Yes, for all of you questioning the title, Dan and I spent our honeymoon in Singapore, Cambodia, and Malaysia! I get a lot of skeptical looks when I tell people this, but Dan and I like to explore destinations a bit “off the beaten path,” and, since we can rarely take full 2 week vacations, we really wanted to hit a bit Southeast Asia, an area that we had previously not visited!
We planned our initial itinerary based on cheap, cheap mistake fare flights on Japan Airlines in and out of Singapore. We love a good flight deal, and this one was just too, too good to turn down! After booking flights in and out of Singapore, we decided that we had to add on Cambodia to visit Siem Reap. We have been wanting to visit Siem Reap forever and this was the closet we had ever been – just a 2 hour flight from Singapore.
After booking Siem Reap, Dan determined that we needed to stay in an overwater bungalow to make the trip a proper honeymoon… We looked into visiting the Maldives (a 4 hour flight from Singapore), certain resorts in Thailand (no real overwater bungalows, and hello nightmares from Brokedown Palace), and the Philipines, but nothing really worked out. Then I discovered Langkawi, a small island in the Andaman Sea with somewhat reasonable overwater bungalows – done. We then added in two nights in Kuala Lumpur (or “KL”) because connecting in KL’s airport was a must.
For full disclosure, we spent our last night back in Singapore to give us a extra room in case of a flight delay or cancellation… When we first finished book out routes, I was concerned that we were trying to see too much – too many flights, not enough time in each place, too much packing, etc. However, all of our flights were, luckily, on time and smooth, and we ended up spending the perfect amount of time in each place.
I LOVED Singapore; Dan not so much (although, he did have an amazing time). I had always wanted to visit Singapore, and I was 100% certain that I would love Singapore before I even arrived. Singapore is modern and clean with a gorgeous skyline and well-dressed people; I could move to Singapore tomorrow. Dan found Singapore to be a bit tame for a major city in Asia and a too much like other major cities – “Asia Lite” as my neighbor referred to Singapore. Dan also did not like the high cost of living in Singapore.
In Singapore, we spent two nights at the gorgeous Marina Bay Sands where we used its famous infinity pool, visited the Hawker stands beloved by Anthony Bourdain, and wandered through Gardens by the Bay. The food was amazing (some of the best on the trip in my opinion) and the infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands is as amazing as it looks.
I cannot wait to come back to Singapore! Good thing Changi Airport is such an international hub! However, on recommending Singapore, I would recommend it for those looking to visit an amazing, modern city, those looking to visit Asia without getting too our of their comfort zone, or for those connecting in Singapore. I also wouldn’t spend more than a couple days in Singapore, unless you have a special interest.
Cambodia was our “bucket list” stop on our honeymoon tour. Dan had been dying to visit Angor Wat but it is so, so far from NYC. However, its only a 2 hour flight from the Malaysian peninsula, so that worked out well. Cambodia was a shock to the senses and different than any place that we had visited before (although, it reminded us a bit of Morocco). For example, unexpected by us, we were picked up at the airport by a tuk tuk and shortly after we landed, went on a food tour through the local streets of Siem Reap. Very different from Singapore!
In total, we spent 4 days in Siem Reap – two full days touring Angor Wat and the floating villages and two days dedicated to eating, shopping, and massages! I think we spent the perfect amount of time in the Siem Reap area, but I wish that we had had more time to explore more of Cambodia. I will be back!
I would recommend Cambodia to those looking to get out of their comfort zone, especially seasoned travelers who have seen a bit of the world. The hecticness of Cambodia could be a bit much for new travelers, in which case you may want to book a Western hotel with all of the amenities. I thought 4 days was perfect to tour Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, although you can do it in fewer days. If you have more time, I recommend exploring other parts of Cambodia!
Malaysia, the final stop on our honeymoon, was such a surprise! I was not sure what to expect in Malaysia, and I really had no preconceived idea of Malaysia. I really choose to visit Malaysia because (i) Malaysia is home to some gorgeous overwater bungalows on its island of Langkawi; (ii) I had always wanted to visit the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpar; and (iii) it was “rainy season” in Bali. So there we were, spending the bulk of our honeymoon in Malaysia! And, it turned out to be a spectacular, gorgeous, and tasty surprise!
Our Malaysia leg started in Kuala Lumpur where we spent two nights in the fantastically well-priced Sheraton Imperial with Club Lounge access. We spent our time in KL going on a food tour through Bukit Bintang, shopping, and visiting the Batu Caves and the Petronas Towers.
Dan and I really, really loved KL and will definitely return! It was really cool, had a distinct culture, and is cheap!
Our second stop in Malaysia was on the island of Langkawi – located in northern Malaysia on the Thai border. We choose to go to Langkawi because Langkawi is relatively unknown and home to some gorgeous (and somewhat reasonably priced) overwater bungalows. In any case, Langkawi turned out to be one of the most gorgeous places that I have ever visited. Langkawi Island is home to gorgeous green waters, lush rain forests, and many, many tax free shops.
We had excellent weather in my opinion – 85 – 90 and sunny. While it was hot, it only rained for a few overs over the entire trip. Before planning a trip, check the weather patters in Malaysia. Different parts of Malaysia have different rainy seasons. In Western Malaysia, where we were, the rainy season is April – October. Singapore’s rainy season is November – January. Cambodia’s dry season runs November – February.
The Language Barrier
A lot of people have asked me about the language barrier but – surprise – there is no language barrier in Singapore or Malaysia. Both of those countries are a mix of three different groups of people that speak three different languages, so everyone speaks the common language of English.
I have gotten a lot of questions about safety, but all of the destinations that we visited were safe and we did not encounter any problems. We also wore our wedding rings and did not get any weird looks (I did turn my engagement ring around for a street food tour in Cambodia, though!).
In sum, we had a lovely honeymoon and would absolutely repeat our trip again and recommend it to other couples as a honeymoon or on vacation.
STEAL OUR TRIP
Visit Singapore: Singapore’s tourism site (in English). Great source of information, especially regarding current events.
Marina Bay Sands: 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956. Singapore’s most famous building with the world’s most famous infinity pool; you must stay at the hotel to use the infinity pool.
Siem Reap: Tourism Cambodia website on Siem Reap.
Kuala Lumpur: Wonderful Malaysia website on KL.
Langkawi: Malaysian tourism site regarding Langkawi (English). Not super helpful; if planning an unfamiliar trip to Langkawi, I recommend staying with a resort.
Berjaya Resort Langkawi: Berjaya Langkawi Resort – Malaysia, Karong Berkunci 200, Burau Bay, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah. Our hotel with the overwater bungalow.
ON A BUDGET
Southeast Asia is an excellent place to visit if you are on a budget; however, Singapore is definitely NOT a budget destination. Singapore is on par with Tokyo or New York. Limit your time in Singapore if you are on a budget. Cambodia was the most budget friendly of our stops, followed by Langkawi and KL. To stretch your money further, take advantage of free breakfast/snacks at your hotel and street food, especially Singapore’s hawker centers! Oh, and drink beer. Its wayyyyyy cheaper than wine or liquor cocktails. Tiger Beer and Angkor Beer were particularly enjoyable.