If you’re LGBTQ+ and looking for the perfect honeymoon destination, then not only do you want somewhere romantic where you can relax, you also want to feel accepted and safe. Married lesbian couple and travel bloggers Whitney and Megan Bacon-Evans of What Wegan Did Next have done the hard work to find the perfect gay honeymoon destination: Ko Samui, Thailand. Here’s their guide on where to stay, what to do and where to eat.
Thailand is considered the most welcoming and LGBTQ+ friendly country in Asia and we certainly experienced that. We received no awkward questions such as: "Do you want two single beds instead of a king bed?" – everyone was so welcoming and congratulated us. As a same-sex couple, it’s important to feel like you will be safe and that you will have a magical honeymoon: the wonderful Thai hospitality ensures every couple will be made to feel so special and welcome.
Where to stay
Ko Samui definitely does luxury well, and the good news is that it doesn’t break the bank.
SALA Samui Choengmon Beach Resort
Only 10- to 15-minutes' drive from Ko Samui airport is SALA Samui Choengmon Beach Resort. Situated right by the beach, the resort has two pools, a restaurant and a spa on-site. We found the resort to be so peaceful and tranquil, with luxurious, traditional Thai architecture. We loved our villa suite with our its private pool and outside bathroom.
SALA Samui Chaweng Beach Resort
For a more modern vibe, check in to Sala Chaweng Beach Resort. Directly facing the beautiful white sands of Chaweng Beach, the resort has a 'moon pool' and beachfront restaurant. Opt for the Oceanfront one-bedroom pool suite for stunning accommodation complete with your own private infinity pool overlooking the beach.
If you like this, try this: The ten best LGBT honeymoon destinations ranked
Silavadee Pool Spa Resort
For a luxurious hideaway, look no further than Silavadee Pool Spa Resort. Jump into a buggy and be taken to your scenic villa surrounded by lush tropical trees. We were mesmerised when we walked in to find a four-poster bed as well a private pool and deck. The resort has numerous dining options, two pools, a spa and an exclusive beach.
Bangkok pit stop
You’ll likely be flying via Bangkok, so why not stop for a night? The Peninsula greets you with pillows with your name on them, while the Mandarin Oriental is an exquisite hotel where you can have your own friendly butler. For peak romance, book a treatment at MO’s The Oriental Spa in one of its suites, complete with your very own steam room and private vitality pool.
What to do
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to soak up every minute enjoying your amazing villa or suite. Make sure there’s time to relax and do just that, preferably with champagne in hand. But there's plenty to do if you want to venture outside.
Enjoy some R&R at a spa
After flying to Thailand, we thoroughly enjoyed a couple's massage at SALA Samui Choengmon. It's exactly what your muscles need following a long flight and after dancing the night away at your wedding. For a unique spa experience, book ‘The Rainforest Indulgence’ hydrotherapy treatment at the Banyan Tree. You go through different spa experiences, starting with a hot steam room followed by a hit of freezing cold as you pull a bucket of ice over your head – we screamed and laughed a lot! Wind it up with a few different water-pressure massages in the pool and then relax on hot beds with tea.
Go on safari around the island
For an adventurous day out, opt for a safari tour around the island with Raging Bull Safari. It’s a great way to spice things up and see some beautiful scenery. Hop into the back of the truck and head off to explore different parts of Ko Samui. You’ll be taken to a waterfall and different temples, including the Big Buddha, Standing Buddha and Mummified Monk Temple. Take in the amazing scenery as you're driven higher and higher into the mountains. You'll be holding on tight to the truck but it will be worth it for the views and ending up at the secret Buddha Garden. After a few hours of sightseeing, you’ll have worked up an appetite for food at Jungle Route 360° restaurant, with breathtaking views of the island. If you’re lucky, you may get to pose at Grandfather and Grandmother rock… we’ll leave that as a surprise!
Take a trip to an ethical elephant sanctuary
One of the highlights of Ko Samui is a trip to the ethical Samui Elephant Sanctuary. It’s the first sanctuary for elephants on Ko Samui and it rescues elephants from the tourism and logging industries. You’ll find out more about the great work of the sanctuary by meeting the elephants and will get to hear their stories from the volunteers. The best part is that you also get to feed them: seeing an elephant completely delighted when crushing a whole watermelon brought us so much joy!
Take a Thai cooking class
What’s more romantic than learning to cook together? We took a Thai cooking lesson at SALA Choeng Beach with the Head Chef Max, and got to make our favourite Thai dishes: vegetarian green Thai curry and a green papaya salad. Once you’ve finished cooking, you can enjoy your very own Thai meal sat next to the beach.
Visit Ang Thong Marine National Park
Ang Thong Marine National Park is made up of 42 islands. After a 45- to 90-minute boat trip (depending on the type of vessel), you’ll arrive in paradise. The islands are stunning and you’ll have the chance to stop at a couple of them to explore.
Where to eat
For rooftop views
For breathtaking views and romance at its best, opt for dinner at Star, Silavdee Resort's rooftop restaurant. Make sure you head up before sunset to take in the spectacular view with a cocktail amid fairy lights and candles, and book dinner at one of the sunken tables; an optical illusion that makes you look like you are immersed in the sea. One thing we loved about Thailand is how accommodating restaurants are to vegetarians and pescetarians (like us) – there's often a specific menu to cater for all palates. The chef at Star prepared a special menu for us, including black-sesame orange tofu, which was divine. Don't leave without tasting the mango sticky rice.
For a beach dinner date
If sitting beachside in a gazebo is your vibe, then you’ll want to dine at SALA Samui Chaweng's The Tent Beachfront Restaurant & Bar. For a refreshing bite to eat, choose the pomelo salad with a hint of chilli – it packs so much flavour and will make your taste buds dance. Another fantastic dish, which happens to be vegan, is the young coconut soup, consisting of coconut water and meat with shitake and shimeji mushrooms along with aromatic Thai flavourings.
For riverside romance
Up the level of romance with a boat trip from the Mandarin Oriental over to its restaurant across the Chao Phraya River. Terrace Rim Naam serves outstanding and unique Thai cuisine by Michlein-starred Chef de Cuisine Pom. Enjoy a beautiful alfresco dining experience while watching the boats passing by. We experienced an exquisite customised five-course dinner of lavish Thai flavours that concluded with mango sticky rice in the shape of a heart. Our overall experience was memorable and romantic, from the cuisine to the ambience and hospitality – a foodies' dream come true.