Powder-soft sand, aquamarine seas, swaying palms, secluded beachside resorts… Thailand has all the classic ingredients of a luxurious tropical honeymoon. If you’re planning a far-flung getaway to start married life – or even if you just want to treat someone special – here are a few ideas to really ramp up the romance…
Cruise around Bangkok on a private speedboat
Most Thai holidays start and end in the capital, Bangkok. Stay at Chakrabongse Villas, a cluster of sumptuous suites hidden in the gardens of a former royal residence, and you can book the hotel’s Bond-style speedboat and driver for a day. Being whisked between sights in private, leather-seated luxury is an unforgettable way to explore the city’s extensive network of rivers and canals.
Sip sunset cocktails at a rooftop bar
Set 61 floors above central Bangkok, The Moon Bar claims to be one of the highest alfresco bars in the world. It’s a supremely romantic spot, with cushioned divans, candlelit tables, and 360-degree views over the glittering city lights far below. The cocktails are pricey, but it’s worth the splurge for the setting alone. Just don’t venture too close to the edge if you suffer from vertigo…
Challenge The Sarojin’s ‘Imagineer’ to make your dreams come true
The Sarojin in Phang Nga has all sorts of romantic features: an 11km stretch of private beach, bath rims big enough to hold champagne glasses, double daybeds, a superb spa… But its biggest USP is the on-site ‘Imagineer’, who can tailor-make all sorts of activities just for 2. Picnic by a secret waterfall, go diving at sunrise, take a bamboo raft down jungle rapids, or dine in private on the lantern-lit shore before releasing a glowing spirit balloon onto the sea breeze.
Explore Phang Nga Bay
Likened to Vietnam’s famous Halong Bay, Phang Nga Bay is home to a cluster of sheer limestone islands which rise vertically from the ocean. The most famous is James Bond Island, a rocky monolith so-called because it featured in The Man with the Golden Gun. You can explore on day-long boat trips from Phang Nga and Phuket, which include a stop for deliciously fresh seafood in Koh Panyee, a stilted overwater village built by Indonesian fishermen. You’ll be sharing the experience with crowds of other tourists, but it’s magical nonetheless.
Learn the secrets of Thai cuisine
Stylish beachside resort Aleenta Phuket offers cooking classes tailored for couples. The chef will take you around local markets and then teach you how to concoct classic Thai dishes, before you sit down on the roof terrace or sand to feast on your attempts. You’ll also be given a recipe booklet so you can recreate some of the memories once you get back home.
Book a massage à deux at Sri panwa
If your idea of the perfect couples’ activity involves a little more relaxation, you’ll like the ‘Sensual Massage for 2’ at Phuket’s Sri panwa; you and your partner can even book classes to learn the moves yourselves. Afterwards, admire the sunset – champagne in hand – from the plunge pool of your glass-encased villa, perched high above the Andaman Sea.
Watch a movie under the stars
Another of our favourite Phuket hideaways, SALA Phuket, runs alfresco film nights every Tuesday and Saturday, complete with a popcorn machine. Grab a cocktail and your other half, and snuggle up on a cushioned daybed to watch the drama unfold on a big poolside screen.
Snorkel in the Similan Islands
The crystal-clear waters around the Similan Islands, to the west of Phuket, are home to shoal upon shoal of dazzling fish, along with sea horses, whale sharks, manta rays and colourful corals. Many Phuket resorts offer snorkelling and diving trips, though bear in mind that the islands are normally only accessible from late November to April.
Meander around Ang Thong National Marine Park
If you’re heading to Koh Samui, off Thailand’s east coast, an excursion to Ang Thong will probably be the highlight of your stay. The 41 islands, which inspired Alex Garland’s cult novel The Beach, are scattered like green teeth across the turquoise sea and are home to sea otters, monitor lizards, minah birds, macaques and dolphins. Climb to the top of the largest one for breathtaking views over the whole archipelago – it’s a perfect proposal spot, too…
Meet elephants at Anantara Golden Triangle
This laid-back yet luxurious retreat sits in the heart of the mysterious Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet. It’s home to an award-winning elephant conservation camp, with all manner of on-site activities that allow you to get up close to these gentle giants. Try sunset treks through the forest, elephant yoga (yes, yoga atop an elephant!), and mahout training courses which teach you how to bathe, feed and steer the animals. There’s also a dedicated camp for calves, where you can tuck into a private candlelit dinner as you watch the babies playing in the grass nearby.