by Rachel Ross
Stretches of sand with sunset mirroring oceans, serene spas, and awe-inspiring elephant sightings … Thailand is a concoction of tradition, tourism, crumbling ancient cities, and stylish, towering rooftop bars. A country of such inimitable experience calls for a guide to some truly unique ways to spend your honeymoon. And so, from blissful luxury to the practical and adventurous, here are the experiences that have made it into our not-so-typical honeymoon guide:
Dizzying Heights on a Chiang Mai Champagne Cruise
For all of those floating-on-love romantics out there, get ready to combine the exhilaration of flying with a view of Thailand’s beautiful scenery. A hot-air balloon journey is the perfect way to maintain that elated high after your wedding day. Lasting an hour and a half, and offered in the northern, mountainous province of Chiang Mai, the dramatic landscape is unquestionably best seen from the clouds.
The slightly chilly air up above is a perfect excuse to cuddle up, and Balloon Adventure Thailand (081 882 4019; www.balloonadventurethailand.com) concludes your voyage with a glass of champagne to ground you on a deliciously classy note.
Couple’s Cooking Class
Thailand is bursting with mouth-watering cooking courses and so, naturally, taking a class makes this list as a must-do. Culinary deities and beginners alike are bound to acquire some tricks about cooking, certainly, and about themselves, most definitely. Classes are an opportunity to learn and work in sync to create something both delicious and new!
There are many schools that offer private culinary experiences aimed at eliminating all stresses, time constraints, or unseen kitchen disasters in order to create the perfect couple’s cooking class. Throw in an exclusive trip to a market to buy the ingredients and authentic Thai kitchenware for a complete culinary experience.
Team up, Solve, and Escape!
Communication, problem solving, decision-making, and cooperation: all crucial components of a successful … murder mystery-solving duo! Out of the Four Seasons frying pan and into Bangkok’s fire; this detective activity calls for your survival instincts and teamwork by giving you just 60 minutes to navigate a confusion of puzzles and clues to escape your very own mystery room.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the Terminal 21 shopping mall, Escape Hunt (02 611 2828; 02 611 2827; www.bangkok.escapehunt.com) is an entertaining and exciting indicator of successful collaboration, or on a lighter note, a gage of how well you can decipher hieroglyphics!
Work that problem solving headache away, because Thailand is so famous for its massage that it would be a crime not to have one, or two … or a whole day’s worth. Honeymoons, despite their escapist reputation, can be a demanding experience, so ensure that plenty of time is put aside for some unadulterated relaxation.
Options are many, from heavenly retreats steeped in history and years of practice, to yoga classes and treatment packages, which are tailored to revitalize and nurture your body, mind and soul. You’re in Thailand, so you won’t have a hard time finding the healing technique that suits you best.
Volunteer with Elephants
Honeymoons come in all forms; a perfect connecting experience doesn’t always need to be centered on you, but instead you can focus on what you do. Volunteering is, in essence, a selfless act of giving. Apply yourselves and lend your skills to a cause you would make a helpful difference to.
Thailand has dozens of volunteering opportunities on offer, spanning Chiang Mai’s mountain roads, range elephant circuses to elephant camps, and then finally, to The Elephant Nature Park (053 272 855; 053 818 932; www.elephantnaturepark.org). This park offers sanctuary to vulnerable dogs, cats and elephants and is open for daily visitors as well as longer voluntary stays. Stay for a week or several to support the sanctuary’s costs; feed, cuddle, bathe, and swim with these truly enchanting creatures while they are at their happiest. Bring the positivity that you create as a couple to help others.
Koh Chang’s Fireflies
Float lazily on a private boat through Koh Chang’s famous mangroves. Beyond doubt this is one of Thailand’s most magical evening sights and is a rare experience best coupled with dreamy handholding and romantic, gently-whispered sweet nothings. These stunning fireflies only come out between November and January, so be sure to catch them at the right time of year.