The A to Z of Ex­otic Hon­ey­moon Desti­na­tions

Whether you’re plan­ning a long trip or a brief es­capade, Vanessa Tai rec­om­mends 26 unique desti­na­tions for you to choose from.

Malaysia Tatler Wedding - - CON­TENTS -

Won­der­ing where to head to for your hon­ey­moon? We give you the low­down on 26 unique and in­ter­est­ing desti­na­tions you may want to con­sider

a is for Aruba

If you thought Aruba sounded vaguely fa­mil­iar, that’s be­cause it was pop­u­larised by the Beach Boys in the hit song, Kokomo. Apart from the usual beach ac­tiv­i­ties, this Car­ribbean is­land also of­fers plenty of other at­trac­tions such as the mys­te­ri­ous Guadirkiri Caves, and Arikok Na­tional Park, which con­sists of a di­verse ar­ray of lava for­ma­tions and lime­stone for­ma­tions.

b is for Bhutan

A king­dom famed for its re­mote and pris­tine beauty, and its em­pha­sis on its cit­i­zens’ well­be­ing—they were the ones who pi­o­neered the Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness in­dex—Bhutan is one of those fa­bled places you have to visit in this life­time. For a truly un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence, book your stay at Amankora, a se­ries of award-win­ning lodges spread across the cen­tral and western val­leys of Bhutan. Be­cause of its his­tor­i­cally iso­lated to­pog­ra­phy—think 7,000-me­tre high peaks in the north and low-ly­ing plains in the south—you and your beloved will cer­tainly get a sense of be­ing co­cooned away from the rest of the world.

Dur­ing your stay in Bhutan, you can opt to stay at just one of the lodges and ex­plore the sur­round­ing ar­eas. How­ever, if you’ll like to bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence what else the coun­try has to of­fer, the team at Amankora is able to cus­tomise a jour­ney for you that in­cludes its var­i­ous lodges lo­cated in Paro, Thim­phu, Pu­nakha, Gangtey, or Bumthang. Amankora Paro, which is sit­u­ated 30 min­utes from Paro In­ter­na­tional Air­port, is where most trav­ellers usu­ally start their jour­ney. The 24-suite com­pound fea­tures beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral el­e­ments such as rammed-earth walls and wood-panelled in­te­ri­ors. While there, be sure to trek up the breath­tak­ing Tiger’s Nest Monastery, lo­cated along the cliff-side of the up­per Paro val­ley.

From Paro, you can ven­ture to­wards the other lodges lo­cated sev­eral hours away. Amankora Gangtey is nes­tled in the scenic but lit­tle-vis­ited Phob­jikha Val­ley, and of­fers panoramic views of the broad val­ley and the 16th-cen­tury monastery, Gangtey Goemba. For a

roy­ally good time, make your way to Amankora Bumthang, sit­u­ated ad­ja­cent to the first and sec­ond King of Bhutan’s palace. Along the way, you’ll be treated to spec­tac­u­lar views of the for­mer royal sports grounds, a tra­di­tional and much-used archery area, as well as ap­ple or­chards and pear trees.

c is for Christ­mas Is­land

Christ­mas Is­land is a ter­ri­tory of Aus­tralia lo­cated in the mid­dle of the In­dian Ocean, south of In­done­sia. Be­cause of its strate­gic po­si­tion, Christ­mas Is­land cul­ture is a melt­ing pot of in­flu­ences from Asia, to Europe, and of course, Aus­tralia. Also, be­cause of its rel­a­tive iso­la­tion from the rest of the world—the en­tire is­land only has a pop­u­la­tion of 1,402—you and your love will def­i­nitely feel like you’re in your own lit­tle world here. One of the best places to stay on the is­land would be the lux­u­ri­ous Christ­mas Is­land Re­sort. Its clean and con­tem­po­rary fa­cil­i­ties in­te­grate seam­lessly with the sur­round­ing nat­u­ral beauty—calm, azure waters and lush green­ery.

If you con­sider your­self a na­ture lover, Christ­mas Is­land will be a ver­i­ta­ble trea­sure trove. Sign your­selves up for a guided Rain­for­est Walk through the is­land’s na­tional park. At 135 sq km, it takes up 63 per cent of the en­tire is­land and you’ll get to see rare flora and fauna species such as the fa­mous mi­grat­ing Red Crabs and the en­dan­gered Ab­bott’s Booby. Or, take to the waters and ex­plore some of the world’s best scuba-div­ing and snorkelling spots. From a vast ar­ray of trop­i­cal fish species to tur­tles, sharks, and even whale­sharks and man­tas (be­tween Novem­ber and April), there’s plenty to see be­neath the deep blue. For some­thing a lit­tle more slow-paced, the var­i­ous beaches are per­fect for go­ing on those long, ro­man­tic walks.

d is for Den­ver, Colorado

Den­ver may not be the first city you think of when it comes to ro­man­tic cities but the cap­i­tal of Colorado ac­tu­ally has quite a few op­tions when it comes to a ro­man­tic hol­i­day. The Brown Palace Ho­tel & Spa used to be a favourite of for­mer US pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower, and is also pop­u­lar among honey­moon­ers be­cause of its old-world charm. An­other charm­ing and

his­toric ho­tel, the Ox­ford, is es­pe­cially pop­u­lar dur­ing Valen­tine’s Day. The ho­tel of­fers cou­ples a pack­age that in­cludes a com­pli­men­tary CD of hand­picked love songs, a book of po­etry, chilled cham­pagne, and rose petal turn-down ser­vice.

e is for Egypt

There is some­thing deeply sen­su­ous about Egypt, land of the Pyra­mids and the Nile Delta, and where Cleopa­tra once reigned. As you ex­plore the an­cient ru­ins and colour­ful bazaars to­gether with your love, the elec­tric thrill in the at­mos­phere is so pal­pa­ble you can al­most reach out and touch it. One of the best places to stay while there is La Res­i­dence des Cas­cades, which is perched atop the high­est point of the Soma Bay penin­sula, of­fer­ing you amaz­ing views of the Red Sea.

f is for Fiji

Miles upon miles of pow­dery white beaches, crys­tal-clear waters, and lots of pri­vacy for you and your beloved… all that is avail­able to you on the pri­vate lux­ury is­land of Vomo Lailai. Vomo is a pri­vately owned prop­erty at the top of the Ma­manuca Is­lands group, and is only ac­ces­si­ble via he­li­copter or sea­plane from Fiji’s in­ter­na­tional air­port. Vomo Lailai is a com­pletely pri­vate is­land to the west of Vomo, and is the per­fect hon­ey­moon des­ti­na­tion for cou­ples who crave some alone-time after the hus­tle and bus­tle of the wed­ding.

g is for Galá­pa­gos Is­lands

The Galá­pa­gos Is­lands sit astride the equa­tor in the Pa­cific Ocean, and are ac­tu­ally the tips of an­cient vol­ca­noes, many of which are still ac­tive. Famed for its many in­dige­nous flora and fauna, Galá­pa­gos Is­lands is an ab­so­lute play­ground for na­ture lovers. For a truly dreamy hon­ey­moon, book your­selves a stay at the Royal Palm Gala­pa­gos, a se­cluded hide­away nes­tled in the lush high­lands of Santa Cruz Is­land in the heart of the Galá­pa­gos. Be­cause of its com­mit­ment to pre­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, the ho­tel has been de­signed and crafted to com­ple­ment its nat­u­ral sur­round­ings.

h is for Hokkaido

Hokkaido is Ja­pan’s north­ern­most is­land pre­fec­ture and is renowned for its rugged beauty and spec­tac­u­lar cui­sine, es­pe­cially its seafood. One of the best ways to im­merse your­selves in Ja­panese cul­ture would be to stay at a tra­di­tional ryokan (Ja­panese inn). For over 1,300 years, the ryokan tra­di­tion has de­vel­oped and main­tained the Ja­panese spirit of omote­nashi, which is a form of re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion for Na­ture and its four sea­sons. This is why when­ever you visit a ryokan, you can ex­pect the cui­sine, flo­ral dec­o­ra­tions, and even the staff ’s uni­forms to re­flect the cur­rent sea­son.

There are plenty of beau­ti­ful ryokan in Hokkaido to choose from, but for a truly lux­u­ri­ous es­capade, Taki­noya Ryokan is sec­ond to none. Nes­tled among the ver­dant forests of south­ern Hokkaido’s No­bori­betsu re­sort area, you will feel the stress of wed­ding plan­ning ebbing away as you soak in the glo­ri­ous hot springs. At Taki­noya, the on­sen baths boast five dif­fer­ent types of heal­ing wa­ter, piped in from the fa­mous Jigoku­dani on­sen source, each with its own min­eral con­tent, acid­ity, and al­ka­lin­ity.

Dur­ing your stay at Taki­noya, you and your sweet­heart can spend idyl­lic days ex­plor­ing the many nat­u­ral at­trac­tions in the area. One such at­trac­tion is Jigoku­dani, also known as ‘Hell Val­ley’, which is an aptly-named val­ley lo­cated just above the town of No­bori­betsu On­sen. This is the main source of No­bori­betsu’s hot spring waters and here, you’ll find hot steam vents, sul­furous streams, and other forms of vol­canic ac­tiv­ity. From the val­ley, you can fol­low the var­i­ous walk­ing trails through the wooded hills to reach other sul­furous ponds or mud ponds. Just be sure to hold on tight to each other!

i is for Ice­land

Ice­land is one of those places where you have to ex­pe­ri­ence for your­self to fully grasp the mag­i­cal qual­ity of the place. Home to just over 300,000 in­hab­i­tants, Ice­land is the most sparsely pop­u­lated coun­try in Europe. From vol­ca­noes to the North­ern Lights, the scenery in Ice­land is un­like any­where else in the world.

Ho­tel Gly­mur is a charm­ing coun­try­side ho­tel lo­cated just out­side the cap­i­tal of Reyk­javik, over­look­ing the ma­jes­tic ‘Hvalfjor­dur’ (Whale Fjord). Honey­moon­ers should def­i­nitely take ad­van­tage of the ho­tel’s Hon­ey­moon Pack­age, which in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion at the el­e­gant Red House, an 80 sqm hol­i­day house that af­fords you with breath­tak­ing views of the Hvalfjor­dur.

In ad­di­tion, you’ll also be treated to a ro­man­tic din­ner of your choice, a spe­cial wed­ding cake for two, and a guided tour of the Golden Cir­cle. The Golden Cir­cle is a pop­u­lar tourist route of about 300km, and it cov­ers the na­tional park Þingvel­lir, the wa­ter­fall Gull­foss (Golden Falls), and the geother­mally ac­tive val­ley of Haukadalur.

Ho­tel Gly­mur is also sit­u­ated close to Snae­fell­snes Penin­sula, where you and your love will have a whale of a time (pun in­tended) vis­it­ing the area’s nu­mer­ous wa­ter­falls and glaciers. Some of the more pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties on Snae­fell­snes in­clude boat trips around the var­i­ous is­lands, which of­fer whale watch­ing and sea-an­gling as part of the itin­er­ary. If you’re feel­ing brave, there are also plenty of lava caves in the area, with the most pop­u­lar ones all lo­cated within Snae­fell­snes Na­tional Park. For those who pre­fer some­thing more slow-paced, there are plenty of mu­se­ums worth vis­it­ing—from the Har­al­dur Sig­urds­son’s Vol­cano Mu­seum in Stykk­ishól­mur, or the Shark Mu­seum at Bjarnarhöfn Farm. After a day of ad­ven­ture, get cosy in one of Ho­tel Gly­mur’s many out­door hot tubs over­look­ing the fjord.

j is for Jeju Is­land

Lo­cated just off the coast of South Korea, Jeju Is­land con­tin­ues to be a pop­u­lar spot for honey­moon­ers. If you and your sweet­heart are the sort that loves wacky hu­mour, you def­i­nitely need to make a trip to the hi­lar­i­ous over­the-top adult theme park, Love­land. There, you’ll find grotesque over­sized casts of Western-look­ing nudes twisted in all kinds of—ahem—po­si­tions. For some­thing a lit­tle more tra­di­tion­ally ro­man­tic, Jeju Is­land is also ideal for long road trips where both of you can spend qual­ity time talk­ing about your fu­ture to­gether.

k is for Kenya

From spec­tac­u­lar wildlife of the Ma­sai Mara to stun­ning beaches, Kenya of­fers a rich di­ver­sity of land­scapes. For an un­for­get­table hon­ey­moon, book your­self into the Nai­bor, a beau­ti­ful tented camp set in the cen­tre of the

RO­MAN­TIC CHARM The Amankora Bumthang is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar prop­er­ties to stay in when vis­it­ing Bhutan

NA­TURE’S BEST Christ­mas Is­land is a trea­sure trove for na­ture lovers

PRI­VATE SANC­TU­ARY The Taki­noya Ryokan in Hokkaido fea­tures in­ti­mate pools and an au­then­tic on­sen ex­pe­ri­ence, com­plete with a spa menu

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