Picking the right honeymoon is no simple matter. No one wants the romantic trip of their lifetime to be ruined and spend most of the time queueing or being pushed around among a mass of other tourists. Avoid the crowd and instead make your way to one of these places for your honeymoon this end of the year!
What’s a better honeymoon destination than one of the happiest places on Earth? Take your sweet time at Fiji, an exquisite tropical paradise with white sand beaches, pristine, azure waters, and lush rainforests. From snorkelling to jungle-trekking, there’s a lot that Fiji has to offer. What’s more, Fiji also boasts of a unique heart-shaped island ?
Credit: Rainbow Dreams on Facebook
October-March is the off season, therefore the crowd will be less and you’ll be able to score more deals as the prices will drop!
Availability of halal food: Suva is the city with the largest Muslim population in Fiji. Halal restaurants are required to be halal certified, so they are easy to be identified. All McDonald’s restaurants in Fiji also received the halal certification from The Fiji Muslim League.
Places to visit: Savusavu, and Royal Davui’s Sand Cay Picnic
Credit: @fijipearls on Instagram
Known as “the hidden paradise of Fiji”, Savusavu is the country’s best kept secret. There’s a saying “if the world is your oyster, then Savusavu is the pearl”, which is pretty much accurate because this is where the world’s rarest pearls can be found. When you’re there, be sure to go on an educational tour of the pearl farm, where you can observe and experience the day-to-day operations of a Fijian pearl farm.
The pearl farm is open from Monday to Friday at 9.30 am and you are advised to book in advance. However if you’re only interested in the finished products, there’s a showroom where you can do your shopping.
Opening hours: 8.30 am to 5 pm (Monday to Friday), 9 am to 2 pm (Saturday) (for J. Hunter Showroom)
Royal Davui’s Sand Cay Picnic
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Ever dreamed of being alone with your loved one on a remote island? Fulfil your fantasy with a short 7-minute boat ride away from Royal Davui resort, for an exclusive island escape. The two of you will be “abandoned” on a tidal islet surrounding by the ocean. Fishing isn’t allowed, but you can swim and snorkel around, or simply chill under the beach parasol together.
2. Nagasaki, Japan
Credit: David McKelvey on Flickr
Aside from being associated with the nuclear bomb tragedy, Nagasaki surprising isn’t a popular tourism destination. Despite its history, Nagasaki today is a vibrant fusion of the East and West. As a harbor city, the influences of other foreign cultures such as Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese are evident, but Nagasaki still hasn’t lost its Japanese identity.
Japan is really big on Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate it, the elaborate decorations during the season make the city extra beautiful (and romantic), especially the night lights!
Availability of halal food: A couple of restaurants serving halal Indian and Malaysian dishes can be found in the city. You are advised to contact the establishments prior to your visit.
Places to visit: Huis Ten Bosch and Glover Garden
Huis Ten Bosch
Credit: Alston Huang on Flickr
Since its opening in 2013, this massive Dutch themed park which literally means “The House of The Forest” has been one of the must-see tourist spots in Nagasaki. The life size replica of Dutch buildings and flowers representing all four seasons lining up the streets of Huis Ten Bosch will make you temporarily forget that you’re actually in Japan.
From November to early April, watch as the entire park lights up for the world’s largest illumination event, The Kingdom of Light.
Admission fee: JPY 6200 adult, JPY 3900 child
Opening hours: 9 am to 10 pm daily
Credit: tjabeljan on Flickr
Once the home of a Scottish merchant Thomas Blake Glover, Glover Residence, which is one of the six facilities inside Glover Garden, is the oldest surviving wooden Western-style house in the country. Glover Garden is actually an open air museum built on a hill overlooking Nagasaki Harbor and Mt Inasa. You can rent a traditional Western-style outfit, and enjoy some tea and a slice of Nagasaki’s famed Castella cake while pretending to live in the 1900’s.
P.S. While Castellla cake is a regular sponge cake, do consult the staff if you have doubts about the ingredients.
Admission fee: JPY 610 adult, JPY 180 child
Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm daily
3. Bodrum, Turkey
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From a small fishing village, Bodrum has successfully been revamped into a trendy coastal town that still retains its traditional values. At one side, you can the fancy yachts ready to whisk you out to the sparkling Aegean Sea. At the other, rows of old whitewashed buildings and ancient ruins. Don’t worry if you can’t decide between going traditional or modern because in Bodrum, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Availability of halal food: Finding a halal restaurant in Bodrum isn’t a problem. Most of them serve local Turkish cuisine. Doner stalls can be found everywhere, just follow the smell!
Places to visit: Bodrum Castle & Museum of Underwater Archaeology, and Alacati
Bodrum Castle & Museum of Underwater Archaeology
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This seafront castle that tops every tourist’s to-go list was built by the Knights of St John between 1402 and 1437. Also named Castle of St Peter, the castle was converted into a museum in 1962 for underwater discoveries of ancient shipwrecks from Aegean Sea. Even if the relics don’t interest you much, be there for the lovely view of the sea and Bodrum city.
Admission fee: TL 10 (for the museum)
Opening hours: 9 am to 4.30 pm, closed on Monday
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Get a taste of the Greek life with a day trip to Alacati, a laid back, colourful coastal town in the north three hours away from Bodrum. The town was initially called Agrilia, founded by the Greek immigrants from nearby islands. The Grecian-influenced architecture reflects Alacati’s history. Narrow cobbled streets, stone houses painted in bright colours and pastel hues, and bougainvillea adding to the town’s beauty, you might think you’re in Santorini instead of Turkey!
4. El Nido, Philippines
Credit: Beaches of the World on Facebook
Those living in Southeast Asia who dream of a romantic Caribbean or Maldives honeymoon but your budget unfortunately doesn’t allow you to travel far, you can consider hopping over to El Nido, a municipality on Palawan Island, famed for its dramatic rock formations, white-sand beaches, bright blue waters and coral reefs. It’s also a great alternative to avoid the extremely popular Boracay.
Availability of halal food: Although there are no halal-certified restaurants yet, some places do serve halal food due to the rising demands from Muslim tourists. Do check with the restaurants first! However if you’re not convinced, you can always opt for seafood and vegetarian meals.
Things to do: Take an island-hopping tour, and explore the Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel
Take an island-hopping tour
Credit: Wanderlands on Facebook
Island hopping is the most popular activity in El Nido. There are standard itineraries at every shop and hotel that offers the tours, but some have extra charges for snorkelling equipments while some offer discounts, so it’s good to look around first before deciding on a tour. Besides the smaller islands, you’ll be able to take a closer look at some of the lagoons around El Nido.
Explore the Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel
Credit: David Spencer on Flickr
Discovered in the early 90’s by a Japanese diver, this 10-meter long tunnel is one of El Nido’s greatest wonders. Expect to see beautiful corals and sea life like electric oyster, sea sponge and scorpion fish here. Do take note that this course is only for advanced divers only. Visit this site for more details.
5. Komodo Island, Indonesia
Credit: Komodo Resort & Diving Club on Facebook
Looking to live your Jurassic Park fantasy? Make your way to Komodo Island, one of the three major islands in the Komodo National Park. While there are no real dinosaurs around, Komodo dragons will definitely overwhelm you with their presence alone. If you’re not big on that kind of adventure, fear not because the island has other things to offer. Besides being made up of savannah and forests, Komodo Island boasts of one of the world’s richest marine environments, including marine mammals like dugong, and corals.
Indonesia has a tropical weather all year round, but the temperature would have dropped in December (from the peak >40 degree Celcius during August and September). Additionally, Komodo dragons are not in the mating season so you’ll be able to find more of them roaming around.
Availability of halal food: Flores, which Komodo Island is a part of, is a Catholic province, therefore not many Muslim-friendly restaurants are available. There are several local mosques around, so you are advised to scour the surrounding streets.
Places to visit: Pink Beach, and Manta Point
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Komodo Island’s Pink Beach (or Pantai Merah) is one of the seven pink beaches in the world. Do your scuba diving or snorkelling here as you’ll be able to join the fishes for a swim and spot the corals without going far from the shore. Otherwise, you can hike up the nearby hill for a view of the sea or just have a picnic by the beach.
Credit: Sylke Rohlrach on Flickr
No snorkelling or diving experience would beat the one you have here. Manta Point is one of the best locations to witness Manta rays in their real habitat. The Manta rays which can grow up to 3 meters are harmless to human and friendly, and will usually cruise past the divers to check you out. This makes for a truly magical experience!
6. Ceylon Tea Trails, Sri Lanka
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Be it a stopover or a full trip, Sri Lanka’s Tea Country is a wonderful place to spend your honeymoon at, especially if you’re a tea lover. Also known as Tea Country, the place will welcome you with refreshing mountain air and a breathtaking scenery of the lush, green tea plantation. The best time to visit is from December to April, when monsoon is gone and the dry season has yet to arrive.
#HHWTtip: A trip to the Tea Trails isn’t complete without a stay at the bungalow, but remember to make a booking prior to your visit because the Tea Trails bungalows are private property and often fully booked. A minimum 2-night stay is required here.
Availability of halal food: Some restaurants can arrange halal meals upon request. Since Sri Lankans are big on breads, you also can opt for local bakeries there.
Places to visit: Tea Factory, and Adam’s Peak
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What’s a visit to Ceylon Tea Trails without The Tea Experience? Your tour guide will first take you through the trail of planters, where you’ll watch them pick two leaves and a bud with skilled hands. At the factory, you’ll be able to see the tea producing process, and later sample different grades of tea (the highlight of the tour, really).
Credit: @ceylonteatrails on Instagram
The tour is free of charge. Please arrange your booking when you book your room as most bungalows have their own plantations.
Credit: Go, See, Write on Facebook
Another remarkable point about Tea Country is Adam’s Peak, which is said to be the site where Prophet Adam first set foot on earth after being casted out from the heaven. It’s also a sacred place to Buddhists and Hindus.
If you and your partner are up for a sunset view from the top, you’re advised to leave your bungalow at 1 am during the pilgrimage season (December to May) to make it in time for sunrise. A guide will accompany you throughout the journey.
7. Cape Town, South Africa
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Situated at the tip of the continent, Cape Town is surrounded by some of the country’s most mesmerizing scenery. Can’t decide between mountains, beaches, gardens and harbours? Cape Town has it all! September-December, right before summer rolls in completely, is the best time to visit. There’s still a hint of spring colours around you, seasonal tourists still haven’t flocked in and the weather is just right to be out.
Availability of halal food: With a sizeable Muslim population, it’s fairly easy to find halal food in Cape Town. A lot of restaurants are halal-certified such as Alhambra, Atlantic Express Restaurant, and Bo-Kaap Kombuis which serves Cape Malay dishes.
Places to visit: Boulders Beach, and Cape of Good Hope
Credit: Christina on Flickr
Prepare to be amazed by the phenomenal penguins march, live right in front of your eyes! Boulders Beach, a sheltered beach surrounded by large boulders, is famous for being home to the colony of thousands of African penguins. You can actually approach and get up close with the penguins, as long as you don’t bother or try to touch them! The penguins are usually around all year long (except for September to October when they’re spending most time out in the sea).
Admission fee: R60 adult, R30 child under 12 (entry to the penguin’s private beach – you can still see the penguins without this)
Opening hours: 7 am to 7.30 pm (December – January), 8 am – 6.30 pm (February – March),
8 am – 5 pm (April – September), 8 am to 6.30 pm (October – November)
Cape of Good Hope
Credit: South African National Parks on Facebook
Cape of Good Hope which sits at the tip of the Peninsula has a scenery as beautiful as its name. A common misconception is that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost tip of Africa, but the honour actually goes to Cape Agulhas, few kilometres away along the coast. Even so, Cape of Good Hope offers an equally incredible view of the raging Atlantic Ocean, making you feel like you’re at the edge of the world. While you’re here, there’s also a good chance for you to run into its permanent residents, the ostriches and baboons!
Europe & Canada
8. Québec City, Canada
Credit: Dan on Flickr
Imagine taking a stroll past exquisite historical buildings in Canada’s oldest and one of the most romantic cities with your partner by side. Québec City seamlessly blends old and new, and with its heavy French influence, makes it a dazzling place full of romantic vibes. During the winter, Québec City transforms completely into a winter wonderland with tons of activities and events, including Christmas markets and The Festi Lumière, which is a light festival at the Aquarium du Québec.
Availability of halal food: There’s a number of halal restaurants in Quebéc City serving Middle Eastern and South Asian food such as Bachir and Royal Tandoori.
Places to visit: Petit Champlain, and Montmorency Falls
Credit: Urban Guide Québec on Facebook
This cute neighbourhood which was the first permanent French settlement in North America was also an artists and writers district once. Therefore, you will find rows of lovely shophouses and old warehouses with French vibes lining up the cobblestone streets. Don’t miss the Rue du Petit-Champlain mural as well as the iconic Breakneck Steps, the city’s oldest stairway.
From Petit-Champlain, be sure to take the Old Quebec Funicular which will take you directly to the stunning Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world! You can also choose to climb the Breakneck Steps instead.
Credit: Patrick Marioné on Flickr
If you have some money and a day to spare, make a day trip to Parc de la Chute-Montmorency, or Montmorency Falls. Standing at 83 m high (30 m than Niagara Falls), Montmorency Falls provides a spectacular landscape. If you’re visiting at the end of year during winter, you’ll be able to see Pain de Sucre (or Sugar Bread), a phenomenon where ice builds around the fall and covers it completely. Ice climbing is also offered if you’re up for it!
Admission fee: Free admission to the site, but other activities like zipline and cable car come with separate charges.
Opening hours: Please consult this webpage for operating hours.
9. Bruges, Belgium
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Get away from the overpacked Brussels and other European cities without compromising the charms by heading over to Bruges. The city’s medieval architecture makes the place looks like it comes straight out of a fairy tale, perfect for your romantic getaway. If that’s not enough to convince you to make Bruges your honeymoon destination, this picture perfect canal city even has a body of water nicknamed the Lake of Love!
Credit: Dimitris Kamaras on Flickr
Availability of halal food: Finding a halal restaurant isn’t tricky in Bruges as there are several options to choose from, including the Subway located at Eiermakrt 20. Also, don’t miss out on the famed Muslim-friendly Belgian waffles! There are a variety of toppings to choose from, and you can always pick the safer options like chocolate and fresh fruits.
Places to visit: Bonifacius Bridge, and Frietmuseum
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On top of the Lake of Love, Bruges also has a Bridge of Love!
The picturesque bridge is nestled between two other popular tourist sites, the splendid Gruuthusemuseum that once belonged to one of the city’s richest families, and the peaceful Arentshof (or Arents courtyard). There’s a built-in bench on the century old Bonifacius Bridge where you can sit down and watch the boats and swans, or simply to pose for a photo.
Credit: @ynnepsy on Instagram
If you love potato fries as much (if not more) as you love your partner, then make your way to Frietmuseum, arguably the world’s first and only museum dedicated to Belgian potato fries. While it’s good to learn about the history of Belgium’s beloved snack and the important roles potato played in the past, the real highlight of the museum is undoubtedly sampling the fries in the museum’s basement.
Admission fee: EUR 6 adult, EUR 4 kids aged 6 to 12
Opening hours: 10 am to 5 pm daily
We hope that you and your spouse will be able to have a great time on your honeymoon with the peaceful quality time that you need!