Honeymoon in Thailand & .....?

Feb 8th, 2012, 05:10 PM
  #1  
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Honeymoon in Thailand & .....?

My fiance and I are planning on a 2 week honeymoon in September. After hearing so many great things about Thailand, we have decided to go to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and a beach destination to be determined. Does anyone have a recommendation of a great beach destination in Thailand in September? Also, since this will most likely be our only trip to Southeast Asia (although hopefully not!), my fiance wanted to add another country into the mix. We are looking for a mix between relaxing beach and adventures (historical sites, shopping, kayaking, hiking, seeing animals etc.). Top on our list right now (although we don't have specifics on exactly what cities so any help on that would be greatly appreciated!) are Vietnam, Bali, and Malaysia.

Any help on suggestions of cities and beaches would be greatly appreciated! Also, I know we are trying to pack a lot into 2 weeks, but if you have any suggestions on the number of days we should stay in each place, that would be really helpful as well!

We really appreciate the help in making this a truly unforgettable honeymoon!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 06:08 PM
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September is not a great time for beaches in Thailand. All of the beach areas will be rather rainy. If the rain doesn't bother you, you can visit a beach and stay in a gorgeous resort for a great price since it's off season.

Bali would have better weather.

I'd highly recommend that you optimize your time in SE Asia by concentrating on a few places. This is an area of the world best savored slowly.

Ideas for your time: Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Angkor Wat in Cambodia would be a good combination for two weeks if you opt not to go to a rainy Thai beach.

Bali and a side trip to Central Java with a stopover in Singapore would be another option.

I'd say that the minimum time to stay in each place is 3 or 4 nights. Otherwise, you'll spend too much of your time in transit. Also, choose places that are relatively close together so that you don't have a lot of flight time between locations.

I know it's tempting to think of this as your only trip to this part of the world, so you have to see it all. In trying to see it all, you'll experience none of it. If you take your time and really experience it, you'll be back.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 08:16 PM
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Thanks very much for the ideas! We’re definitely visiting Thailand and in addition to Bangkok, plan on visiting the Northern part of the country for rock climbing, rafting, hiking, etc. As for beaches–Malaysia’s beaches, esp. Tanjung Rhu, look beautiful and are closer/cheaper than Bali. Would you recommend Bali over Malaysia regardless? And do you think a breakdown of, say, 6-7 days in Thailand and 4-5 days in Bali/Malaysia/whatever beachy place we decide to visit makes sense? Finally – which of the beachy places would you say has the most to offer (cultural/shopping/etc-wise) beyond just beaches?

Thanks again!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 09:37 PM
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Southeast Asia is a big place and even though it's tempting to try to cover a lot, in two weeks I wouldn't plan more than three destinations. Two would be better. No matter how long the flights are, by the time you get to and from the airport you would have used up a whole day.

I haven't been to the beach in Malaysia (except Tioman which I would avoid) so I can't compare. Thai beaches are exceptionally pretty -- white sand, turquoise water. Not a lot of indigenous culture but lots of beach resort activity.

Bali's beaches are more lively than pristine. My favorite is Seminyak: big waves, sunset, good restaurants, spas, clubs, shopping. There are several honeymoon appropriate resorts right on the beach or you could rent a villa complete with private pool and staff. The villa would be near the beach,
not on it.

The advantage of Bali is that you could combine a few days at a beach resort with a few days in the Ubud area without incurring an additional flight. Ubud is the place for nature and culture plus the outdoorsy adventure activities like rafting, trekking, mountain climbing, volcanoes, caves, waterfalls. No large animals to speak of but lots of birds, lizards and monkeys. The marine life in North Bali is also quite good.

Let me know your budget and I will give you some specific resort recommendations.
marmot is offline  
Feb 8th, 2012, 09:44 PM
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Tanjung Rhu is a great place to stay (and there meal inclusive deals are fantastic value). The Datai, a short drive away is even better (we got married there) but it is much more expensive these days. The main issue with Langkawi though is that it is on the West coast and so will not get great weather in September which is one of the wettest months. Langkawi markets itself as duty free but the shopping is not great and culture-wise is pretty limited - it really is all about the beach.

Travel in the wetter months like September does have its advantages. Prices are lower, there are fewer tourists and you may have some of the major sites virtually to yourself. It is, for example, a great time to visit Angkor Wat as Kathie's suggests, where the volume of tourists in high season does not make for a relaxing experience! A further advantage is that the countryside is more verdant and not the usual dull, dry brown - great for your photos.

Bali arguably has more to offer scenically and culturally than mainland Malaysia and undoubtedly has better weather in Sept but. of course, is further away. However the actual beaches may be a disappointment is some places.

One option for better weather would be Malaysian Borneo. The Shangri La Tanjung Aru is a great place to stay http://www.shangri-la.com/en/propert...njungaruresort
There is loads to do in terms of culture,wildlife etc. you could even climb Mount Kinabalu which only takes a couple of days and is an amazing, if tiring experience.
crellston is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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We really appreciate all of the feedback! From your experiences, is the rainy season to be avoided even when traveling to places like Chiang Mai? I know that it is the rainy season there as well, but I have heard that it will rain for 20min-1hr a day and then clear up. If it is going to be very rainy our whole trip, we might need to rethink where we are going.

I really like the idea of Angkor Wat but we would like to be based in a beach destination that is in close proximity (not requiring a flight or long train ride/drive) to areas for outdoor adventure/culture. We definitely want to have a chance to relax and let everything soak in.

Any additional insight into Malaysian Borneo (crellston, do you recommend spending most of our time near the hotel you mentioned? we want to make sure we get a sense of the local culture while we are there and are not spending it solely at secluded resorts) which sounds like it has a lot of adventures and nice beaches would be great!

If we went with someplace like Central Java, would staying there for 4 days be too long? Is there a particular beach you would recommend, Kathie?

As for our budget, we are trying to stay around $100-$150/night (or less) which seems to be feasible from my research?

Thanks again for all the help and advice!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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If you want to be based in a beach destination in close proximity to adventure/culture, you need to go to Bali. It's the only place I can think of where you can get both beach and culture while staying at the beach. Three or four days in Central Java would work well in combination with Bali. You'd get your beach time in Bali, cultural time in both Bali and Java.

With just two weeks, you might be better off with most of your time in Bali (at two locations, a beach and inland near Ubud) with a couple of days stopover in Singapore.

Be aware that all of the options you are considering would require flights within Asia.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 01:57 PM
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Central Java has a lot to offer in culture -- Borobudur monument, the town of Yogyakarta, the Dieng Plateau -- all in beautiful natural surroundings. It's a hour or so flight from Bali/Denpasar. Java is an island so there are beaches, but I'd not recommend them.

$100-150 is tight for Seminyak beach in Bali. I'd highly recommend The Colony. Not right on the beach, but very well located with lots of charm.

Right on the beach look at the Royal Beach Seminyak but it may be over your budget.

You would have lots of choices at that range in the Ubud area.

I'd also suggest that you consider Lombok. It's a separate island and would require a ferry ride or a commuter flight from Bali, but it has some nice beaches.
marmot is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 02:20 PM
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September in the Southern Gulf Islands of Thailand can actually be very pleasant. The Monsoon season really doesnt take hold until mid October. I would have no hesitation at all in Honeymooning on Koh Samui / Phangan / Tao , in September.

I have been to beaches in Bali, Thailand and Malaysia and the Thai beaches are the ones that keep drawing me back even though Bali is much closer to my home country of Australia.

Here is a weather blog from a guy that lives on Koh Samui... http://samui-weather.blogspot.com.au/ . This may give you a clearer perpective of what to expect at that time of year.
shanek is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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Thanks, everyone! After looking at the weather blog, we have decided against a Thai beach. Although we would absolutely love to go, it seems a little risky that time of year in terms of the rain and given that it is our honeymoon we are trying to play it a little safer.

Taking into consideration all of the comments, I think we are now trying to decide between Seminyak in Bali and Sabah in Borneo. From our research, it looks like Borneo has a lot of the natural beauty we are looking for and seems to have nice beaches. And Bali looks like it has a good mix of culture.

Any advice in choosing between the two?

Thank you!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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I've only spent a couple of days in Sabah, plus a week in Sarawak. Of the two I preferred Sarawak, both for beach and nature/adventure travel, but I haven't been there for a while.

There are more differences than similarities between Bali and Borneo. Bali has a myriad of resort options and lots of different activities. Borneo has a few fine resorts, but the focus is really on rugged nature and adventure travel.

The key point I would make about Bali is accessibility: you can experience lively beach resort culture, fascinating religious and arts culture and profoundly beautiful natural surroundings -- all in one small island. Java and Lombok are nearby "bonus" destinations.

I'd also suggest that you probe a little further into what shanek says about the weather on Thailand's eastcoast in September. This may still be doable for you.
marmot is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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PS, If you do chose Bali you should definitely split your time between Seminyak or another beach and an inland destination around Ubud.
marmot is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 06:28 PM
  #13  
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Yes, if we decide on Bali we will definitely do Ubud as well! Thanks!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 10th, 2012, 01:00 AM
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Having visited both Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and Bali on a number of occasions I would find it difficult to choose between the two mainly because, as marmot says " there are more differences than similarities". In essence Bali has some fantastic scenery, a pretty unique and very accessible culture and, a very developed tourism infrastructure with some world class resorts and hotels.

Borneo is less developed, sees far fewer tourists and the "culture" is less developed for tourism. It is far more about nature, adventure (jungle, diving etc.) and IMO has better beaches than Bali. You need to decide whether your preference is really for beach and relaxation or activity type holiday.

On balance, if you want a stress free honeymoon with some activity, fantastic scenery, reasonable beaches and great, if somewhat tourist orientated cultural experiences, then I would opt for Bali, choosing a smaller boutique type hotel and spend at least some of the time in , or close to Ubud.

Shanek makes a good point re the Gulf coast of Thailand where the the weather SHOULD be better but you need to choose your island very carefully. Koh Tao is aimed at divers and backpackers and does not have great beaches (the water is vary shallow on many and unsuited to swimming. Do not go to Koh Phangnan any where near full moon time as the palce will be full of hardcore party-goers (unless of course, that is your thing!). Koh Samui has some nice resorts, hotels and beaches but it is very developed these days and in some places very tacky.

There are loads of other islands which provide a more "get away from it all" beach experience. The following site has some good, unbiased information on south east asia:
http://www.travelfish.org/islands.php
crellston is offline  
Feb 10th, 2012, 07:50 PM
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The East Coast of Koh Phangan is far removed from all the "ravers" and party-goers and the ones that end up staying on that side of the Island by mistake are not likely be in one of 4 or 5 star resorts.

The main activities surrounding the FMP are isolated to one beach and really only effect that part of the Phangan for 3 days a month, the night of THE party and one night either side. At other times and on the beaches removed from the party, you would be unlikely to even know that this world famous "rave" exsisted.

Travelfish is a very good site and will give you some excellent information.

Dont give up on Thailand as a beach destination in September. It ticks all the boxes and in fantastic value at that time of year. We have tried other destinations in Asia and nothing has lived up to what we have experienced in Thailand.
shanek is offline  
Feb 11th, 2012, 12:36 AM
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weather2travel.com Climate guide less rain in Bali
Hyatt Sanur for beach perhaps komaneka.com
would be a nice combo I have enjoyed.

Congrats!
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 05:10 AM
  #17  
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Thanks for all of the help and advice! We are hard at work planning and can't wait for the adventure!
rachiek is offline  
Feb 13th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Central Java has a lot to offer in culture -- Borobudur monument, the town of Yogyakarta, the Dieng Plateau -- all in beautiful natural surroundings. It's a hour or so flight from Bali/Denpasar. Java is an island so there are beaches, but I'd not recommend them.
darrenmike99 is offline  

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