Honeymoon in Thailand Two WaysWords by Melissa Klurman
Photos courtesy of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
For couples seeking romance along with exotic culture and breathtaking scenery, it’s hard to go wrong with Thailand, the Land of a Thousand Smiles. The friendly people, stunning temples, fabulous food, city nightlife and gorgeous beaches all add up to one perfect honeymoon destination. The only issue: how to decide between a city or a beach honeymoon. The solution: combine the best of the two with a Bangkok and beach itinerary.
City of Angels
Bangkok, the sexy city center of Thailand, may seem frenetic at first, but the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort whisks away the noise of the bustling city, replacing it with an island of calm right on the Chao Phraya River. The resort is spread around 11 acres in a semicircle framing an expansive pool area surrounded by banyan trees illuminated with sparkling lights. Modern rooms which overlook the river let you watch boats float by. Relax poolside with a fresh coconut or tropical cocktail until you’re ready to explore the City of Angels.
The hotel makes it easy for you to view Bangkok’s highlights with a dinner cruise on Manohra, a restored antique barge that docks just steps from the pool bar. Sail as the sun sets, passing landmarks such as the glittering golden Wat Arun temple, multi-tiered Sathorn Bridge and the glowing Grand Palace while nibbling on Thai treats like spicy mango salad and stir-fried noodles. Or, see the city’s highlights with one of the hotel’s Streetwise Guru itineraries such as a private tour of the klongs (canals) on a flower-decked longtail boat, a culinary-focused street food walking tour, or sightseeing to visit the Temple of the Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho. Shopping and nightlife are just across the river at the Asiatique market, easily reached by Anantara’s shuttle boat.
The tropical island of Phuket, a quick one-hour flight from Bangkok, is renowned for its powdery beaches and the turquoise Andaman Sea. But to truly honeymoon in style, leave the crowded beaches near the airport and head 40 minutes northwest to Layan, where the Anantara Layan Phuket Resort is nestled on eight miles of private coastline on Bangtao Bay, part of a secluded national park. Follow the palm tree-lined entrance to the elegant glass-enclosed lobby where you’ll find Sala Layan for stylish Mediterranean-inspired beachfront meals and a private wine cellar for tastings. A sparkling pool stretches onto the sand and the sea beyond. All around is lush greenery, part of the protected park, making it feel as though you’ve been transported to a private oasis.
For the ultimate honeymoon hideaway, choose one of the 15 cliffsides Layan Residences by Anantara. These luxurious glass-fronted villas have sweeping views of the sea and trees from the plush modern rooms that frame the villa’s infinity pool (dive down to the glass underwater window that peeks into the villa’s private two-table massage room). Residences have private live-in butlers who can bring you freshly squeezed juice to sip on a chaise lounge and a personal chef who whips up your breakfast every day. The chef also creates Dining by Design dinners for two high up on your personal deck or down on the beach, including seafood pulled straight from the ocean and served under the stars.
Honeymooners Jake and Tara Genen chose Thailand for the gorgeous beaches but came back raving about other highlights. “The warmth of the people and the culture really wowed us,” said Jake. “Plus, the food was so amazing, we even took a cooking lesson so we could make Pad Thai at home.” If you’re inspired to do the same, Spice Spoons, Anantara’s cooking school, offers hands-on lessons that begin with chef-led tours of the local farmer’s market and conclude with mastery of recipes such as Tom Kha Gai (coconut chicken soup) created in Dee Plee, the resort’s modern open-air Thai restaurant. Other ways to spend non-beach time include Muay Thai boxing (work on your cross jabs now, make up back at the villa later), relaxing at the spacious spa or sailing to nearby islands. In Thailand, local carriers AirAsia and Thai Airways offer inexpensive tickets on the Bangkok-Phuket route.
Getting here: It’s worth the 17 hours from Los Angeles or New York to get to this exotic honeymoon paradise. EVA Air is a top flight option to Bangkok, with premium economy seats that offer a business class experience for just a few hundred dollars more than traditional economy; flights transfer through the shopping mecca of glitzy Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Spring/Summer 2018 issue. You can order a copy here.
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