Since it’s the ‘Month of Love’ and all that, I thought I’d do a little throwback to our honeymoon back in December 2011. We got married on the 27th August 2011 but knew the easiest time to travel with my husband’s job, would be December, so we had a bit of a delayed honeymoon, but an incredible one, nonetheless!
We immediately knew we wanted a beach holiday and having already been to a bucket list destination (Maldives), it was time to tick off another – Thailand! I know you’re already thinking ‘ping pong shows’, scooters and wild nights, but to be honest – that wasn’t the holiday we were after, let alone for our honeymoon. We spent a day and a night in Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and I don’t think I’d be in any hurry to go back. While the hotel was comfortable, it literally felt like we were in the unrejuvenated part of the Joburg CBD. The one absolute highlight was however, the most incredible street food we ate on that first night. Nervous first-time travellers in Asia, we pulled out our plastic chairs, sitting curb side on a bustling street and scanned the menu for something we recognised, looking at each other with wide (and bloodshot) eyes wondering if we were about to indulge in a little food poisoning. This was hands down the most delicious meal we ate all honeymoon (and there were some phenomenal restaurants we visited). Exhausted after a long flight with no sleep, we devoured our meal of sweet and sour prawns (we had the option of Ginger Frogs but decided to pass) and then laughed as we had to actually pay for those little wet wipes they give you after a meal of ribs at Spur. While Kuala Lumpur wasn’t the main attraction for us, we still got to enjoy Starbucks for the first time, take advantage of the ridiculously affordable electronics in an 8 story shopping centre with an indoor roller coaster and wonder around the indoor jungle in the KLIA (the Towers were unfortunately closed for maintenance).
With our short stay in Malaysia over, we boarded a short flight to Phuket, Thailand. Our hotel had organised a transfer for us so that was one less worry, then arriving at the Andaman Cannacia was like a dream come true. We choose to be a little further along the coast than the party capital – Patong – and opted for a hotel in Kata Beach. By the time we got married, we had been living together for four years and had known each other since high school so we were definitely not up for the wild nights (and just as well, as you’ll soon read) and pounding heads. Our room was so spacious with a nightly turndown service always involving some kind of towel magic, and the most awe-inspiring views over the blue Andaman sea. We enjoyed the endless breakfast buffet with juicy dragon fruit, mangoes and melons and a full fry up all whilst being visited by the friendly hotel cats and being entertained by the most hilarious of waiters. What do you do in Thailand after a hearty breakfast? Well the beach of course, those white sandy beaches are something special! We’d chosen to hit one of the neighbouring beaches – walking, if we hadn’t indulged too much (our hotel was literally perched on the top of a very steep, and long hill) and then we’d go visit our favourite massage parlour (leave your shoes outside the door we learnt) where we could enjoy and hour long full body massage for the equivalent of R70! The soothing aloe massages were a must after a day in the sun, because at R70 we went for TWO massages a day – generally one before dinner). Walking the streets (we never rented a scooter) dodging the matted electrical wires we’d suss out our next meal – a holiday is always about the food for us – then sit and plan our next day’s adventures while writing in my journal our experiences for the day!
On a few occasions we rented a taxi to take us along the coastline to various heritage spots, our own local tour guide (the best way to do it) and visited the likes of an orchid farm, the silk market, Karon View Point, Big Buddha, the Elephant Sanctuary, a boat cruise island hopping and of course a stop at Festival Mall to hit up Zara (see, long before we had Zara in SA).
Every day was something new, besides the boat cruise, we left as much unplanned as possible. I had to take a multitude of tablets before said boat cruise (you’ve never met a more motion sick person than me), that in turn had me sleeping for the first hour at least, but hey, at least no vom! Little did we know we were 6, nearly 7 weeks pregnant with our little Oli at this time (see, thank heavens for no crazy cocktails in Patong) so there was in fact more than two of us on this special honeymoon. When I think back, I can definitely see how I experienced my first cravings (before the HG set in) in Thailand. They make the most incredible fried banana fritters, with vanilla ice cream and honey drizzled over and before we’d be seated in the restaurant, I’d ask to look at the menu to check if they had it too. On one of our last evenings in Phuket at an incredible restaurant overlooking the whole of Kata it was all I ate. Dessert for dinner, why not!
We loved our twelve blissful days in Thailand discovering so many firsts and special memories – jet ski rides, lazy pool swims ordering ‘i-coffee’ (their version of iced coffee), fish spas (there may have been a few casualties – Dyl was just too ticklish), indulging in authentic Thai cuisine, scoffing too many bowls of fried bananas, James Bond island, a tattoo (Dyl, not me) the beautiful scent of the frangipani trees wafting through the humid night’s air and our first proper holiday as husband and wife. It was beyond amazing. If you’re looking for a holiday that delivers on all of this, and is pocket friendly at the same time, you have to check out Travelstart for their unbeatable deals –
Advice: It’s such an affordable holiday. We definitely want to take the kids at some stage, but it is a longer flight than something like Mauritius. If you don’t want to be in the hustle and bustle of Patong – ie. if you’re going as a family, book someone a little further down the coast like we did. Eating out is ridiculously cheap, so unlike a stay in Mauritius, accommodation including breakfast is all you need. Keep an eye on Travelstart for incredible deals that pop up and maybe Thailand will be your honeymoon destination (or holiday destination) too?! You don’t need a visa so travel is easy.
*This blog post was written in partnership with Travelstart but all experiences are my own