My fiance and I are looking for an unexpected honeymoon destination. Where should we go?
Expert: Mary Bosworth, owner, All Seasons Travel
We are noticing a trend in couples wanting to do something out of the ordinary when it comes to their honeymoons. They want more exotic! They want that “wow” factor to tell their friends about. Not everyone can afford Bora Bora or the Maldives, so here are some more affordable, yet still not ordinary, honeymoon destinations.
Thailand: Exotic cities, beautiful beaches, and fairly inexpensive. Thailand has a little of everything—culture, great food, nightlife, shopping, and beautiful beaches. The beach destinations can be almost a third to half of what Tahiti or the Maldives would be. Beachside bungalows in a five-star property can start at $300-400 a night versus other comparable islands, which can be up to $2,000-3,000 a night. Other than the long flight, it is a wonderful alternative with year-round good weather. I have booked several Thailand trips this year for couples who started off wanting the Maldives or similar, and it was half the cost.
Vietnam: The new “it” destination. Weather in the north (Hanoi and Halong Bay) can be cold in the winter months so this destination is better to visit from April to November. Some of the highlight cities, Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), are wonderful to explore. You can cruise around beautiful Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, or enjoy shopping, culture, great food, beaches, and friendly people. If time allows, add three or four days in Cambodia at Siem Reap.
Peru: A destination for the adventuresome. There will not be a lot of downtime on a trip to Peru as there is so much to see and do. The main areas to explore are Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and Sacred Valley. There is beautiful countryside to explore along with hiking, walking, markets, and white-water rafting. If time allows, you can add a few days for an Amazon jungle cruise.
South Africa: Another bucket-list destination (and the most expensive on this list), South Africa has it all—wineries, game viewing, beaches, and adventure. Going to one of the game reserves in Africa is possibly the best experience. You are truly pampered at the lodges with great meals and twice-daily game viewing, and most have a pool and spa facilities. There are also wonderful beaches and wineries outside cosmopolitan Cape Town.