Last week, our resident travel guru, Jackie Laulainien, gave us the rundown of two of her favorite honeymoon-by-the-beach locales. Here are the last three, which just leaves one question: where are you going this winter?
Thailand was one of the stops we made on our honeymoon, and I’ve never been to a country where traveling was easier. If you’re a first time traveler, this would be a great place for you to start. Thailand is also wonderful because it’s easy to live like a king there even if you are on a budget. Getting there is the expensive part, but if you can find a ticket for around $1,000, you are in good shape. The beaches in Thailand are literally endless, as Thailand has about 2,000 miles of coastline but is only the size of France.
Best time of year to go: November through February, this is Thailand’s “cool season” (cool is relative, it’s still nice and hot). The west (Phuket and around there) has a rainy season from April to October, and the east (Gulf of Thailand) has a rainy season between September and December.
How to get there: Fly into the capital city of Bangkok. For shorter flights to get around Thailand, check out AirAsia.com.
Activities not to be missed: Drink from a coconut, try every kind of curry known to man, ride an elephant, visit a temple, take a ferry, find a secluded beach, visit the beach from the movie “The Beach,” try fruits you’ve never tried before, go kayaking, go climbing if you like (it’s a top destination in the world for climbing!), float in a natural swimming pool, snorkel, shop, pick your dinner from the freshly caught array of seafood, have a drink at a sidewalk bar, eat Pad Thai from a street vendor, ride a longtail boat, visit Railay Beach, ride a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, walk down Kao San Road, put your feet in a fish spa, drink freshly squeezed juices, get a foot massage, and eat mango and sticky rice.
I know. That was a lot.
How much time to allow: Considering that it takes a couple of days to get over there, you may want to allow yourself as much time as possible to explore once you get there. At the very least 10 days, hopefully more like 2-3 weeks.
Bali & Gili Trawangan, Lombok (Indonesia)
I’m sure you’ve heard of Bali, and I’m sure you haven’t heard of Lombok, but they are right next to each other in the chain of volcanic islands that make up Indonesia. These two islands offer a beautiful snapshot of Asian culture and provide the best of both worlds for the beach-goer and the adventurer.
Best time of year to go: Avoid travel between December and March, which is monsoon season, although you will still see plenty of sunshine during this time.
How to get there: Fly into Denpasar Airport on Bali. You can take a fast boat to the Gili Islands of Lombok easily from Bali.
Activities not to be missed:
Have dinner on the beach during sunset at Jimbaran Bay, explore the rice paddies outside the bustling town of Ubud, stay at one of Bali’s many jungle or beach resort hotels that cater to your every need and will be candy for your eyes, catch a traditional Balinese dance, and wander your way through the open air markets.
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Stay a few days at Vila Ombak with its private swimming pools, waterfalls, and swim up bars just across the street from a beach with views of the main island of Lombok and its Mount Rinjani volcano. Eat seafood every day, go scuba diving or lounge at the beach or pool. Relax. If you have time, head over to the main island of Lombok to climb Mount Rinjani.
How much time to allow: Remember that it takes a couple of days just to get here, so try to come for two or even three weeks and you should have plenty of time to get your relax on.
For a unique European honeymoon, consider exploring the Greek Islands, whose beauty will be a treat for your eyes, the mediterranean cuisine a party for your taste buds, and the language a soft song for your ears. After exploring Athens and its ancient architecture, you can catch one of the many ferries that will take you out into the thousands of islands that make up a mediterranean paradise.
Best time of year to go: May through September will be the best time to visit the islands and beaches, as the storms set in late September and many resorts close.
How to get there: Fly into Athens and plan to stay a day or two to explore before you head out on a ferry to the islands. Check out Greek ferry schedules here. If you get seasick, you can fly to Santorini from Athens.
Activities not to be missed: Santorini, the most famous and most beautiful of the Greek Islands. Beach, cruise, snorkel, scuba dive, wine taste, hike, hot spring… Santorini has it all. Naxos is very chill, and Mykonos is happening and has one of the most beautiful downtowns I have ever seen. There are so many islands to choose from, do a bit of research to select the ones that are the best fit for you! Or just stick with Santorini….
How much time to allow: This is a great week to 10-day option, all depending on how much you want to move around and how long you want to spend in Athens. One or two days in Athens is plenty.
About the Blogger
Bozeman local Jackie Laulainen is a travel blogger at www.TheBudgetMindedTraveler.com. After visiting, traveling through, and living in over 35 countries in the last 10 years, she has a thing or two to say about travel tips and advice, which is a subject she does not take lightly! Her mission is to equip and inspire other Americans to travel the world and broaden their horizons through experiencing cultures outside of their own. She has just published her first book “The Aspiring Traveler’s Handbook: A preparation guide to international travel,” a detailed resource which answers many of the questions that come with being a new traveler. The book is now available for purchase on her blog. Besides traveling the world as often as she can, Jackie does freelance web design for small businesses and teaches local adult Spanish classes in Bozeman where she lives with her husband Nate and 100-lb rescue mutt Rami. If there is anything Jackie can help you with in your planning process, please visit her on her blog, or say hi to her on Facebook or Twitter.
Have more questions about international travel? Jackie would love to hear from you. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain