• Menik Senanayake

10 Hidden Gems in Asia for a Unique & Adventurous Honeymoon

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

1. Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Raja Ampat is an unbelievable honeymoon destination for the endless scope for adventures you can have there. Made up of hundreds of jungle covered islands, limestone pinnacles, lagoons and beautiful beaches, Raja Ampat is an archipelago located on the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. Exploring the ancient rock paintings and caves of Misool Island, birdwatching on Waigeo Island, walking around Batanta and Salawati islands are some of the land-based activities we recommend. If you are a diver, Raja Ampat offers one of the most surreal underwater adventures in South East Asia due to the diversity of marine-life and kaleidoscopic coral reefs. In fact, Conservation International surveys indicate that the marine life diversity in the area is the highest ever recorded on Earth. We picked Kri Eco Resort as our top choice for accommodation. Romantic and remote. What more could anyone want in a honeymoon destination?

2. Kuang Si Falls, Laos

We have Anthony Bourdain to thank for our fascination with Laos. We first fell in love with the country when he featured it on his show Departures. What makes this waterfall a special hiking spot is that it flows into the most beautiful turquoise pool before making its way downstream. Despite the constant stream of visitors, the falls remain pristine perhaps due to the lack of hotels nearby. Worry not, because hotels and Airbnb accommodation can be sourced roughly 29 Kilometers away in the UNESCO protected town of Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang translates to the “city of the Golden Buddha Phra Bang”, which is a statue believed to be the guardian since the 14th century. Visit the Royal Palace Museum which used to be King Sisavang Vong’s residence during the French colonial era. An amalgamation of French Beaux-Arts style and traditional Lao culture, the building is now a museum and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. We recommend staying at the Three Nagas Hotel. This boutique hotel comprises of three century old UNESCO World Heritage buildings.The rooms are modern and showcase traditional Lao crafts. The hotel is eco-friendly and offers guests free bicycles. The hotel is also in a very central location that is a quick taxi ride to the falls as well as a mere 10-minute drive from the airport.

3. Phong Nha, Vietnam

Formed approximately 400 million years ago, the karst mountains of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park should be on your bucket list of places to see on your honeymoon in Vietnam. Designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2003, the Park has hundreds of cave systems and surreal underground rivers. With moss covered rocks leading to mysterious caves that lead to beautiful hidden rivers you can swim in, Phong Nha is a romantic yet off beat honeymoon destination. Don’t miss out on exploring Hang Son Doong, which was declared the biggest cave on the planet in 2009. If a Survivor-Bora Bora adventure isn’t quite your thing, we suggest exploring the nearby tropical jungles and hiking in the mountains. If you are interested in history, learning more about the war history of the region is also an option.We love the rustic wood cabins and peaceful ambience of the Ngyuan Shack Phong Nha Eco resort Getting there is a mini adventure as you need to cross a few paddy fields and a small village. Did we mention that the cabins overlook a lake and an al fresco dinning area?

4. KOH Rong island, Cambodia

We think the island paradise of Koh Rong is worth a visit because it won’t be idyllic for much longer due to the fast paced development taking place.

This is your honeymoon destination if you like the beach party vibe of places like Mirissa. The Koh Touch beach area is lined with plenty of bars, lively little guesthouses, and restaurants. Keep in mind that this area is far from tranquil because the parties defiantly don’t break at sundown. If you want a more laidback expirience, you can’t go wrong with Sok San beach which is a short boat ride away. Stay beachside at the nearby the Royal Sands Koh Rong. The hotel offers luxurious villas with a private beach. You can even see the gulf of Thailand from here. In addition to an amazing spa the hotel offers snorkelling.

5. Iskanderkul Lake Tajikistan

Tajikistan is a destination that is almost indescribable because of its unique landscape of rugged, snowcapped mountains and pristine lakes. In fact, a whopping two percent of the country is covered in lakes. Located in the heart of Central Asia, the country shares borders with Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and China. Although the Pamir highway gets the most amount of tourists for having the second highest highway in the world, we think the Iskanderkul Lake is the most unforgettable thing about the country. According to the legend, it was named after Alexander the Great, known as Iskander in the East. Historians claim that Alexander the Great passed by the lake, as he made his way to India. Of glacial origin and at an altitude of 2,195 meters , the lake is known to be one of the most beautiful in the world. Just a short drive away, The Hyatt Regency, Dushanbe is our top choice of hotel because it is centrally located in the middle of the city while overlooking Lake Komsomol. The parliament building is also within walking distance away. Just remember to request a lake view room when making your booking to ensure you get the most out of your trip.

6. Kashmir and Jammun, India

Hidden in a forest area within the Gulmarg Biosphere Reserve that is 8,825 feet above sea level within the Himalayas, Hotel Khyber is surrounded by unspoilt wildflower meadows and that crisp pine scented air that you can experience in mountains. You have the option of cottages and 85 rooms to choose from. In addition to having the most breathtaking view, the Khyber Spa by L’Occitiane is one of our main reasons for considering this destination and hotel, the crown jewel in our list of honeymoon gems. Whether you want to hit the slopes in the winter, just play golf or or pretend to be Maria from the Sound of Music by having a springtime picnic in a flower field. Regardless of season, we consider this location an excellent choice just because there is always so much to see and experience.

7. Jiuzhaigou, China

The mountain god Dago, gifted his love the goddess Semo, a mirror. Being a deity, his gift was no ordinary mirror as it was made of howling winds and clouds. Then, his rival the devil came causing the mirror to crash to the earth in the struggle. The mirror smashed into 108 pieces that became 108 multicoloured lakes. This is how Jiuzhaigou Valley was created. The valley is a nature park and national reserve in the Min Mountains of the Sichuan Province, Southwestern China. Declared a World Heritage Site and a World Biosphere Reserve it borders the Tibetan Plateau and stretches over 72,000 hectares. Perfect for long hikes, the natural forest covers an area of nearly 30,000 hectares. Kay Deane Bridal requests that you tag us in any selfies taken with forest- dwelling giant pandas and marmots.The magnificent golds and reds of Autumn are best seen in the months of September and October. Stay at the nearby Hilton Jiuzhaigou Resort, which is the first Tibetan cultural themed resort. The hotel is perched on a mountain in parkland. We love how the Tibetan design elements and minimalist architecture merges so harmoniously with the surroundings.

8. Inle lake, Myanmar

Located in the middle of Myanmar, Inle Lake is in the Shan State. The Inle is a shallow lake, over 13.5 miles long and 7 miles wide. The lake is surrounded by floating villages and lush gardens. We suggest taking a boat tour of the lake. Early morning would be the best time to avoid the crowds. Do your research online to ensure you get the best rates, as we found that these change rapidly. If you want something thats more memorable than a mere boat ride on your honeymoon, we recommend you still take a tour of the lake, but from a hot air balloon! We insist on being tagged in the subsequent pics! If you still have energy after all your boating and hot air ballooning adventures, we recommend doing something a little more sedate such as attending a wine tasting in the nearby hills that frame the lake. Enjoy the hospitality of the Amata Garden Resort, Nyaungshwe. The resort is a four star hotel in the Ingyin Gone Village on the eastern side of the lake. We like the serenity of the location that is a result of being the only hotel in the area.

9.The Red Lotus Sea, Thailand

The Red Lotus Sea is located in the northeastern Thai province of Udon Thani. This magical lake of lotuses is 45 kilometres outside of the main city, in the Kumphawapi district. Taxis and even tuk-tuks will get you to the lake, though you can always rent a scooter if you want a bit of an adventure on your honeymoon.

The buds in thousands of variations of pink bloom at the end of the rainy season in January and February. The Red Lotus Sea Festival, is held each year in the middle of January at the nearby temple of Wat Bandiem. Avoid visiting from March to October because the flowers won’t be in bloom within that timeframe. Sunrise to around 11 am is the optimum time to see them at their best. Any later in the day would be pointless because the intensity of the sunlight causes the flowers to close. Stay at the Nonghan Grand Hotel and Resort which is close-by.

10. Kirimatiya, Sri Lanka

Kirimetiya is located just outside Nuwara Eliya. With a cooler climate and unbelievable mountain views, we feel this suburb of Nuwara Eliya is highly underrated. Being tea country, Kirimetiya estate is a must for a hike. There are several Unesco world heritage sites nearby that you could explore. The closest are the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. The added bonus of honeymooning in Sri Lanka is avoiding the hassle of visas and long hours spent on planes. We highly recommend staying at Baulana Estate. The estate was built during colonial times. Boasting a fireplace to ward off the chill, the bungalow has this beautiful atmospheric fog that veils the surroundings at in the evenings. We’ve seen a lot of sunrises in our lives, and think the ones you see from veranda of the cottage are particularly spectacular.

Menik Senanayake is a writer and blogger living in Toronto, Canada. She’s a polyglot who ironically prefers the company of animals over people.You can read her travel stories at lavenderlune.org and follow her on Instagram here.

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