When: 23rd April – 10th May 2018
When I think back to everything we did on our honeymoon, even I struggle to believe it. We wanted the perfect mix between relaxation, adventure and culture and ended up deciding on three wonderful but very different locations; The Maldives for a secluded beach paradise to unwind after the wedding, Borneo for a wildlife adventure and Kuala Lumpur for city sight-seeing. We arranged the honeymoon ourselves, mainly using Expedia, Booking.com and Sky Scanner as this provided better value for money than any travel agents we spoke with given the destinations and amount of flights.
We stayed at Furavari Island in the Maldives, in a beach villa (with an upgrade to beach pool villa for the last night – WOW, the most incredibly luxurious accommodation I have ever seen) and I could not recommend this island more highly for the perfect Maldivian experience. The island is a 40 minute seaplane journey, an awesome experience in itself, from Male and feels completely secluded and separate from the whole world. My favourite thing about the Maldives was the snorkelling. Between getting off the seaplane and arriving at reception we had already seen reef sharks, rays and a rainbow of tropical fish in the crystal clear water surrounding the island. Each day we discovered a new area of the ‘house reef’ and was more and more amazed. My fear of the sea was occasionally put to the test when a reef shark or ray appeared but even I was in awe of these magnificent sea creatures in their natural habitat, you could spend hours snorkelling without realising (causing some very sunburnt backs!) it was truly mesmerising. My highlight was spotting a green turtle eating at the coral and swimming peacefully among the other tropical fish, I must have spent 45 minutes with him as I could barely make myself leave. Furaveri Island Resort and Spa was paradise, their villas were outstanding, spacious bedrooms and outdoor bathrooms and our upgraded villa with private plunge pool. Their staff were very friendly, polite and attentive, they hosted a managers meeting weekly where you could speak with the senior staff about anything, give feedback and enjoy some drinks and nibbles on the beach at sunset. They also offered evening entertainment, my favourite being the movie night on the beach!
Our 4 nights in Borneo began with one night to rest after the journey from the Maldives, we stayed at the Four Points by Sheraton, Sandakan Harbour. A lovely hotel with an infinity pool looking out over the harbour. We began our Borneo tour (through Borneo Eco Tours) the following day, starting with one night’s stay at Turtle Island, a small in the Sulu Sea hosting a conservation for sea turtles. After a day lounging on the beautiful beach at around 8:30pm our tour guide informed us that the first night’s siting of a mother turtle, we followed the tour guides by torch light down to the beach and witnessed a turtle laying 71 turtle eggs. The conservation team them relocated the eggs to their secure nurseries until they are ready to hatch. We were also lucky enough to witness a group of newly hatched baby turtles being released on the beach and make their way in to the sea. The next day we returned to Sandakan and visited the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, both wonderful and educational rehabilitation centres providing the animals huge expanses of natural habitat. A 2½ hours boat journey took us to the award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge (a National Geographic Unique Lodge) along Sabah's longest river, Kinabatangan. We stayed here for two nights and enjoyed several day and night river cruises, spotting Macaques, an Orangutan, Probiscus Monkeys and tropical birds as well as the beautiful landscapes. Given its secluded location I worried that the lodge would be very basic but it exceeded
my expectations with luxurious bedrooms, all with en suite bathrooms, and the staff were so welcoming and friendly. I must give huge credit to our tour guide that we had for our entire Borneo adventure, his knowledge was fantastic, he was happy to answer every random question you could think of about the animals, plants and Borneo life.
To finish our honeymoon we spent three nights in Kuala Lumpur, staying at the Traders Hotel. I chose this hotel due to it’s uninterrupted view of the spectacular Petronus Towers and the open-air rooftop SkyBar. The hotel was fantastic and prices in Kuala Lumpur made staying in a Shang Ri La hotel affordable! The city is relatively easy to get around, we mainly used Uber’s which were very cheap. During our days here we visited the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park, the world largest free-flight walk-in aviary which was brilliant and you really go to interact with the bird as they flew freely around you and the larger ones wondered along the walkways. We also visited the Batu Caves, just north of the city and well worth visiting. It is a limestone hill that has a series of caves and cave temples with the world's tallest statue of Murugan (a very impressive 42.7 m high gold statue), a Hindu deity. You also have to visit one of the many multi-storey (I’m talking 8 stories!) shopping centres, they offer every luxury brand you can possibly think of plus the more affordable H&M, Topshop and the like. The Suria KLCC is located at the bottom of the fabulous Petronus Towers. There are loads of options for food in Kuala Lumpur but I had booked two nights specially; the Dining In The Dark and KL Tower’s Atmosphere 360. Dining in the Dark is a unique dining experience offering several mystery dishes for each course in the complete darkness, you can not even see your own hand right in front of your face. It means that you have to really concentrate and appreciate the flavours and textures to work out what each dish before being shown the menu after your experience. Atmosphere 360 is located at the top of the KL Tower and is a revolving buffet restaurant offering panoramic views of all of Kuala Lumpur and a lovely romantic atmosphere, perfect for the last night of our honeymoon!