Real honeymoon: Laos and Thailand

Today, Camilla, who works for Scott Dunn, is sharing her fabulous sounding honeymoon to Laos (one of my favourite places) and Thailand. If this tickles your fancy, Scott Dunn can put together a similar honeymoon trip from £3,250 per person, including accommodation, flights and transfers.

I had completely underestimated the tiredness that would overwhelm me after my wedding day. The whole build up and day itself was one emotional rollercoaster but, albeit the best day of my life, I was really ready for our honeymoon – not only to unwind, relax and reflect on our wedding but as a perfect opportunity to explore and travel with my new husband. After much debate, we settled for Laos and Thailand. It seemed the ideal combination of relaxation, culture and beach without breaking the bank.

On arriving in Luang Prabang we were greeted by a fabulous vintage car to take us to our first hotel – this really was arriving in style and boded well for the rest of our trip. Hotel de la Paix was perfect; an oasis of calm with stunning gardens, a tranquil spa, beautiful pool and gorgeous rooms. We spent the first couple of days lounging by the pool and enjoying the spa before heading out in the evenings to enjoy delicious Laos cuisine in quaint little restaurants on the banks of the Mekong river. The night market was great fun with bustling stalls bursting with colour and character. Being a UNESCO World Heritage site, Luang Prabang is full of charm and history.

It was a joy to wander around. Our Lao cooking class was a highlight; we were taken into the local market to buy the ingredients before heading back to the hotel to cook some traditional delicacies. I have returned full of enthusiasm to cook spicy broths and ground meat stuffed with herbs and spices! On our final day, we woke early to witness the orange-robed monks proceeding through the town in silence receiving arms; a fascinating and humbling sight.

The following two days was spent serenely drifting along the Mekong in a traditional Lao boat cruising onwards to Thailand. There was plenty of local life and people both on the river and on the banks washing, drying their clothes and even panning for gold.
Up in Northern Thailand, we arrived at Anantara Golden Triangle. The first morning, we awoke to the sounds of the mahout’s washing the elephants in the valley below our room. At breakfast an elephant even came and joined us by our table where we fed her huge bunches of bananas.

Anantara is a unique place with gorgeous views over the valley, here we sat by the pool and soaked in the beautiful surroundings but also enjoyed cycling around the property watching the elephants munching through the undergrowth and even visited the nearby Opium Museum to learn about the complicated history of this northern region. Our day ‘Mahout training’ was fantastic, we sat on the elephants throwing water over them as they bathed in the river; it was a real insight into a Mahout’s life devoted to their elephants.

The final stop was the Anantara Rasanada on the island of Koh Phangan. Our room was set right on the beach with our own private plunge pool overlooking the clear sea; it was private and felt very romantic. What I enjoyed the most about Rasanada was being able to wonder from the hotel into the village to eat Thai curries from the small local restaurants, treat ourselves to Thai massages for just £4 an hour and hire mopeds to explore the island. The hotel offered the amazing comfort and luxury, but the location meant we were able to see and experience the real Thailand as well.

We left by speedboat back to Koh Samui airport with a huge desire to return to see more of what this part of the world offers. It might have to be a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for our first anniversary!

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