10 Expert Travel Tips for Honeymooning in Asia
When it comes to planning the perfect honeymoon in Asia, it pays to sweat the details. Traveling across the world on a once-in-a-lifetime trip requires a thoughtful itinerary chockfull of insider recommendations. Since most couples struggle with where to even begin planning, we asked travel expert Jen Boyd of ATJ (Asia Transpacific Journeys) to share her top 10 tips for honeymooning in Asia.
While working with a plugged-in travel specialist is always a good idea, it's also important for couples to consider a few foolproof rules to make sure their honeymoon in Asia goes smoothly. From avoiding tourist crowds to overcoming every traveler's worst nightmare—jet lag—here are the most important things to keep in mind when planning the perfect honeymoon in Asia.
Plan for the time difference.
Boyd's number one rule is to get as much sleep as possible on the plane. "As soon as you land, change your mindset to the local time zone," she explains. "If you don't—and you're instead constantly calculating what time it is back home—your body and mind will start to feel tired when it's the middle of the night at home, throwing off your entire day."
Fight through the jet lag.
If you arrive in the morning or the afternoon, Boyd suggests forcing yourself to keep busy and stay awake. Grab an early dinner and head to bed at a decent hour to get a solid first night's sleep. (Boyd even says she takes a mild sleep aid the first couple of nights to help her sleep through the night.) If you beat the jet lag early on, she says, you'll stay adjusted to the new time zone for the rest of the trip.
Pick one country.
"Don't get too ambitious when it comes planning your itinerary. If you move around too much, you'll spend more time in airports instead of the destinations themselves," says Boyd. Most countries in Asia have enough to see and do in a 10-day to two-week honeymoon, so it's better to spend the bulk of your time in one country. If you want to break up the trip or experience something a little different, add a short stopover in another destination. This could be a few nights in Hong Kong before traveling through Vietnam for the rest of the honeymoon.
Or combine two countries that are convenient to travel between.
If your heart is set on visiting more than one Asian country, pick ones that have solid international airline connectivity. One of Boyd's favorite combinations is an Indochina circuit through Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Another great pairing she suggests is Indonesia and Singapore, as well as Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Whether or not a combination trip works for you ultimately comes down to how much time you have and what your primary interests and goals are for the trip.
Don't over-schedule your days.
Boyd always abide by the "less is more mentality" when traveling with a limited amount of time. Instead of trying to pack in as much as you can, dig your heels into one or two destinations and go deeper than the average tourist. You could spend an entire five days in Luang Prabang, Laos, with plenty to see and do.
Consider driving (or being driven).
If you decide to delve into one destination, Boyd says to hone in on places that allow you to drive from one point to the next (instead of flying). "In Bali or Sri Lanka, for example, there are so many interesting places to visit as you traverse the country," she says. When you do something like make the six-hour drive from Sri Lankan Tea Country to the colonial fort city of Galle, the journey becomes part of the experience, Boyd explains—you're able to see rural towns, hidden temples, and local agricultural communities that help paint an authentic picture of the destination.
Visit popular landmarks during off-peak hours.
The general rule of thumb with popular landmarks is that non-peak times will have fewer crowds. Rising before dawn to see a place come to life is one of Boyd's favorite tips to give travelers—very few tourists are out early in the morning, she explains. Use this fact to your advantage: "You can go back to the hotel during the height of the tourist crush and enjoy a quiet pool or the spa. Many sites, such as the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom in Sri Lanka or the Schwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar, are also wonderful to visit at night," adds Boyd. "Most tourists have already retired to their hotel for the day, but this is a popular time for locals to visit for routine prayers, offerings, and rituals."
Consider up-and-coming destinations.
For a truly immersive cultural experience, look to places that aren't overly developed. Sri Lanka is a hidden gem that U.S. travelers are still just starting to consider. Boyd says the country is ideal for couples that like to mix it up—there's everything from ancient archeological sites to tea plantations, boutique accommodations to surfing beaches, plus the best wildlife experience you can have in Asia.
"The food in Asia is so closely tied to the culture; eating at local restaurants is a great way to immerse yourself in the destination and get to know the people," says Boyd. Any chance you have to do a street food tour or visit a local's home for a cooking demo or class, followed by a meal, is sure to be one of the most authentic, local experiences you can have in your travels.
Plan unforgettable moments.
"There are so many unexpected experiences you can plan throughout Asia," says Boyd. "Some special ones we've planned for our clients include: private dinner for two in a garden or forest with live music; a surprise picnic in the middle of a touring day; receiving a marriage blessing from a local monk; having your horoscope read by an Astrologer in India; and a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges River with an accompanying flute player."