Luisa & Justin: Thailand
Luisa and Justin—the lucky winners of The Knot Honeymoon Sweepstakes—jetted off to Thailand for an exotic, all-expenses-paid excursion full of elephants and Southeast Asian flavor. Want their honeymoon?
- Budget: Free
- Time of year: January
- Length of trip: 10 days
- Travel time: 20 hours from New York City
Where to Stay: In Bangkok, they stayed at the Riva Surya, a quaint hotel in the middle of bustling nightlife. From this home base, they were able to walk to popular local restaurants and shops and take river taxis to other areas to see landmarks like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. For the second leg of their journey, in Chiang Mai, they spent four nights at the gorgeous 137 Pillars House, which Luisa describes as “straight out of a magazine.” They loved the luxurious touches like the claw-foot bathtub and private indoor/outdoor shower.
While You’re There: In Chiang Mai, Luisa and Justin spent an entire day hanging out with elephants in a camp—not only riding them, but also bathing them in the river and even painting with them. “I’m an animal lover, but Justin was more reserved about heading into the experience,” Luisa says. “You spend the entire day with ‘your’ elephant, and by the end of the day, Justin couldn’t help but fall in love with his new friend.”
Follow Their Advice: Don’t scrimp on spa services! “They can be pricey, but they’re totally worth it,” Luisa says. “You really feel like you’re pampering yourself.”
Kellee & Michael: Sardinia
Our managing editor, Kellee, and Michael chose Sardinia for their romantic, off-the-beaten-path Italian escape. Want their honeymoon?
- Budget: $10,000
- Time of year: June
- Length of trip: 13 days
- Travel time: 11 hours from New York City
Where to Stay: For their first night, Kellee and Michael splurged on a private cottage at Villa Mosca Charming House in Alghero. Next, they made their way to Aglientu for three unforgettable nights of a farm stay at Li Pireddi, where they enjoyed three-course communal dinners and a day at sea, sailing to Corisca on the owner’s boat. After that, they moved on to Corte Fiorita, in the river town of Bosa, for two nights before driving to Riola Sardo for two nights at Hotel Lucrezia. “The beautiful beaches in the Oristano province are well worth the trip,” Kellee says.
While You’re There: The couple rented a brand-new Fiat Cinquecento to get from place to place. “It was perfect for two people plus our luggage—and fun on the island roads!” Kellee says. She’s also adamant about stopping to see Is Aruttas, also called the “risotto beach,” near Cabras. “The white quartz sand looks like uncooked Arborio rice,” she says, adding that, “because so much of it has been carted off, it’s now illegal to take any.”
Follow Their Advice: Kellee recommends doing a farm stay. “It’s a great way to meet people and eat homemade local food.” Also, stop by one of the island’s wineries.
Julia & Joe: Hawaii
Looking for a guaranteed good time, Julia and Joe traveled to the Aloha State for the perfect mix of R&R and island adventure.
- Budget: $3,500
- Time of year: July
- Length of trip: 11 days
- Travel time: 12 hours from New York City
Where to Stay: Julie and Joe started out with three nights at the Thai Garden House by Moloaa Bay (an Airbnb find), in Kilauea. “It was incredible, with the most amazing fruit growing all over the place,” Julia says. “We’d never seen pineapples growing out of the ground before, and it kind of blew our minds.” From there, they moved on to Kapaa, for four nights, before ending their trip with a stay at Honolulu’s luxurious Moana Surfrider (where the newlyweds upgraded to a room with a balcony).
While You’re There: Julia says the ATV tour of Kipu Ranch with Kipu Ranch Adventures is a definite must. “Every moment was a photo op, and driving the ATV was thrilling in itself!” Julia says. “Plus, our tour guides were phenomenal—we learned so much about the island through them.”
Follow Their Advice: “Pack bug spray and earplugs!” Julia says. “We got riddled with mosquito bites the first few days.” The earplugs are for the “batty” roosters that roam free.