taking the February timing and honeymoon occasion into consideration? We would like a nice resort that is laid back, offers some activities nearby, great pool, close to a good beach, and not many children. Budget wise we'd like to stay within ~$200/night if possible.
2) Suggest an itinerary that makes the most sense? Should we fly into BKK and go directly to Cambodia first? Or start with the beach and work our way back to BKK after Cambodia?
3) Honest feedback - is the number of destinations we have on our list too aggressive? Should we stick with just Thailand (Bangkok and beach) and save Cambodia for a later trip? I'm not opposed to sticking with Thailand and maybe adding in Chiang Mai rather than go all the way to Cambodia if that makes more sense.

We definitely are more of the leisurely-type travelers so we are open to "sacrificing" a location if needed. I'd rather save up more days to dedicate enough time to a destination rather than hurry through.

We are newbies at this - I've never been to SEA before (fiance's been to Bangkok for a couple of days before) so I appreciate any feedback you can give! I know there are a lot of similar posts but none are exactly the feedback I was looking for so apologies in advance if this is a repetitive topic.

Thanks so much in advance!

-kp

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    I think the number of destinations is fine - I guess, depending on how many days you are required to visit family.

    Four to five nights in each destination works pretty well. I'd be inclined to recommend a beach on the Andaman Sea side - Krabi, Koh PhiPhi, or Koh Lak or Koh Lanta.

    Do get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples as preparation.

    Congrats and have a wonderful trip!

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    I would also say to select a beach on the Andaman at that time of year. The scenery at Krabi is awesome, but I can't name a particular resort that you might like there. If you would consider Khao Lak, then the J W Marriott is fabulous, IF it is within your budget. Mai Khao Beach area is also nice, and is about 15 minutes by taxi from the Phuket airport. I stayed at the Renaissance there, and it was very nice! Again, IF it fits into your budget.

    Three destinations, plus the family visit in Taipei, should be do-able. Bangkok is a fantastic city, so don't cut your time there too short. Lots to see and do!

    I think you will probably visit S E Asia again, as it is such a great vacation destination. Up to you if you save Cambodia for another time, and just head to Chiang Mai for a few days instead.

    Congratulations!

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    what you really have is a 14 or 15 day trip... plus don't forget jet lague, esp. if you have just finished with your wedding..

    personally I would hold off on Cambodia...

    I would spend a few unwinding days in bkk at a lux hotel with a great pool (anantara riverside, peninsula, royal orchid Sheraton, chatrium riverside, Shangri-La---all hotels on the river---or intown hotels: four seasons, Conrad, renaissance, plaza anthanee, hyatt, or tons of others).

    then I would go to the beach for up to 7 nights (jw Marriott at khao lak is my fav)... hyatt hua hin... meridian either Phuket or khao lak... Sheraton krabi... renaissance koh samui).

    and finally I would return to a different hotel in bkk for a few days---maybe finish off at the peninsula..

    there is tons to do in bkk and very good food of all sorts, plus fabulous shopping.

    hire a driver for a day or two take you to some sites outside bkk---I like tong and rat who are often talked about here..

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    We are leaving July 1 for a similar trip. 21 days, *including* jet lag, travel days, etc.

    We normally stay in one place for a while when we travel in order to not feel rushed and to immerse ourselves in the culture. For the first time, we are not doing that, and I hope we don't regret it, but part of the reason is that we are taking advantage of a one-time opportunity to travel by ourselves without our kids and want to maximize the time.

    So...this is what we have chosen, along with a couple reasons why:

    (Itinerary is set....please no advice or recommendations to change itinerary or length of stay in any one place, thanks ;)

    BKK - 3 full days which will include recovering from jet lag. The main difference in your trip and ours will be the weather. We will be dealing with very hot temps (90-100+) and humidity and rainstorms. We will tour the city and do a market another day, but unfortunately it will be too short to risk a nice day trip, not knowing how we'll fare with the jet lag and weather sensitivities. Excited we can be there, but also feel we are cutting ourselves short. I could easily imagine staying there *much* longer and experiencing much more in the city, as well as day trips.

    Chiang Mai and outskirts 5 days

    planning on trekking one day
    elephants one day
    cooking class
    sightseeing in the city

    Hanoi 2 days, Halong Bay 2 days, back to Hanoi for one day. (Chose Vietnam over Cambodia or Laos mainly because of Halong Bay, but we could have easily chosen the others and hope to go back "next time.")

    remember, travel days (even if only 2-3 hour flight) often take up most or part of the day, so that reduces your play days as well

    Fly to Bali, via Kuala Lumpur short layover. arrive in eve, stay in inexpensive hotel before.....

    Ferrying over to Lombok for our 4-night splurge in a luxurious 5-star resort (Tugu Lombok.) Celebrating 17 years of marriage (watch out....it'll go fast :)

    Fly to Singapore, spend 30 hours eating at Hawker Centers and exploring the in the city I love before flying back to US.

    Total days: 22 (21 nights)
    minus flight/travel days (partial travel days counted as whole)= about 16-17 play days (although the traveling part is fun too and is great down-time to blog, organize pictures, or just look at each other. Yes, don't forget to do that too :)

    Like I said, this is more traveling around than we normally do and rather than delving in as much as we'd like, we'll be skimming the top. Different experience, but we're very excited. Hope you find the right balance for *you.* I like that you're not afraid to give up a location, but at the same time, if you make a decision, go into it eyes wide open and knowing the possible limitations, you'll do great.

    One other thing I'd like to mention, also to remind myself of it, is that there may very well be things that don't work out or get messed up. Airline delays, whatever. These experiences can actually add to the memories and make the trip even more special. Being stranded for 17 hrs and being de-planed twice at LAX for our honeymoon wasn't great, but we laughed about having to eat at McDonalds a couple times and did some great people watching. Nice opportunity to relax and just take each other in and be forced to slow down, process the wedding festivities of the last couple days, and make the best of a situation we had absolutely no control over.

    Whatever you choose, enjoy, be in the moment, and breathe deeply and enjoy your new spouse. Congratulations.

    Stephanie
    ps. After exhaustive research, we are looking forward to the Chatrium Riverside hotel in BKK...booked through Agoda for under $100/night total with taxes, no breakfast. Priorities were price, location, and getting a good BKK vibe with a river view. Pool deck seems overlooks river as well :)

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    Wow!! This is awesome feedback, everyone! Thanks so much. We will definitely check out the JW Marriott because it got so many recommendations - sounds like it is worth the splurge!

    Our trip will probably consist of 3-4 days in Bangkok and we'll take rhkkmk's advice to just chill and relax at a luxe hotel and venture out with a tour guide to check out the city. Then, we'll head to Chiang Mai and we want to check out a smaller, more boutiquey hotel in this area. Then, spend the rest of our trip at a beach on the Andaman side since that's what many of you also recommended. Wish we can spend much more time there but I'm sure we'll go back to SEA in the future!

    Stephanie - hope you have a great trip as well, congratulations on your 17 year wedding anniversary! And yes, your advice about anticipating things going wrong is very wise, we'll definitely just be enjoying each other's company and you are absolutely right! Unforeseen issues just make for better stories in the long run.

    Thanks everyone for your input, I'll be updating with my experiences, photos after we take our honeymoon, so look out for that!

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