A classic beach honeymoon or island escape is usually the first thing that pops up in our minds when finding a place to decompress the intense stress built up over months of prep and the big day itself. For a tropical country with 3,444km of coastal line spanning over 17 degrees of latitude as well as over 3,000 islands and islets, a bonafide coastal paradise for sun worshippers is the last thing Vietnam lacks.
But if you and your betrothed are not that big on a simple sun, sea, and sand Vietnam honeymoon, you know it’s time to buck convention and hit the road. Recorded with a history of over 4,000 years and a mosaic of 54 ethnic groups, Vietnam ticks all the boxes and caters to your every whim.
Not wanting to settle for anything run-of-the-mill, helloVietnam has whittled down our picks of the best honeymoon destinations in Vietnam other than the beach without having to compromise the romance.
Couple on Mount Fansipan (Source: Internet)
Establish a dream honeymoon location for both of you
While a beach escape offers complete relaxation and utmost indulgence, it seems unlikely to travel all the way to Vietnam and not want to acutely examine the many other facets of this resilient S-shaped country. Whatever type of honeymooner that you and your spouse are: daring foodies, adrenaline junkies, cultural buffs, or city folk, there is bound to be something somewhere that suits your tastes and wallets.
1. Cultural junkies
While many newlyweds are determined to make their honeymoon a time to sequester themselves from the rest of the world, some actually try to become part of the local community’s fluidity, and some just want to sit back and absorb what is around them.
Experience local culture within the flavors of food
Culinary honeymoons are a trend on the rise. Part of the excitement as newlyweds is trying new things for the first time, and exotic food is right up there! So, if you and your significant other are globe-trotting gourmands, then you have come to the right place. Fine-dining locales and under-the-radar eateries are at every turn to accommodate your dining needs, no matter what dietary restrictions you’re working around.
Refreshing idea for your wedding photo album (Source: Internet)
There is something undeniably intriguing about a foodie Vietnam honeymoon that is worth the positive impact on your mind and wallet. Coming at a fraction of the cost, the exquisite dishes burst with freshness and flavor with every bite. Even better, the majority of them are served with a plethora of greens and herbs for an extra healthy kick.
- Escorted or self-guided food tour
There is no denying that the national staple phở, the nutritious pick-me-up bánh mì, as well as the ubiquitous bánh xèo (crispy crepes), and nem cuốn (summer rolls) are mouthwatering and satisfying. But you might want to venture into the regional delicacies, where you get to find features typical of that particular culture embodied within its gastronomic practice.
Be prepared for some serious taste bud titillation with phở cuốn (fresh rice noodle rolls - Hanoi), chả cá Lã Vọng (fish cakes - Hanoi), Hanoi’s egg coffee, bún bò Huế (Hue beef noodle soup), cao lầu (Hoi An’s noodles), bún bò Nam Bộ (southern beef noodles), etc.
While going for the established restaurant franchises is a relatively safer choice, I encourage you to be the considerate yet daring kind of foodie and dine in unobtrusive eateries run by locals.
- Hands-on cooking classes and cooking demonstrations
In a Hoi An cooking class (Source: Internet)
There is so much more you can do to enjoy a destination like a local other than savoring its delectable cuisine. Hands-on cooking classes along with cooking demonstrations have single-handedly changed the landscape of travel in major tourist attractions such as Hanoi, Halong Bay, Sapa, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, etc. In accredited culinary classes such as Hanoi Cooking Centre (Hanoi), Ms. Vy or Red Bridge (Hoi An), and Hoa Túc (Saigon), food is elevated to an art form. You will get to cook with top chefs and gain an intimate insight into the regional culture through its gastronomy that can’t be found anywhere in cookery books.
For a more locally oriented culinary experience, engage in a foodie tour to some tranquil rural village, exploring the lively market and learning how to cook the most authentic Vietnamese dishes from the village’s best chefs. While Hoi An has rightfully secured the number one spot for this particular type of travel, the capital of Vietnam is also chock-full of gastronomic possibilities for you to choose from.
Tying the knot in a Buddhist pagoda
A Buddhist pagoda is so much more than a venue for celebrating the sacred connection of love and saying ‘I do’. It adds a whole spiritual dimension to your marriage, where the vows you make in the presence of the Buddha, highly respected monks, your family and friends, as well as the blessings you receive, are kept.
Bride and groom exchanging wedding rings (Source: Internet)
First celebrated in the mid-20th century, Lễ Hằng Thuận or Living in Harmony Forever Ceremony is a relatively young concept in Vietnam yet it has been fervently embraced by many couples. Hang Thuan encompasses indigenous Vietnamese tradition with deep-rooted Buddhist ideologies. It is not simply a ritual for brides and grooms to pledge to forever and stick it out through thick and thin. First and foremost, it equips soon-to-be husbands and wives with guidance on how to navigate through the ups and downs of marriage and life in pursuance of a harmonious relationship.
Nhẫn / Self-restraint is key to a harmonious relationship (Source: Internet)
Regardless of your beliefs, as long as you wish your marriage to be grounded on love, mutual respect, and good intentions, you can always take refuge in the Buddha. You have the option of getting involved in the decision making or just relaxing and leaving it all in the hands of your wedding coordinators or perhaps your Vietnam tour operator, whatever works best for you.
Adding an extra side of Adrenaline rush is one special way to celebrate your post-nuptial bliss. If your idea of taking the plunge is feeling on top of the world, then conquering the roof of Indochina sure has a nice ring to it. Thrill seekers wanting to make your Vietnam honeymoon a once-in-a-lifetime adventure should definitely add ‘conquering Mount Fansipan’ to your bucket list.
Situated 379km northwest of Hanoi, Mount Fansipan is conveniently close to the dreamy, poetic Sapa Town (9km). At 3,143m above sea level, the roof of Indochina is draped in an everchanging cloud cover all year round and blessed with extraordinarily diverse flora, particularly rare orchids and giant ancient trees.
The trek to its mount has always been considered a trial of faith, which exemplifies the bravery and desire to defy the nature of humankind. In exchange, you will be rewarded with a spectacle of awe-inspiring mountainous grandeur. All the fatigue and mundane concerns will be washed away as soon as you stand together hand in hand with your loved one atop Mount Fansipan and above the fluffy white clouds.
A panoramic view of Sapa on the way up Mt. Fansipan (Source: Internet)
A typical Fansipan trekking tour starting out from Sapa generally lasts 3 nights and 4 days. Trekking the whole way to the top gives you an overpowering sense of accomplishment and allows you to take in the beauty of virgin nature along the way. Not much of a climber or wanting to save energy and time for your other honeymoon activities? You can always opt for a cable car ride which takes you to the summit in less than 15 minutes while offering you a panoramic view of the bountiful vegetation below.
Multi-center honeymoons vs. One-stop beach honeymoons
Retro as it may seem, the classic beach honeymoon is never absent from the list of Top Honeymoon Trends. You can never go wrong with a classic beach holiday if lavish yet laid-back barefoot luxury is what you crave!
Honeymoon on the Con Dao Islands (Source: Internet)
- Roughly an hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, the Con Dao Islands are what first come to mind if you’re thinking of splurging on a purely hedonistic pursuit and reuniting with nature in its truest form at the same time. The once Hell on Earth that was used to house political prisoners under French colonial rule has reinvented itself to become the poster child for a la dolce vita honeymoon paradise, with a harmonious combination of cutting-edge amenities and primitive natural surroundings, in addition to an overflowing sense of romance.
- A 45 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc Island gives Con Dao a good run for its money as it caters to a wider range of needs and budgets. For less than $100, you can easily bag an accommodation in a 4-star resort just a hop from the sand.
- Halong Bay – one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature is another favorite luxury honeymoon destination in Vietnam. Situated 170km northeast of Hanoi, Halong Bay is highly accessible and well-equipped with tourist facilities. Whether you are bon vivants wishing to treat yourselves to an indulgent overnight stay (maybe more), or looking for the best value for money, there is always a heap of options waiting for you without having to max out your credit card.
However, instead of limiting yourself to a beach destination, kick it up a notch and add a full-on action-packed adventure, a cultural break, or maybe both to your agenda to make the most of your honeymoon. The first post-marriage memories you two make together are something to be remembered for years to come, so be sure to make it extra memorable.
If your hearts are set on a multi-center honeymoon, here are some things to keep in mind while planning:
- Mix and match wisely: Many newlyweds make the mistake of leaving the much-needed relaxation time until the end. It’s advisable to organize some serious indulgence on a tropical beach as a relief after all the stress of planning your wedding and celebrating your nuptial. You can celebrate your wedding with a Hang Thuan Ceremony, spoil yourself on a deserted island in Con Dao, conquer Mount Fansipan, and make as many memories as possible together in this lovely country.
- Try not to jam pack your agenda: It is widely known that the sky is the limit when it comes to Vietnam honeymoon destinations. But keep in mind that your honeymoon is supposed to be a time to unwind and revel in the joy of marital bliss. A packed to the rafter itinerary will only backfire and lead to less room for flexibility, as well as the temptation to move fast.
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