Ask Chris: Planning a Thailand Honeymoon

by Chris on July 12, 2012

Ask Chris: A reader asks for advice on planning a Thailand honeymoon, including info on things to do in Bangkok, luxury hotels in Bangkok and other places to visit in the country.

Got a travel question? I answer it in this ongoing “travel expert” series.

Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Question: I absolutely love your blog! I noticed you spent your honeymoon in Thailand. My fiancee and I are looking to plan our honeymoon to Thailand in April (it will be a 2-3 week trip). I was wondering if you had any advice or recommendations of places to stay? Tours/guides you recommend? Where to spend most of our time? Do you use travel agents? — M. 

Answer: Thanks for reading (it’s always great to get emails that start off this way)! It’s funny; when this request came in, my husband and I were just talking about where we wanted to go for our fifth anniversary this year. And while many countries have appeared on our list – Turkey, Morocco and Vietnam being some of them – we’re thinking that we might go back to southeast Asia, where our marriage all began. So your question allowed me to return to the sources that I used when I originally planned the trip.

Our Value Luxury honeymoon cost about $8,000 total for 3 weeks. Part of the reason we went to southeast Asia was because we knew that we could travel longer, for less. We splurged on some things – an outstanding 5-star hotel in Bangkok; personal guides and tours in Bangkok, Phuket, and Siem Reap, Cambodia; flights within Thailand – and went cheap on others (inexpensive guest houses in Chiang Dao and Siem Reap, restaurant food, foot massages instead of hotel spa treatments).

Using a Travel Agent

This question comes up frequently among Value Luxury travelers. I didn’t use a travel agent for our honeymoon, and did all the research and booking for the 3-week trip, which included stops in Bangkok, Chiang Dao, Phuket and Siem Reap in Cambodia. My main sources were the Southeast Asia forum on Fodors.com as well as Tripadvisor’s forums. But you might not want all the responsibility. It depends on how many locations and internal flights that you are taking (we did buy comprehensive travel insurance).

If you do decide to involve an agent, I’d look for one that is either affiliated with Virtuoso or is Four Seasons Preferred, as they can get you upgraded rooms and complimentary breakfasts.  I’ve also read good things about Eddie, an American Express-affiliated agent who works with Seatours Agency in Bangkok. His email is aniwat@seatoursthai.com.

Travel Romantic, Shangri-La, Bangkok

Luxury Hotels in Bangkok

The great thing about traveling to Bangkok is that you can get amazing five-star hotels for the price that you’d pay for an upscale chain back home. One key decision point: Do you want to stay on the Chao Phraya  river or not? We decided that being on the river was important to us, as we wanted to be able to watch the boats (and some people say that the air is slightly cleaner). Yet we also wanted easy access to the SkyTrain, so we could get around the city without taking cabs or tuk tuks.

That’s one reason why I chose the Shangri-La. It’s on the river, yet is very close to the SkyTrain. We upgraded to the Krungthep Wing, where all the rooms have a balcony overlooking the river and a private pool. We also had butler service, complimentary Happy Hour cocktails and canapes delivered to our room, and a monster buffet breakfast, which allowed us to go most of the day without refueling. The amenities may have been over the top, but we loved starting our honeymoon on the luxurious end of the spectrum.

Other five-star hotels on the river include the Peninsula and the Mandarin Oriental. You’re more likely to get a better deal at the Peninsula, where all rooms face the water. You will, however, have to take a water taxi to reach the SkyTrain. But some people love having that type of seclusion after a long day touring. The Oriental is one of Bangkok’s storied hotels, where writers such as Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad stayed.  We came here for an afternoon tea that was expensive (for Thailand), but enjoyable.

If you decide to stay downtown, you have a wide range of options, as almost every major chain, luxury or otherwise, has a property in Bangkok. I’ve heard good things about the Four Seasons, both for its Sunday brunch  and its swimming pool. Smaller options include the Sukhothai and Hansar Bangkok, a boutique hotel that often has deals on Jetsetter.
Chedis at Wat Pho, Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

Bangkok has so many things to do that you could easily spend up to five days exploring (particularly if you take breaks at the height of the day). We saw a few things on our own, such as the Jim Thompson House, Wat Pho (where I looked up from my massage at the temple’s school to see a tiny monk standing on my husband’s back) and the Erawan Shrine.

Floating Market outside Bangkok

We did hire a tour guide for part of our visit in Bangkok. Tong took us to the city’s major palaces and temples, and gave us invaluable history about the city and Buddhism. We also enjoyed the river tour that she took us on.  On a separate daytrip, she took us to the Floating Market as well as Kanchanaburi, where the River Kwai is located. (if you have time for only one thing outside the city, we preferred the Floating Market). Tong is extremely popular so you’ll want to book her far in advance.

Hilltop tribes outside Chiang Dao, Thailand

Other Places to Go in Thailand

As I mentioned, we went to Chiang Dao, a small town north of Chiang Mai and Phuket in the south. While Phuket proved to be a nice jumping off point for our daytrips to Phi Phi and the outstanding Hongs by Starlight trip that we took with John Gray Tours, I’d make different choices if we went back, as parts of Phuket are drab and annoying. I’ve heard better things about Krabi and Koh Samui. Check the weather patterns for April before you choose.

In the north, we loved The Nest, a small guesthouse retreat in Chiang Dao. We signed up for one of their treks, but had to quit due to some health issues. If we go back, I’d head even further into the Golden Triangle and look into Anantara, which has cooking classes and elephants on site. If we went back, we’d also spend more time in Chiang Mai so we could visit the Night Market; the city also has quite a few well-known cooking classes.

You don’t want to spend so much time traveling that you get worn out. It is your honeymoon, after all, and you’ll want time to relax! In retrospect, we should have visited only three locations instead of four.

Got a suggestion for M? Leave it in the comments! 

 

 

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kent @ No Vacation Required July 12, 2012 at 6:31 am

Makes me want to go back to Bangkok. We splashed out at the Peninsula for a few days. One of our best hotel experiences ever.

Reply

Chris July 12, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Kent – If we do back in the fall, we might choose the Pen this time around. Everyone raves about it!

Reply

Nelson July 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Dear M,

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and of course Thailand is the ideal choice for your honeymoon. The country is full of diverse culture and experiences just waiting to be discovered. Four Seasons has four unique properties to help make your honeymoon extra special.

Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok offers the best location to access the city and sites as well as an oasis to relax and enjoy the wide variety of restaurants.

Set amongst the working rice fields, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai is just an hour north of Bangkok by flight and offers a sanctuary for the soul and a perfect retreat for a honeymoon couple.

Further north where Thailand, Burma and Laos come together is Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle which offers luxury tent accommodation in an all inclusive package which also includes trekking through the northern jungles on your own elephant. Truly memorable.

Our fourth property is Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui, set on a private white sand beach overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Each villa has its own private pool with stunning views of the aqua green ocean.

Please let us know how we can help you plan your time in Thailand and feel free to reach out anytime. We feature the Tour of Thailand package which includes multiple properties and is listed on our website.

All the best with the wedding plans.

Nelson

Reply

Chris July 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Nelson, thanks for chiming in. Now you have me wanting to go to all the properties!

Reply

Nelson July 13, 2012 at 2:21 am

Any time Chris, just let us know when you can make it. The elephants are waiting!

Cheers!

Nelson

Reply

Brendon July 14, 2012 at 1:31 am

Having a wedding in Thailand is an awesome idea but Bangkok?? Personally I’d go for Ko Yao Noi where there are not loads of tourists.

Reply

Chris July 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Brendon – Thanks for suggesting this island. Many people coming from the States would fly into Bangkok first and spend a few days there before heading out to the islands. The city has a lot of luxury hotels to choose from. But I agree that a mix of city and island is best.

Reply

Laura @Travelocafe July 15, 2012 at 8:05 am

Thailand seems to have all the magic it needs for a great honeymoon destination that will kick you out of the normal routine and let you experience this magical moment in full.

Reply

Meredith August 2, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Thank you so much everyone! Great information and extremely helpful!

We will have 11 full days in Thailand. Can you recommend how we should split our time between the different cities? Where should we spend more of our time? Is it too much to try and hit Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket in 11 days?

Thanks again! :)

Reply

Meredith August 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Also, is there any specific customs we should be aware of… like for instance tipping?

How far in advance do you recommend booking flight with in thailand (from bangkok to Chiang Mai to Phuket) or do you recommend traveling a different way?

Reply

Elizabeth September 13, 2013 at 2:45 pm

I’m just wondering if you think there is a minimum amount of days to do this without feeling too rushed. I live in California but can probably only take 10 days off work. Also wondering about cost. This would be for our honeymoon so we are willing to pay a bit more than an average vacation but still have a budget to consider. Thanks.

Reply

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: