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The Polka Dot Travel Lounge welcomes Annapurna to our list of well regarded travel experts. Annapurna is a talented writer and photographer. She is the co-founder of ROAM Magazine and a regular contributor to Travelettes. Her focus is on people, culture and capturing a sense of place. Her passion for travel has taken her to over 50 countries but as she says “my heart belongs in Asia.” Check our Annapurna’s amazing talent behind the lens on her Instagram page and read on to get the scoop on some of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world.

What is your favourite region?

South Asia – India, Nepal, Myanmar and particularly the Himalayas  – is my favourite part of the world. I feel a strong connection to the mountains, the way of life and the people in this part of the world. I keep going back and I know I will continue to do so throughout my life. You can travel in India for six months and barely scratch the surface.

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Top resort recommendation

I’ve only stayed in a few resorts around the world, but one which really stood out to me was the Kempinski Dead Sea Resort in Jordan.

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It’s located right on the Dead Sea, with a private beach overlooking the mountains of Israel across the bay. It’s got a series of incredible infinity pools and the food on offer is delicious! Jordan would really be a great country to honeymoon in – not only does it have incredible resorts, but you can visit Petra, drive through the Wadi Rum desert and experience Bedouin culture.

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Suggestions for great honeymoon activities

I think road tripping is an ideal way to travel for a honeymoon. Not only will you get to spend lots of time together, but you can see much more of a destination, at your own pace. Pick a country- somewhere like Iceland, the USA or Spain are perfect, and just drive. I guarantee you’ll bump into some weird and wonderful situations and create memories together you’ll always remember.

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The ideal location for a proposal

When I was trekking in the Nepali Himalayas, we met a young couple on the way up to ‘Annapurna Base Camp’ and when we finally reached base camp he proposed to her under the Himalayan mountains. If you are adventurous, what could be more perfect! I heard they were planning to get married in Sri Lanka a few months later – sounds ideal to me!

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Best kept secret honeymoon location

When I think of honeymoons, I think of having secret paradise beaches all to yourself. While places like the Maldives might be full of honeymooners, there are plenty of places which are equally as “white sand-turquoise sea” perfect which are a little more off the beaten track. In South India, places like Marari Beach is absolute heaven without the crowds. There’s also tons of stuff to do around here, you can day trip to Kochi, the Allappey backwaters or head up to the tea plantations of Munnar.

Over in Thailand, the Trang Islands are only a couple of hours boat ride from popular spots like Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe, yet they see far fewer tourists. I visited Koh Muk, a lush white sand beach, lots of authentic Thai food and some of the best snorkelling in the country!

Images by Annapurna

Ms Chinoiserie Says: Your best kept secrets are so inspiring – and captivating; South Asia always amazes me!

Polka Dot Honeymoons Directory Mid Banner

When you think of the Whitsundays, images of sipping cocktails and sitting poolside in complete honeymoon bliss instantly come to mind – but there are so many more exciting adventures for the daredevil to the explorer at heart to experience that we had to showcase the top adventures in the Whitsundays so you could see for yourself!

Snorkelling & Scuba Diving – being a part of the seven wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is on every adventurer’s dive list! What a way to view the mystery and beauty that lies beneath the water! You have the option of joining a sailing trip or attending one of the dive schools in Airlie Beach to take you on a leisurely snorkel or transport you to one of the many dive sites located in the area. To find out more contact Tourism Whitsundays – they can point you in the right direction!

Skydiving Airlie Beach – what better way to take in the Whitsundays than from a bird’s eye view! For the ultimate thrill seeker, experience a free fall at over 200 kilometres/hour for up to 60 seconds. The canopy will then inflate and you will glide across the blue skies taking in all tropical beauty that is Whitsundays for up to seven minutes before your feet hit the sandy white beach. Whether you are a first timer or with a group, tandem skydiving is a great way to experience flying like a bird with your beloved or your best friends pre or post wedding celebration! Check out Skydive Airlie Beach.

Jetski Tours – with one of three tours departing from Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach, zoom out on the open waters up to a speed of 30 knots and chase the waves in this world heritage marine park. Grab your husband and head out to explore either Pioneer Bay, South Molle Island or Daydream Island for an adventure filled experience! Look out for the array of animals such as sea turtles, dugongs and sea birds – what a treat! Check out Jetski Tours.

Sailing – hit the high seas and charter a boat filled with delicious food hampers, iced champagne and fresh seafood as you sail off into the blue horizon till the sun sets on a magical day. Lady Enid will take you on a tour of the stunning Whitsundays from Tongue Bay and Hill Inlet with views of the swirling white sand amongst the turquoise waters before heading onto Betty’s Beach at Whitehaven. Here’s a fun fact – did you know the sand at Whitehaven is 98% pure silica which is perfect for polishing your jewellery back to life as well as exfoliating your skin! Every girl’s dream destination!

Helicopters – what could be more romantic than to fly over the famous Heart Reef in an iconic local red helicopter. Located approximately 85 kilometres from Airlie Beach within the Great Barrier Reef, this beautiful naturally formed creation is a sight to see surrounded by shades of blue and turquoise waters. When flying overhead, you have the best views to spot an abundance of sea life such as stingrays, dolphins, turtles, whales and sharks. Complete your flight over the heart reef with a stop off at Whitehaven Beach for a private picnic and watch the world go by in paradise! Check out Fly Heart Reef.

Ms Liberty travelled to the Whitsundays courtesy of Tourism Whitsundays.

Images via Tourism Whitsundays.

Crystal & Travis

Bali is always one of the first places many Aussies think of when they think holiday, and it makes sense that if you’re looking for a beautiful destination wedding locale that is but a hop, skip and s jump away, then Bali would be your first port of call. Crystal and Travis had originally planned for a snow filled wedding in Queenstown, New Zealand but chose the holiday vibes of this South Asian country instead so they could celebrate with their family and friends. Bird On The Wall Photography was there to capture their glorious day.

The way these two met was surely left to a higher power, Crystal remembering “Travis works away and we met the night he flew in and on the exact day I had decided to accept a twelve-month contract up in Darwin which saw me leaving Perth in only 3 weeks’ time. Our first week, in all honesty, is a blur, I was leaving and Trav was back to work the following Monday so we both kind of figured well this person is a bit alright so let’s just have a great time while we have it and then go our separate ways. Well by the time it came to leave and drive up to Darwin Trav had decided I wasn’t going alone & we spent the next six straight make or break days in a car together and that was us set, we were a team. Just over a year later I proposed to Trav (he loves an unorthodox approach thankfully) & another year later we’re married and expecting our first baby.”

The bride wore a long sleeve lace gown designed by Martina Liana . She tells “Initially we were going to elope and get married in the dead of winter in Queenstown NZ so I purchased my dress with this is mind, long sleeved and full lace. I really didn’t have a set idea of what I wanted and only ever went on one dress shopping expedition, tried on 3 dresses in one store and just loved everything about the third one I tried. I felt glamorous in it and comfortable and even after the dramatic location change (Queenstown to Bali) I never once wanted to change my dress and I guess I built our “theme” around the image I felt the dress conjured up, simple & timeless.”

Crystal and Travis chose The Edge  for their wedding, the bride noting “When we decided on Bali we initially wanted to look at hiring a private villa and doing something on the grounds within the time of our stay. It became obvious though early on that with this option you would have to hire a wedding planner and I just simply didn’t want to go down that path as I was worried about an array of advice and input I would quickly exceed our budget and end up thinking I wanted something far more extravagant than what we had agreed on. I then looked for package options that best suited us and that’s when I came across The Edge Uluwatu. What we loved (aside from the truly private stunning venue) was that the package was flexible, just so incredibly accommodating and all aspects truly exceeded our expectations.”

The bride walked down the aisle to her father’s voice. She explains “I asked my dad to choose a song as he played the guitar & sang while I walked down the aisle, he choose My Little Girl by Tim McGraw.”

Of their photographer, Crystal remarks “Mel from Bird On The Wall is just gorgeous. Her work is raw and organic and we adore the woman as much as her work. We loved her style and the fact she was so willing to come to Bali and capture not only our wedding day but the few days leading up to the wedding and then the registry office back here in Perth. We were very relaxed regarding our itinerary of things and didn’t actually have any set directions for her as we just wanted her to do her thing and capture people in candid form and have fun with the day. She is a total sweetheart and has a true passion for her job and provides a truly outstanding service.”

“I never had a theme and had a desire to keep it as uncomplicated as possible for myself so details were kept to an absolute minimum (I really did just want to feel like I was on holiday and stumbled into my own wedding, which I was relatively successful at). We just wanted to make sure we spent as much time as possible with each other and we were equally involved which we did absolutely achieve.”

“We didn’t actually have the first dance, we talked about a first dance and had good intentions to organise one but two months before the wedding we found out we were pregnant so all those types of formalities that we weren’t too bothered about anyhow just got forgotten. We did dance a somewhat “first dance” together as my brother in law was appalled we didn’t have one so he quickly organised something and it all worked out wonderfully in the end.”

Congratulations on your marriage Crystal and Travis! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us! Thank you also to Bird On The Wall Photography for sharing today’s celebration!

Photographer: Bird On The Wall Photography / Bride's Dress: Martina Liana / Bridal Salon: Tuscany Bridal / Bride's Jewellery: House of Riches / Groom's Attire: Politix / Groom's Shoes: Aquila / Hairstylist: The Bronzer / Venue: The Edge / Flowers & Decor: The Edge / Ceremony Officiant: The Edge / Catering: The Edge / Band: Organised Kaos Bali / Wedding Rings: House of Riches / Wedding Rings: R J Pearce