Newlyweds Ashley and Boppo swapped the traditional two weeks of luxury on a tropical island for a year-long honeymoon taking in the sights across Asia, Australia and Europe. Read Ashley’s Asian highlights here...
“Boppo and I set off on our honeymoon adventure five months after we tied the knot in a romantic summer ceremony in Dorset. We’d been frantically saving towards the trip knowing we’d be quitting our jobs in November (pretty nerve-wracking!) and instead of buying us gifts friends had kindly contributed to our trip via Skyscanner.
We finally set off in early December and flew straight to Bangkok. The streets were alive with celebrations for the king’s birthday. Processions of people dressed in pink holding candles wandered past and we could see huge shrines at every turn. Loud music was blaring out and the atmosphere was incredible. We immediately knew we’d done the right thing by jacking in our jobs and circling the globe.
The rest of our time in Bangkok continued to be as jaw-dropping; shopping for trinkets and leather goods in Chatuchak Market, sipping Summer Berry surprise cocktails on the 65th floor Sky Bar at Sirocco Lebua Hotel and visiting ornate palaces and giant Buddha statues.
After the bustling city, our next stop was the tranquil island of Koh Samui. We quickly developed a relaxing routine: strolling to the Fishermans’ Village for freshly cooked meals (our favourite, Ranong); and chilling out on Choeng Mong, a white-sand beach where I had the best massages of my life in an open-sided hut for just a few baht.
We island hopped from Koh Phangnan, where we covered ourselves in fluorescent paint and danced the night away at a Full Moon party, to Koh Tao, the quietest island great for scuba-diving and then finally on to Phuket, where we discovered beautiful restaurants and Sino-Portuguese buildings – though the main town Patong was like a cross between Vegas and Clacton!
From Thailand we travelled to Ho Chi Min city in Vietnam. We visited war museums, such as the Museum for American War Crimes and the Reunification Palace, where everything is exactly as it was left in 1970. Then a boat trip up the Mekong River landed us in Cambodia, where we met the friendliest people of all the countries we visited.
We booked a two-day trip to Lazy Beach, a desert island with literally nothing except your hut and a thatched dining area. One of its beaches was the most beautiful I’d ever seen; the sand was as white as snow and sea the bluest blue – although it’s not for the faint-hearted: there were a lot of wild animals and insects! And you can’t go to Cambodia without going to see the amazing temple Angkor Wat. We beat the crowds by arriving at 4.30am on a tuk tuk with our guide in tow.
From Cambodia we travelled to Melbourne, Australia. Highlights were a tour of the wineries, including the Chandon Vineyard where we tried the various vintages on a sun-soaked lawn, and the fun and music-filled Good Vibrations Festival.
After a goodbye stop off back in Thailand, so started our trip home via the more familiar sights of Europe. Milan was our final stop, because it’s one of my favourite places in the world and made for romance. We loved strolling through the city buying street food to eat in a park and dining al fresco on delicious salads and vino.
After nearly a year away, it was a shock to come back home. If you’re thinking about taking a longer honeymoon, do plan - and prepare to be broke when you get back. We overspent by £5000 and although my husband went back to work straight away, I struggled to get a new job for a while. However, if you’re tempted, go for it! We had an amazing time and will treasure what we did forever.