Let’s play a game. Close your eyes, clear your mind and think of a luxury honeymoon. Now for the Mystic Meg bit (cue dimmed lights, warbling pipe music and incense floating in the background); you’ve probably drifted off into a blissful stupor awash with pristine white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, photoshop-esque clear blue ocean and ridonculously (technical travel term) luxurious hotels typified by destinations like the Maldives. Are we right? Wow, we’re good at this game. But how about a honeymoon that broadens your horizons, exposes you to other cultures, shows you mind-blowing wildlife and awe-inspiring landscapes? For any intrepid would-be honeymooners in the audience looking to get truly off the beaten track post-nuptials, Asia is the continent for you, and here are our favourite original Asian honeymoon destinations…
India’s exotic mystery and colonial romanticism makes an incredible combination for a honeymoon and Ladakh, nestled between the Himalayan and Kunlun mountain ranges in the very north, is about as original a destination as you could wish to find. Its sheer remoteness means honeymooners will never lack privacy while the fact that you can take a village house exclusively means you can be as lazy or adventurous as you want. You’ll spend most of your honeymoon scraping your jaw off the floor at all the stunning scenery but other activities include searching for the elusive snow leopard, trekking in the mountains and exploring local villages, monasteries and markets.
If you want a honeymoon that blends the quintessential fly and flop with some culture and history, Cambodia is the perfect destination. Yet to experience its major tourism boom compared to its South East Asian neighbours, Cambodia has retained its unspoilt scenery and authentic charm. A phoenix rising from the ashes of a turbulent past, Cambodia is, shall we say, staging an epic comeback. Beach bums will be drawn to the beautifully unspoilt southern coast (and one of our all-time favourite hotels, Song Saa) while culture vultures and history buffs will doubtless be drawn to the aweinspiring Angkor complex which, when viewed at sunrise before the crowds have arrived, is nothing short of life changing.
Sumatra. Where? Exactly. It may be one of the largest islands in Indonesia but it’s definitely not one that immediately springs to mind. In fact, Sumatra hardly sees any western visitors at all. As a result the roads are bumpy and the accommodation is basic (but clean and comfortable), however, this hidden gem will blow you away with its vast jungles, incredible wildlife (namely orang-utans), great local eats and cultural traditions. For the truly intrepid honeymooner, it doesn’t get much more off the beaten track than this. Sumatra also works brilliantly in conjunction with other Indonesian islands or even the Indian Ocean nations if you don’t want to completely for-go those luxury creature comforts.
It’s back to India for this next one but, let’s be honest, it’s a pretty big place. The Andaman Islands tick all the boxes when it comes to culture, beauty and avoiding the crowds. Yes, the beaches are picture perfect, the jungle is untouched and there are a couple of lovely hotels but the Andaman Islands are also steeped in a rich cultural heritage and history. This is frontier travel at its finest and indigenous tribes have even been known to fire the odd arrow or two at passing helicopters. Yikes! Yikes indeed - honeymoon here and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped in to some sort of Jungle Book meets Avatar situation, with a dash of luxury for good measure. Combine all this with some great diving and snorkelling sites and you’ve got a recipe for success. Oh, and there’s swimming elephants too… just sayin’.
Sri Lanka is all about getting back to nature and exploring this tiny gem of a country's ethereal beauty, which is steeped in Kipling-esque romance and mystery. It’s also a destination that is very much on the up; doubtless it has always had the natural resources to be a fabulous honeymoon destination (think crumbling ancient cities, unexplored jungle and palm fringed beaches) but the quality hotels to go alongside have taken their sweet time in arriving to the party. However, we’re happy to report the boutique luxury hotel scene in Sri Lanka is now positively booming. Watch this space.
So there you have it, the very best Asian destinations for being truly original on your honeymoon.