There is something quite poetic about a honeymoon. Whether you’re waved away by your guests as you leave on your wedding night, or if your departure is somewhat belated due to life or circumstance, there is a certain romance that walks hand in hand when one goes on their honeymoon.
And why not!? It’s the celebration of your unity, your next step as a married couple, and if that isn’t a cause for cheer, I don’t know what is! So your honeymoon should reflect you as a couple, and forget about what the ‘norm’ is. Head to the location you’ve been lusting over!
There was no cause for debate about where my husband and I would be heading for our jaunt – we’d been dreaming about Vietnam and Malaysia for months before we were engaged, and finally, we didn’t need an excuse!
For us, it was the allure of the hustle and bustle , the heat, the food, the prices and of course, the sights. Ok, shopping was on the list too, but it wasn’t at the top (no really, it wasn’t!). I think some of our friends were surprised that we weren’t heading to a resort on a beach somewhere but, as I said, that just wasn’t us.
Turns out, we got plenty of time on a beach in a resort, in two beautiful parts of Vietnam. My Aunt, who lives and works in Vietnam, gave us a two-night stay at the Seahorse Resort & Spa in Mui Ne as our wedding present, which was just fantastic. We did find, however, that as the area was solely focused on lounging around the pool and beach, we started to get itchy feet to see the rest of Vietnam. The two nights there were just right.
The other beachside location was the beautiful Hoi An, where we stayed in the renowned Hoi An Historic Hotel. Talk about pampered! This place was practically a palace! Hoi An is the clothing capital of Vietnam, where hundreds of tailors compete for your business, producing hand-made pieces at great prices. It also has a bustling night-life, and we found a great little bar, Mango Rooms, which makes a killer cocktail, and claims to have served Mick Jagger (it’s on a plaque!).
We also took in the crazy Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, as the locals call it. It’s non-stop, and was a great crash-course in all things Vietnamese. How to cross the road without being run over several times, how to haggle with grace, and how to cope with the heat!
We enjoyed a memorable cruise on the unimaginably picturesque Halong Bay, memorable not only for the majestic formations jutting out from the deep blue waters, but also the sounds of the terrible karaoke that floated across the bay each night.
Hanoi was my absolute favourite, with a stimulating mix of cultures all in one place, represented in the architecture, food and shops. We stayed in the ‘Old Quarter”, at Joseph’s Hotel, just behind the gothic cathedral that dominates the square in the heart of the quarter. Just amazing. I wandered small streets, finding a mix of artisans selling their wares, with unique clothing and homewares that just screamed “buy me!”. It was a true artists city, and we lapped it up.
On both ends of our trip to Vietnam, we stayed in Kuala Lumpur, at the luxurious Traders Hotel. This was our nod to the pampering that people had suggested we shouldn’t miss out on, and I’m so glad we went. This hotel is a Shangri-La property, and my word, they know service. I also have never eaten so much at breakfast than I did each morning of our stay at Traders. They had a breakfast buffet that represents about 15 different cultures, and I’m not ashamed to say that I made it a personal challenge to try each one. What I loved about KL was the unabashed use of colour in everything, from the food to the fashion. I often find it hard to get colour into my wardrobe in Melbourne, but the Malaysians had me covered. This is where I shopped with gusto!
The last night of our honeymoon will always stay with me. We hadn’t realized that it was Malaysia Day, and that on this special national holiday, there is a spectacular fireworks display in the botanic gardens, outside Traders Hotel!!!!! We were on the 34th floor, overlooking the gardens, and it was pure magic. I still get a little teary thinking about how perfect it was, because it felt like the sky was sparkling just for us.
All photos by Ms Herringbone (and a few pinched from her husband)!