We are currently in the thick of wedding season which for most means honeymoons. I mean who doesn’t like honeymoons? I went on a honeymoon to Scarborough in the UK, yep totally exotic just like the Maldives (not).
So honeymoons is a hot hot topic now for Muslims and non Muslims alike. I know so many people are emailing me with their honeymoon requests; especially the sisters. They have this massive list of want’s such as a private villa with a pool in the Maldives, seclusion, not far away and of course five star luxury and halal gourmet meals to hand. And then comes the budget. Which is so tiny that covers only a speedboat transfer and a night in the resort. I know the travel industry has done a great “job” at brainwashing couples of where the most popular hot spots are for your wedding and honeymoon, but honestly some of the prices are crazy.
I did a honeymoon booking for a client yesterday and it wasn’t for the Maldives, for a change. They will have an awesome luxury honeymoon and visit 3 countries and pay less than three nights in a Maldivian resort.
Unless you are millionaire or you have an extremely well paid job then why spend £10,000 on a one week holiday. And I know people on minimum wage getting into debt for their wedding and honeymoon. Why?
I am not saying don’t go. Of course you should, especially as Muslims who don’t date or live with their partner before their wedding it is essential in my opinion. Because you do get to know the person better and spend time alone away from families. As they say you don’t know someone until you travel with them. I can vouch that this is definitely true.
What i am saying however is to be realistic on what to expect and stay within your budget. I would prefer to cut the £10,000 honeymoon budget to £3,000 and use the rest of the money for more trips or even a house down payment. There are so many other places that you can visit where your money is worth more. Don’t buy into the trend that the perfect honeymoon is in the Maldives or nowhere. It simply adds extra pressure to the groom who needs to book and pay for it. ?
Many Muslim women want a beach resort and a private pool for their honeymoon which is totally understandable. You can feel free to enjoy those special moments with your husband without worrying about people seeing you. My advice is go to places that have great facilities for your needs and don’t cost a lot of money. Forget the norm of travel, unless you can afford the £1000 price tag in the Maldives for the private pool then please invite me along as well.
Here are my top 5 Muslim friendly honeymoon destinations that can give you everything you need such as a private pool, exotic feeling and not break the bank. They cost less and they are beautiful places far away and totally Muslim friendly.
Seriously Thailand has some amazing beaches and resorts. They are also looking into creating a Muslim travel app to help tourists around the country to find halal food and prayer facilities. There are so many places you can explore that have great beaches and plenty of activities to do as well. Hotels in Thailand don’t cost a lot and you can even have your own private pool for less than £200 a night in a five star hotel. Flights are considerably cheap from Europe at about £350 return and there are always airline sales and offers. Some of my favourite resorts are Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui and Hua Hin in mainland Thailand. If you are using miles and points for your honeymoon the hotel categories are low for what they offer which makes some of them a great deal.
Indonesia is one more country with beautiful scenery, awesome beaches and cheap living. There are so many five star resorts and so cheap that when I look at them I am honestly lost at which one to choose; you are spoilt for choice. I sometimes think I should do hotel hopping in Bali. Bali is a beautiful island and has 4% Muslim population and there are plenty of restaurants with halal food. Even though the majority of the population are Hindu, being so close to Muslim countries they know how to cater to Muslim tourists and are expanding their offerings.
There are also great options for Airbnb private villas you can book starting from only £80 per night; fully secluded with breakfast. I mean what else would you need on your honeymoon. Great place, perfect seclusion for hijab free days, private pool and your husband/wife. I am definitely sold.
Not many people think of Sri Lanka when they are looking for their honeymoon. It is just a little North of Maldives, has a similar climate and the southern parts have some beautiful beaches. You are only a few hundred miles away from the Maldives enjoying the same feeling yet without the same price tag. Sri Lanka has some beautiful resorts and last time I checked Airbnb they had some great value for luxury villas with private chef and live-in staff. You can explore Colombo for a few days as well as there are so many beautiful places you can visit, temples, markers and scenery. Also you can find plenty of halal food dining options. Sri Lanka, like many other Asian countries, are realising the Halal/ Muslim friendly potentials and are very keen to tap into this multi-billion dollar market. It is definitely on my list to visit and I think you should too.
One country that we don’t hear a lot about is the Philippines. A Southeast Asian neighbour of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia it is also a great place for honeymoons. It has over 7000 beautiful small islands which are perfect picture scenes for honeymoon photos. It is a cheap country to honeymoon as well. With 11% of the population being Muslims there is no problem to find halal food and areas to pray. Plus it is great to meet local Muslims if you are interested. There are many honeymoon resorts and also Airbnb is great for some affordable luxury.
Of course we can’t exclude from the list Malaysia. A country which is diverse and so beautiful not only Kuala Lumpur, it’s capital, but also so many islands and beach resorts making it a perfect destination for a honeymoon. Langkawi, Kota Kinablu, Ipoh are very popular and there are so very affordable options with private pools. As a Muslim country there is never and issue of prayer facilities or food and there are so many activities to enjoy and scenery to take in. Flights are cheap and airlines always have deals on travel to Southeast Asia starting from £350.
If you have more than one week I will totally recommend to use the low cost Airlines to do country and island hopping. It is crazy how affordable it is with prices starting from as little as £8. This way you can explore more than one country and make it really a memorable trip. Also there are low cost airlines flying from the Middle East to Philippines, Sri Lanka and others. I have seen tickets for as low as £100 return with Cebu Pacific Airlines.
It is important to remember that honeymoons are special moments to enjoy with your spouse. For some Muslims especially, this is the only moment you will get to spend alone and find out more about each other without family pressures. There is no need to compete with your friends and family on the most expensive, trendy and luxury honeymoon. Because what should matter most is that you are together.
I hope this gave you some ideas when planning your honeymoon. It is so much cheaper and much more fun than being stuck on a 2km islands in the Maldives for a week without being able to remove your hijab or swim. I have nothing against the Maldives and it is a destination I would love to visit but would I want to pay the hefty price tag? I am not sure. But again this might just be me as there are so many alternatives available..