Some couples end up paying ?6k for two-week Asia honeymoons – a sum easily stretched for months by frugal backpackers. Unless you’re a couple of investment bankers, such anecdotes could easily deter you from trying to honeymoon in the Far East, however longingly you dream about it.
Yet your honeymoon is an ideal opportunity to actually achieve your dream holiday. With friends and family on hand to potentially help out with the budget, it seems a shame to compromise. So how do you keep the cost down?
Research is a great place to start. You may groan at the prospect, especially if you’re already fretting about wedding arrangements. Many couples feel pressured by their families’ expectations. This may seem unfair – this is your special day, right? Not exactly. Two clans are
uniting, here. You’ve made a lot of people very excited. Some may be feeling a little lonely. If you’d like them all to celebrate the union, you must realise that the wedding itself is very much a family affair.
The honeymoon, on the other hand, is absolutely all about you two. Researching destinations, seeking inspiration, and creating your ideal post-wedding bubble is one of the most satisfying aspects of the wedding. Even a few hours research will improve your chance of spending less. Doing it well in advance will drastically increase the number of deals available.
To give you a head start, Vietnam is rapidly modernizing but epically beautiful, its convenient scenic railway spanning from Hanoi, in the north, to bustling Ho Chi Min City – Saigon – in the very south. For a less modern but no less iconic experience, Cambodia offers some of the most hauntingly sacred places in South East Asia, Angkor Wat the most famous of many.
Head to Thailand for a classic Asian blend of vivid culture, amazing shopping and hidden tropical beaches, while Laos is laid-back and ecologically-minded, full of stunning conservation areas. Try Borneo for full-on rainforest adventure, with the chance to meet orang-utans and cruise up jungle riverways, with neighbouring Malaysia perfect for accessible jungle and affordable glamour.
Browse mainstream travel guides, like Lonely Planet or CN Traveller until you have a shortlist of destinations, then look for candid first-hand coverage of these places. Individual traveller blogs are excellent for this, especially if the blogger uploads their own photos, which often give the most realistic view of a place.
This may all sound daunting if you’re really busy or shy about phoning foreign hotels to make deals. Don’t worry – a growing number of travel companies will tailor-make the arrangements for you while staying tactfully aware of your budget. Some even run wedding-list services. These let guests pay gift money straight into your honeymoon fund, letting your advisor know exactly how much money you have to play with.
Whether you decide to do it yourself or get help from experts, make sure you sit down together first, and really mull over what you do and don’t want from your experience, whether it’s glamorous beach-side seclusion or treks into the rainforest.