Honeymoon in tantalising Thailand
Think Thailand, says Adele Bennett
If you’re after a honeymoon with coconuts and palm trees, expansive white sand beaches and hot weather to accompany you while you sip on a cocktails or eat delicious exotic food, you can’t do much better thanThailand
Many people head to the country’s largest island Phuket, but it’s Koh Samui that is the less developed, and more exclusive island. Visitors here have access to great dive sites, hikes, boat rides and snorkeling, but for those who prefer to just relax and be pampered in style, there’s an array of top-end hotels and resorts. A big bonus of a trip to Thailand is that your Rand will go far, which is what counts when you’re on holiday.
Koh Samui also has a committed party scene should you want one – there’s the famed full-moon party, and now half-moon and even black-moon party. There are lounge clubs, bars, discos and Thai boxing. On the island, back-packers co-exist happily with top end resorts.
The uber-luxury hotels like The Four Seasons and Banyan Tree tend to be isolated, but there are some more accessible upmarket places like Centara Grand Resort, which is not so off the beaten track, and offers direct access to the ocean as well as to shops and restaurants on the strip in Chaweng. (Chaweng is the Samui version of Patong beach in Phuket, and it is possibly the most popular resort town on the island, along with Bophut and Lamai.)
Every room in the Centara Grand is seafacing so you awaken to the sea. The sublime large blue swimming pool is a showstopper, too, and unlike most other hotels in Chaweng, the beach is quite private. For honeymooners who prefer more privacy, there are sunbeds in the garden, as well as on the beach. There’s also a small bamboo hut on the expansive grounds where couples can enjoy a private dinner for two.
Every year, 20 to 30 couples get married on the hotel grounds, either on the beautiful lawn or next to the ocean on the beach. The ceremony itself costs about 50,000 baht (that puts the cost of the wedding ceremony at about R25 000). You can personalise the arrangements, and negotiate. Couples who get married at Centara Grand are mainly from the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Asia and Japan, although a few South African couples have also said their vows on the lush property.
The spa is also a delight, and a great place to go once you’ve had your fill of sunbathing and spending time in the sea. It’s an holistic spa, and treatments are geared towards natural products. They also offer couples’ massages.
Breakfasts are sumptuous affairs at the Centara Grand with abundance of colourful fresh fruit. During the day, one can order refreshing drinks from the pool bar without even getting out of the pool. There’s also a sophisticated bar next to the elegant reception area. In addition, there’s 24-hour room service, so you never have to want for anything.
The Coast Beach Restaurant & Bar is one of the more stylish restaurants in Chaweng. It features sunken beds facing the sea for privacy, which is great for honeymoon couples. And when choosing accommodation, remember – the huge Royal Suite is something special, but all the larger rooms have a separate living room as well.
If you’re not taking the honeymoon package but staying at the hotel for your honeymoon, just provide your marriage certificate and you will get a special welcome with flowers and petals strewn in your room and on your bed.
There is plenty to do without having to leave the hotel. Aside from numerous water sports, you can also do a course in Thai cooking course. It’s not only fun, but you can learn to make all sorts of exciting traditional dishes like Tom Yam Goong (spicy soup with prawn & lemongrass), and Gaeng Phed Ped Yang (roasted duck in red curry). If you prefer, there are several cooking schools on the island, the most popular of which is the Samui Institute of Thai Cullinary Arts.
Note: Adele Bennett, who wrote the Honeymoon piece on Thailand for Nubian Bride, also writes for the following websites : www.inatholl.co.za, www.inbryanston.co.za and www.intheparks.co.za. They are part of a growing number of community websites that offer information about what’s going on in their respective neighbourhoods and beyond: where to go, what to do, restaurants and places to take the kids. Take a look!