Thailand Honeymoon: Part 1

This is long overdue, but I figure better late than never. We traveled to Thailand a full year ago as a honeymoon celebration and the reminders of the memories on Facebook and printing photos for Sean’s US permanent residency interview all prompted me to write this. So here is a review of our itinerary and the resorts we enjoyed. I’ll also detail how we managed to score 5 nights in a suite at the Le Meridien Koh Samui for FREE in a follow up post (Part 2).

Why Thailand?

 

The first question I usually hear is, “Why did you choose to go to Thailand?” My husband suggested it since he traveled there in 2012. He originally visited Bangkok, Chang Mai, Chang Rai, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Phuket, and a few other locations. While he was there he actually joined his best friend who worked full time for many years rescuing underage girls from sex slavery. He helped with that for a short period of time and the rest of it was a holiday. Since Sean took advantage of seeing several parts of the country, I trusted him to pick the top destinations he thought would be suitable for our honeymoon. He chose Koh Phangan and Koh Samui!

Salad Beach Koh Phangan Thailand

First Stop: Salad Beach Resort – Koh Phangan, Thailand

Now, you’ve probably come to realize that I love my points and miles. I really don’t like spending money on travel–especially accommodations–because I know I can stay in baller 5-star hotels for next to nothing by maximizing my points strategy. So you can imagine I was skeptical of what Sean’s surprise hotel choices for the first week would be. However, after we arrived to Salad Beach Resort, checked-in, and been escorted to our PRIVATE BEACH BUNGALOW, I politely waited for Sean to tip the bellman and waited for him to leave before turning to him and saying, “Are you kidding me right now, SEAN?! Just how much did this cost? We were supposed to use POINTS for this trip! We just paid for our wedding and now your graduate school tuition is next. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?” He replied with,

“You’re not going to believe me. We get this air-conditioned, private beach bungalow and breakfast buffet every day for 5 nights all for $30 USD a night.”

Come again? I knew I married this man for a reason. Salad Beach Resort was an excellent surprise and a fantastic way to kick off our honeymoon in Thailand. We were right on the beach with a fabulous pool and massage/spa area right outside our door. Thanks to the excitement and jetlag of our trip, we were awake super early each morning to maximize our time at the buffet and the food was incredible. Not to mention we enjoyed dinner on the beach every single night and even had live entertainment with fire dancers.Salad Beach Koh Phangan Thailand

Salad Beach Koh Phangan Thailand

Salad Beach Koh Phangan Thailand

Truthfully, Sean and I are terrible about remembering to take photos and even worse about posting them online. Hence why this blog is so neglected. You can’t really just write blog posts with no photos! Who would want to read that? So forgive me as I’m still getting used to the idea of taking proper photos and videos. I only have a saved Snapchat video of right outside our bungalow, and no photos of the actual room itself. However, we did manage to progress in the photo department as the trip continued.

salad beach resort koh phangan thailand

salad beach resort koh phangan thailand

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I recommend going to Koh Ma beach down the road for at least a day. Also, be sure to go scuba diving with Sail Rock Divers. Their information is always posted at the resort. We had a blast with them! I’m a certified PADI Open Water diver, but Sean was a complete beginner during this trip. Sail Rock Divers usually advertise at the resort and that’s how we discovered them. They charged 2,500 THB ($70 USD) for certified divers and 3,500 THB ($100 USD) for beginners to do two dives and this included breakfast, lunch, equipment, all taxis, and beginner instruction. Such a steal!

sail rock scuba diving thailand I have previously dived in Maui and the Great Barrier Reef  and found Sail Rock to be just as exciting and an instant favorite due to all the various schools of fish and the WARM water (no need for anything more than a rash guard). Sail Rock is essentially a large rock in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand and can be described similar to an ice berg as the rock is MASSIVE below the surface and teeming with sea life. Unfortunately, even though it was during whale shark season we did not see any during either of our dives.

scuba3

Brad was our personal instructor and he gave me a quick tune up (because I had not dived in a few years) and taught my husband the basics for his discovery dive. He was incredibly friendly and professional. We had an absolute blast and it was a great environment for a wide range of ages as there were a few pre-teens present as well. They did not overload the boat with people which made it a very comfortable trip. Breakfast consisted of small, assorted sandwiches and lunch was mild thai food, lady fingers, and cake. Sean said the only improvement he would say is if they could provide a beer after all the dives were complete for the return boat ride.

Salad Beach Koh Phangan Thailand

Second Stop: Milky Bay Resort – Koh Phangan, Thailand

 

We only stayed here one night for a quick stay in order to have a convenient place to sleep after the Half Moon Festival (which is essentially a rave in the jungle on the lunar calendar). They greeted us with sweet mocktails upon check-in and immediately helped us rent a motorbike. We stayed in a private bungalow right next to the beach and pool area and found it to be quite lovely. It was air conditioned and included a lit candle underneath an aromatherapy oil tray–which was a nice touch.

Milky Bay Resort Koh Phangan Thailand

The included breakfast featured various options and was incredibly good. I have to highlight that the staff is VERY friendly, polite, and professional. Yu, in particular, is personable and remembered our names from serving us lunch the day prior. She spoke great English, made us feel genuinely welcomed, and was willing to help with absolutely anything. The only true downside to this resort is that the beach is not that great…although if you walk far enough into the water there is a sandbar where you can sit. But back to the PARTY!

These people also knew how to cater to the Half Moon partygoers. They hosted a pre-gaming party at their bar on the beach and gave free shots of tequila at 10:00 PM just before the taxis arrived to take us. This was great because it allowed us to meet four other travelers from Wales and party with them the rest of the night.

Half moon party milky bay resort koh phangan

Free Shots at Milky Bay Resort

 

Half Moon Party Koh Phangan ThailandHalf Moon Party Koh Phangan Thailand
Half Moon Party Koh Phangan ThailandHalf Moon Party Koh Phangan ThailandHalf Moon Party Koh Phangan ThailandHalf Moon Party Koh Phangan Thailand
The best part about the timing of this particular Half Moon Party was the fact that it was the beginning of the Thailand Water Festival, “Songkran” which is the celebration of their New Year. So in addition to our free Red Bull and Vodka bucket that was included in our ticket price we were also given free squirt guns to help celebrate the festival beginning at midnight. That leads me to one of my most critical tips about traveling in Thailand during this time of year.
This is probably one of those few instances in which hiring a travel agent would be helpful. They would have known to warn us about making hotel transfers on the first day of Songkran. You see, Songkran is a HUGE deal. Like the entire country of Thailand stops everything to go in the streets and celebrate by spraying water on people in any method you can imagine. Yes. Squirt guns, hoses, buckets, ICE COLD water in the scorching Thailand weather is definitely welcome–especially during a celebration of a New Year. However, when you’re in the back of an pick-up truck with a makeshift “luggage rack” just above your head (this is what a cab in Thailand is), you are a PRIME TARGET. Don’t get me wrong. It was a hilarious experience and we died laughing with our other poor, clueless cab companions the entire way to the ferry dock. From there, we boarded the ferry soaking wet in hopes of getting to our Koh Samui hotel with minimal craziness. As luck would have it, a storm arrived while we were on our 20 minute ferry ride. This only compounded the Water Festival celebration and further solidified that we would not be dry until we were safely checked into our next hotel.
Third Stop: Mantra Samui Resort – Koh Samui, Thailand

 

After we managed to survive Songram festival and the rain. We arrived at this beautiful resort soaking wet and in desperate need of a nap. Our resort was on a steep incline so luckily after check-in you get driven to your room in a golf cart with your luggage. Once we arrived at our room, we were totally blown away as it was an upgrade from our previous night at Milky Bay. It was definitely time to switch gears from party mode to luxury mode.
Mantra Koh Samui Thailand
As you can see, despite the rain, the views are still breathtaking. This shot was taken on the private balcony of our room. There was also a giant, outdoor bathtub on that balcony so you could take a bath under the stars and look at the incredible scenery and, of course, Thailand lanterns floating across the sky. Definitely NOT romantic or anything. *swoon*
This resort is not directly on the beach, but they provide an on-demand shuttle service to and from. Since our first two stops in Thailand were non-stop adventures of beaching, diving, and raving, we made a collective decision to just RELAX at Mantra Samui. We definitely needed it. So the rain didn’t encroach on our fun because who doesn’t love napping during a tropical rainstorm?
Mantra Samui Koh Samui Thailand
When we weren’t napping in our giant king-sized bed and lounging in big, comfy robes, we decided to take Thai cooking classes, play squash, and work off all the pad thai in their sick gym. Plus, it was still warm enough to take a dip in this gorgeous infinity-edge pool. Sean snapped this photo of me and it’s one of my favorites.
 Mantra Samui Koh Samui Thailand infinity edge pool
Thai cooking classes ThailandMantra Samui Thailand
Despite all of this, we still had five nights of our honeymoon remaining and the final stop would be at the Le Méridien Resort and Spa Koh Samui! We already loved Starwood properties, but this property and its staff solidified that even more. Stay tuned for the next post reviewing Le Méridien and to learn our booking strategy!
  • What a great honeymoon! And these pics are just stunning.

  • Lela Victoria

    After reading that I feel likeI just went on the honeymoon with you too. Although the post is late i truly say better late than never

  • I must say after reading your post, I feel like you made this a memorable trip. I really miss the alluring beauty of Thailand after reading this amazing piece.

  • Maria Berneiser Haase

    Very cool. I think SEA is a great spot for honeymooners who are looking for romantic beaches as well as some fun and party.

  • Lauren @BonVoyageLauren

    Looks like an awesome honeymoon!! Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • sounds like an amazing time was had on your honeymoon. I think i am one of the few Australians who has never been to Thailand. The diving looks amazing its something i think i will have to do in the future.

  • Vyjay Rao

    Koh Phangan looks like the perfect place for a honeymoon,that should be the destination we head out to next 🙂

  • Great trip and remincing must have brought back great memories. We also stayed at Salad Beach Resort on Koh Phangan and thought it was amazing! It was super cheap and the facilities were fabulous – I loved how quiet the beach was and the tree swing was just idyllic!

  • Christine Messina

    Full moon honeymoon.. thats epic!!! Looks like you had a great time, I love Thailand. Nice choice!!

  • I must say, your husband’s choice is excellent. Thailand is inexpensive and beautiful at the same time. I have been to Thailand 8 times and still not bored of it. 🙂

  • Sabrina Barbante

    never been to Thailand but you really made me think it’s high time for me to go… I’d even get married to do this trip ;-). Diving experience and half moon festival look like a MUST experience!

  • Tamara Wilcox

    Your trip sounds amazing — all those beautiful bungalows and hotels you stayed in, plus fantastic views and time to relax. I could really go for that right now!

  • Megan Claire

    Sounds like a fabulous honeymoon – at least the rain didn’t last for the whole time. And WOW – $30 for a private beach bungalow!! You definitely married the right guy!! Congrats guys 🙂

  • These photos and stories brought back so many great memories of my time traveling in Thailand! I did it while I was single, so it’s fun to see what it was like for you as a honeymooning couple. Ahh — that blue, blue water!

  • Thailand is amazing!
    We choose the country for our second honeymoon and it was a great experience! There are so much to see and do that you never get bored! We have been in Koh Phangan and Samui, but my favorite island is Koh Tao and Koh Lanta, more laidback with top hotels and food! 🙂
    Great post and tips!
    Happy Travels!
    Nat

  • Aziel Morte

    You guys look enjoy in your honeymoon, Love the beach and your room was have a good ambiance.

  • Austin Iuliano

    You looked like you had a great time on your honeymoon!

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