[Wanderlust Tips July 2018] The wedding season is approaching, so it is time for couples to make plans for their weddings and honeymoon. What do lovebirds expect for their sweet holidays together? Go snorkeling in the tropical island of Koh Samet, discover the ancient fairy castle in Schwerin, Germany, or watch the incredible peaceful scenery on the streets of the ancient capital of Luang Prabang. Wanderlust Tips magazine will suggest the 3 perfect destinations for a memorable romantic honeymoon.
LUANG PRABANG – THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF THE LAND OF A MILLION ELEPHANTS
Honeymoon is a relaxing time for a young couple who have just gotten married, also a milestone in their lives. Some choose noisy and gaudy destinations that are full of entertainment services.
Others prefer peaceful places with vast natural spaces to find true get aways. Though Luang Prabang is not strong in tourism services, it always has special attractions for visitors with its sacred pagodas, ancient architecture, and simple life. In that space, all fatigues of life will give way to the peace and balance in the soul.
Luang Prabang was the capital of Lao kingdom from the 14th century to 1975. Today, it is a city in Luang Prabang province and recognized by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage. It is about 425kilometres north of Vientiane, by the Mekong River.
The attraction of this old capital is the peaceful beauty hidden in its scenery, architecture, and everyday life. A lot of monks in orange robes going begging for food through ancient streets in the early morning is probably the most typical image of Luang Prabang.
From the top of Phou Si, you can admire the panoramic view of the capital and the bridge crossing the Mekong River. The best time to enjoy that picturesque view is at dawn or sunset. In Luang Prabang, you should visit Kuang Sicay waterfall, 30kilometres from the city centre. This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Laos with small waterfalls and streams hidden amidst the green rainforest.
From Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you can take a flight to Luang Prabang. Currently, there are many airlines operating flights to Luang Prabang such as Lao Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Jetstar Pacific Airlines. You can also travel by long-distance buses to Vientiane, and then go to Luang Prabang. The buses depart at 8am, 9am, and 8pm. Ticket prices are from LAK120,000(about VND340,000), and the journey takes about 10hours.
Going on a cruise on the Mekong River, watching the sunset on Mount Phou Si, visiting the royal palace, witnessing the alms-giving ceremony of the monks are all experiences you should try when visiting Luang Prabang. Visitors can also climb to the top of Phou Si to see a panoramic view of the city, visit traditional silk shop Ock Pop Tok to learn how to make Laos silk, or drive away from the centre, about 30kilometres, to admire the Kuang Si waterfall. Do not forget to experience elephant riding in the Elephant Park, which is located about 15kilometres from the city. It takes about 4-3hours to reach the Vam Khammu village. Travellers can try elephant riding and learn about the daily life and unique culture of ethnic minorities.
Local specialties are sold in many places in the city; they are all quite tasty and affordable. Besides, Lao coffee is well-known as one of the world›s best drinks. Go to a pretty little café with your beloved one and sip a cup of coffee which is very famous and expensive in the ancient capital. Along the banks of the Mekong River, there are also many restaurants combining Lao and French cuisine.
Unlike any other market, Luang Prabang night market is filled with silver souvenirs and traditional items. Or you can find other interesting gifts in Hmong market. It is open during the day and has lots of paintings of the city of local artists.
KOH SAMET – A SPLENDID TROPICAL ISLAND IN THAILAND
Thailand appeals to visitors because of a variety of cultural and historical attractions, natural wonders, pristine white beaches, excellent cuisine, and friendly locals. For these reasons, many couples have chosen the Land of Golden Pagodas for their honeymoon to enjoy cultural adventures and admire the breathtaking natural scenery.
Besides Phuket or Krabi, Koh Samet is also an ideal destination for travelling couples. It is a charming, tropical island in Rayong, Southeast Thailand, located on the way from Pattaya to Koh Chang Island. The-13square-kilometre island is only 220kilometres away from Bangkok (1hour by boat), and Koh Samet has become popular because of its untouched beauty.
Koh Samet appears so pristine with its small wooden houses under the trees. Every little path leads to the sea. Under the shade of coconut trees, you can see the smooth white sandy beach; the crystal clear colour of the sea mixed with the golden colour of sunlight so gorgeous that it captivates all visitors. The beach in Koh Samet is not very long, it is separated by the cliffs protruding far out into the sea. The name “Koh Samet” is derived from the paperbark tree called “Samet” grown on the island. Currently, this island belongs to Mu Ko Samet National Park – Khao Laem Ya. In addition to the pristine charm and beautiful year-round weather, Koh Samet is home to many kinds of animals including monkeys, hornbills, gibbons, and butterflies.
To get here, you must book flights to Bangkok. After arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport, take a bus to Rayong pier, it will take you about 4hours. Bus ticket are 160bath (about VND105,000). Every day, you can take buses from the airport to Rayong pier which depart every hour.. When you arrive at Rayong pier, buy a ticket to Koh Samet Island. It takes about 45minutes by boat and the round fare ticket is 100bath (about VND65,000).
If you do not want to go straight to Koh Samet Island from the airport but wish to explore Bangkok first, you can choose to take a taxi at Ekkamai Bus Station, where tickets to Koh Samet Island are also sold.
An exciting honeymoon should include activities you two can enjoy together. The main attractions on Koh Samet are beaches and water activities. There are many splendid private beaches which has made Koh Samet a popular destination in Thailand. You should try sunbathing, swimming, or taking part in water sports like banana boat trips. You should rent a motorbike to drive to the west coast to admire the sunset or explore the mountain and visit some attractions like the temples.
Restaurants on Koh Samet offer a variety of cuisines including Thai and international dishes. The food here is more expensive than that on land because it is transported from land to the island. Sometimes, the restaurant has two menus, one for tourists, one for Thai people, and each menu has different prices.
Koh Samet is not a place for shopping, there aren’t even markets like other islands in Thailand. Most of the goods will be sold on the seashore. However, there are a number of souvenir shops and convenience stores near the pier in Ban Phe and popular beaches in Koh Samet.
SCHWERIN- FAIRYTALE CASTLES OF GERMANY
The bustling Schwerin city is the capital of Mecklenburg-Vorpommernstate state, Germany. The beautiful northern city features adorable streets and an unforgettable romantic landscape. If Rome is known as the “City on Seven Hills”, Schwerin is often referred to as the “City on Seven Lakes”. This place looks like a graceful and romantic island which features wonderful ambience when it is surrounded by water.
Schwerin was so lucky that it was not affected by World War II. Therefore, remains of the old city are still intact. Take a stroll along narrow streets and uphill-downhill roads paved with thousands of tiny stones, passing through the ancient houses designed with European-inspired motifs, you will see so many joyful faces, not cold and full of suspicion like the typical expression of people living in the capital. All will bring you a sense of nostalgia that you hardly find anywhere else. Right in the heart of the city, the Old Garden (Alter Garten) is an area where Schwerin›s most important buildings are located: the castle, the theater, the museum.
The Neuschwanstein Castle, built by King Ludwig II Bravia in the 19th century, welcomes about 1.3million visitors a year. Situated on a small islet in the picturesque Lake Schwerin, the palace is also known as Schwerin Castle, considered as a symbol of European architecture, culture, and history. Featuring magnificent halls, elaborately decorated rooms, and luxury interiors, the castle is the elegant combination of typical European schools of architecture and art described in fairy tales and romance novels. On his trip to Europe, Walt Disney and his wife Lillian visited this castle and fell in love with its fairy beauty. Later, this castle became the model of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. Neuschwanstein Castle is also the background of many fairy tale films. Besides this fairytale castle, Schwerin is also a fascinating city with many places to visit.
It is rare to find another city which is famous for its lakes like Schwerin. The 12lakes surrounding the city create a wealth of tourist attractions and diverse water activities. The deep blue and quiet lake at the centre of Schwerin has an area of 61.54square kilometres and a depth of more than 52metres. A canal built in the 16th century connected this lake with the Baltic Sea.
You can travel by RE train (the Regional-Express stops quite often at every station and connects with the ICE high-speed train). The RE train from Berlin station to Schwerin station takes about 2hours 34minutes. On average, every 2hours, a direct train will depart. Public transport in Schwerin features a very convenient bus and tram network. There is also a special tourist bus next to the City Hall. However, it is recommended to take a walk to explore the city centre because there are many interesting destinations there.
Schwerin, a beautiful and peaceful city, is suitable for honeymooners. There are so many fascinating things for visitors to explore. Take a stroll around the city, visit magnificent castles and famous museums, or take a tandem bicycle to explore Schwerin. The city offers 26routes for bicycle tours such as Von Schwerin in die Lewitz, Flessenow Schwerin, Wasser- und Schlössertour, etc. Or you can admire the city on a boat through the lakes.
You can enjoy Schweriner beer at any local bar or restaurant, it is flavored to taste like black bread.Many people love this drink because of its unique flavor that has remained unchanged over the years. In addition, breaded meatballs Frikadellen served with eggs and bread are very delicious. Every food in Schwerin is deep fried until it turns crisp golden brown. You can find this dish at fast food stalls, usually served with sauces and mustard, and the price is very affordable, at about EUR2-3(about VND54,000per portion).
In Schwerin, there are so many things that you can choose as gifts for your relatives or friends. Handmade silk fabrics, silver bracelets, jewelry, or pottery are all favourite products to tourists. In addition, Schwerin has large shopping malls, for example Marienplatz, so you can enjoy shopping.
Oanh Kim | Wanderlust Tips