Thailand has created this fine balance of affordability and high luxury, which ticks so many boxes for travellers – especially honeymooners. Finding this line between luxury, price, adventure and romance that really suits our travel style is quite hard. But not in Thailand.
The sense of adventure is still very much part of visiting Thailand; words like grit and chaos, culture, history and natural beauty have always drawn travellers here, and these elements are still easy to find. But these days, you can add words like romance and luxury to the list too.
The only problem is deciding where to go. There are just so many options. Here’s our recommendation for a honeymoon in Thailand that won’t break the bank.
From our recent adventure to the Land of Smiles, we’ve put together the ultimate romantic itinerary perfect for a honeymoon or journey with love as the priority.
Romantic Thailand – a city and beach honeymoon itinerary
A city and beach honeymoon itinerary – at a glance
Of course, it all depends on how much time you have for your holiday or honeymoon. This itinerary is only a guide but would work well for a two-week trip.
Here’s a rundown of where to stay:
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 1-2 night stopover
Berjaya Times Square – at the heart of Malaysia’s capital.
Bangkok, Thailand – 3-4 nights
Centara Grand at Centralworld – luxury in one of the world’s busiest cities.
Phuket, Thailand – 5-7 nights
Sala Resort and Spa – the luxe beach retreat dreams are made of.
A city and beach honeymoon itinerary – in detail
Here’s our more detailed account of what to do, where to go and – most importantly – where to stay.
We flew with AirAsia from Sydney, and I must say we were impressed. Yes, it’s a budget airline, so there are fewer frills available, but there’s a great option to upgrade to the flatlay beds.
These seats made the flight to Kuala Lumpur go much quicker, and the price point isn’t much different from regular economy seats on other full-service airlines.
There’s also a quiet section near the front of the plane just behind the flatlay section. I think this is a brilliant idea, which other airlines should adopt.
FYI, you can upgrade your seat to flatlay any time you want (availability permitting) and it still works out cheaper than most other economy seats.
The stop in KL is an opportunity to explore Malaysia’s capital that you shouldn’t miss. It’s a city of pure life and culture, and it will get you right in the mood for Bangkok!
Kuala Lumpur – 1-2 nights
We stayed at the Berjaya Times Square – a superbly located hotel with the best of KL right on your doorstep and less than an hour from the airport, which isn’t bad for KL.
You can see the Petronas Towers from the pool, the biggest rooftop pool in the city, from breakfast and even from your room if you’re on the right side of the building.
Rooms are large – some of the largest in the city in fact – and comfortable. Our bed was surprisingly hard but even more surprisingly provided me with the best night’s sleep of our trip.
Because this hotel is based on the American hotel formula, everything is well designed, well catered and well staffed. The breakfast here is excellent, concierge is extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and there’s plenty of space.
Considering the Berjaya’s proximity to KL’s nightlife, the hotel’s restaurants and bars are surprisingly busy; high guest retention is always a good sign.
KL – what to do and where to eat
Kuala Lumpur is a big city, but you don’t have to go far to find everything. From the Berjaya, which is in fact on top of a shopping centre, you can walk to some amazing food streets like Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor… but with so much food around you, you’re really spoilt for choice.
Our concierge told us to go up the road to Kafetaria Ikhwan for roti. It’s pretty rough around the edges, but it’s popular with the locals, and for good reason. The food experience isn’t to be missed.
The fare in the food courts in all the shopping centres is well worth a look too, and for bars, there are plenty in KL. You don’t have to look hard to find a cool spot for a drink.
There’s everything here from jazz bars like No Black Tie, gritty street bars and eateries, rooftop bars like the one at Traders Hotel called simply SkyBar. Be aware that some of the eateries – like Kafetaria Ikhwan – are Muslim, which means no booze. Instead go for a hot coffee with milk. It’s the best!
Walk to the KL City Centre Park
This park is where the famous Petronas Towers are. The park’s beautiful and – if it’s not too hot – well worth a stroll around. When we were there it was too hot, so we dodged into the Traders Hotel for a drink at SkyBar. It’s part of the hotel’s pool complex and has great views out over the park and of the towers.
The concierge of the Hyatt next to Traders recommended this museum and it proved to be fascinating. The art, architecture and artefacts here are beautiful and so well presented. You could spend a day just in here, but a quick half-hour look is also worthwhile.
The largest free-flying bird sanctuary in… well, that I’ve ever seen. If you enjoy spending time spotting our feathered friends, you won’t get much better than this.
Also, watch out for monkeys in the trees near the car park. They’re everywhere – and they’re very naughty!
Bangkok – 3-4 days
The Centara Grand is right in the heart of the shopping district, so if you feel the need for retail therapy, you can’t get better than this.
We actually fell in love with this hotel years ago without even staying here; at the top of the Centara Grand is Red Sky – the rooftop bar that started our love affair with high-altitude cocktails.
From here, you’ve got some of the best views over the city. We love Red Sky and go here every time we’re in Bangkok.
Rooms in the Centara are spacious and high-end with enormous beds and generous bathroom suites. There’s a huge range of room types too, so there’s bound to be something here to suit your needs.
You have to try out the rooftop pool while you’re here, which looks out over the city, and the hotel spa, Cenvaree – has some amazing treatments available.
For dinner, if you don’t feel like venturing into the wilds of the Bangkok night and you’re looking for somewhere special, try Uno Mas Restaurant. It’s where people from all over the city come to dine.
Uno Mas isn’t what you’d call a traditional Thai restaurant… in that it’s Spanish. But my goodness, what food!
Catalan-born Head Chef Joan Tanya Dot has tirelessly sourced ingredients from his homeland to create incredible Spanish dishes in the heart of Thailand that are authentic, opulent and delicious.
What to do and where to go
The list of things to do and places to go in Bangkok is endless and is only getting longer. Bearing that in mind, here are a few ideas of things to do in Bangkok:
- Explore temples
- Catch at least 1 tuk tuk
- Visit the reclining Buddha, which is only about 30 minutes from the Centara Grand.
- Visit the Grand Palace – and ignore your taxi driver if he tells you it’s closed
- Shop in the malls
- Find as many markets as you can and enjoy the bustle and shove
- Visit the Chatuchak weekend markets (wear comfy shoes!)
- Visit the Pratunam Market – a wholesale clothing market
- Take a ferry along the Chao Phraya River
- Visit the Khao San Road
- Eat everything – especially these: they’re called khanom krok and they’re amazing. Roughly translated it means ‘coconut pudding or sweet’. Made from coconut, condensed milk and other little bits of flavour magic!
Phuket – 5-6 days
Phuket – Thailand’s largest island – is about an hour’s plane ride from the capital. With its beaches and more laid-back outlook, Phuket is the beach retreat you need after a week of Bangkok.
To take things a step further, head to the once-remote northwest region of Mai Khao Beach. This is one of the Thai national parks, so it’s still not very busy.
If you’re looking for a romantic beach retreat to end your trip, you can’t get much better or more stylish than Sala. This place oozes relaxed sophistication and luxury.
Sala is in the northwest of Phuket on Mai Khao Beach, which is much quieter and romantic than the beaches further south.
There are 7 different room types available – and only one of those types without its own private pool. The villas are all walled too, so it’s clear it’s all about privacy, romance and luxury here.
The theme of privacy, styling, luxury and romance expands to the other guest facilities at Sala too. There are two large pools to enjoy next to the beach and close to the bar, a spa and 2 restaurants.
The pool bar has a deck with couple-sized daybeds, so reclining with a happy hour cocktail to watch the sun go down over the ocean isn’t a bad idea.
Here’s our full review of Sala Resort and Spa and also our walk-through video of some of the amazing rooms you can get here:
For food, there are a few options – though there’s never going to be quite as many as in Bangkok. The beach restaurant offers a good range of Thai food, as does the beachfront bar. You can also organise dinner on the roof of the resort or in your own villa.
We ate at the beach restaurant one night and totally over-ordered… but don’t worry, we ate it all!
What to do and where to go
The focus of staying in the Mai Khao area – and especially at the Sala – is relaxation and romance. Spending time with your loved one at the beach or by your own pool is a huge part of it.
- to the right of Sala on the road along the beach is a little row of eateries that serve good Thai food without any of the bells and whistles of the resort. They look kind of crappy but they’re not bad.
- organise a trip with the Sala staff. There are fishing, diving and boat trips available.
- if you’re into golf, there are some world class courses here in Phuket.
- walk up the beach – there are a few other resorts along the beach worth spying on! You can also drink at their bars and eat at their restaurants if you want.
On the way home
Flying back through KL, you might find yourself waiting a while for your connecting flight. If you don’t have enough time or energy to schlep all the way into town again, here’s what to do at the airport.
If – like us – you’re flying AirAsia, you’ll be landing in the newer of the two Kuala Lumpur terminals, KLIA2.
KLIA2 has so much to do you could spend all day here and not get bored. Billed as a shopping mall with an airport attached, there’s shopping and eating galore here.
We also took advantage of the world’s only non-affiliated airport lounge – Premium Plaza Lounge. For a fee of about AU$55 you can use the lounge facilities and for a bit more, you can book a bedroom for a nap. This is all on the other side of customs, so you need to exit the departure area of the airport first.
If you want something more substantial than the food in the lounge, there’s a world of food waiting for you. We couldn’t choose one cuisine, so we tried out the fare at Green Market. This place is a fusion eatery of Japanese, Korean and local food. It’s excellent.
Through customs back in the departures lounge, The Bar is a great little spot for a refresher and behind it, tucked away, is the Wellness Spa, offering massages, reflexology and other pampering services.
Their rates are surprisingly reasonable, and for the cost of one of the best shoulder and back massages I’ve had, you also have access to the snack station, bar and TV lounge.
So tell us, have you been to Thailand or Malaysia? What would you add on or take away from this itinerary? Tell us in the comments!