A colleague of mine has recently returned from Mauritius, where she hired a car and saw most of the country’s key highlights like Chamarel, Port Louis and Ile aux Cerfs. She commented that ‘off the beaten track bays, beaches, coral reefs and coves suddenly felt all the more accessible due to the veritable small scale of the island. Also, the prices quoted to have a personal driver on top of your car hire is not astronomical; around 20 Euros per day on top of your hire charge’. Kayak through mangroves, ramble through tropical jungle or hire a bicycle and explore the orchards and stunning gardens of Domaine de l’Etoile, this really is a nature lover’s paradise. Of course, beach dwellers will love it here, but there’s so much more than meets the eye, you can even walk with the lions at Casela Nature Park.
Ah, Thailand… what a country. So many opportunities from its bustling capital to the sleepy and idyllic Bang Tao Bay. Frenetic adventure or quiet contemplation are equally achievable holidays in Thailand. Want to experience the buzz of Bangkok twinned with an island paradise? Head to Koh Chang. Fancy Thailand but not Bangkok? Fly into Phuket and discover Southern Thailand instead. Choices here include the picturesque Similan Islands where they filmed The Man with the Golden Gun. Or you could catch a boat from Krabi to Phi Phi Island, home to indigenous monkeys and the hidden bay as featured in the movie, The Beach. If you do only do one thing, don’t miss an elephant trek in this exhilarating destination where the hospitality fits perfectly for an extra special honeymoon.
Malaysia is an ideal multi centre honeymoon choice, with the modern city of Kuala Lumpur being your first port of call – well worth staying for a couple of nights. Animal lovers will adore the Orang-utan sanctuaries at Kota Kinabalu, whilst foodies will love the renowned cuisine of Penang. In general, Malay dishes emphasise flavour and spice in equal measure, so if you’re a fan of curries or seafood, you’ll love what you find here. For beach lovers, the unfeasibly beautiful bay at Redang Island is recommended (as is the majestic private island of Pangkor Laut) or for ramblers how about the winding tea plantations at Cameron Highlands? Malaysia can also be done on an extreme budget too, check out the beachside huts at the Perhentian Islands for a real rustic honeymoon experience.
The Bahamas represent a sound choice for a honeymoon – but there’s no getting away from the fact that you will need a decent sized budget. We’d recommend honeymooners stay away from the numerous family orientated resorts and lean towards somewhere like the terrific One&Only Ocean Club, which was used for filing of Casino Royale. After all, if it’s good enough for James Bond! Snorkelling, diving and fishing are popular pursuits and can of course be done in tandem making them doubly appealing for couples. The well known Straw Market is worth a visit for a unique shopping experience where plenty of goods can be found. One final tip, make sure you take advantage of the chance to swim with dolphins in the Bahamas, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Calling honeymooners after beach glamour with a feel good vibe from the friendly locals. Find placid golden beaches by day and that alluring, tranquil Caribbean Sea. Groove to the funky beats of Holetown where colourful locals ensure evenings are always memorable. Regular fish fry nights take place on the beaches where you’ll also find some affordable 3* hotels offering a good standard of accommodation if travelling on a budget. If you are looking for somewhere chic and stylish, choose The House and even if you aren’t staying here, make sure you book a table to dine at Daphne’s, one of the culinary dining highlights of the island. Barbados is not particularly cheap when you are out there but as a Caribbean honeymoon choice it certainly is not the most expensive. The locals love their sport, especially cricket, and you can enjoy activities on the beach as well as spa treatments with the cool Caribbean breeze and melting sunsets to enhance your one time romantic getaway.
Carole Booth is Commercial Director at Destinology.