A honeymoon doesn’t necessarily need to be about pricey hotel rooms and expensive destinations. Priyanka Singh & Dev Goswami tell you about some of the best budget honeymoon destinations
While we can’t take marital advice from American designer Diane von Fürstenberg considering her first attempt at marriage didn’t exactly have a ‘happily ever after’ (whose does?!), but she was definitely right about honeymoon, when she said, “Go to a place where you’re not going to be stressed, because a honeymoon itself can be a stressful thing.” There is so much pressure to have fun on your honeymoon and more than that, finding the answer to the make it or break it question — where do we go?
It is always better to choose a destination that’s not hard on your pocket, so that you don’t have to worry about the additional taxes that the sprawling hotel is going to levy when you check out. Pick a place that is within your budget to truly enjoy your honeymoon. In order to get you started, here is a list of honeymoon destinations that won’t break your bank account. We also spoke to Thomas Cook India’s chief operating officer, Rajeev Kale, to get his picks which are based on consumers’ preferences observed by Thomas Cook India. Read on to find out more about these destinations, how to get there, and how much they will cost you if you book right about now.
Bhutan, or the Land of Thunder Dragon, has several award winning boutique hotels and lodges that provide understated luxury in some of the most remote places on the planet. Misty mornings and crisp days with panoramic views and roaring log fires, provide the perfect setting for a romantic getaway. You can choose to add a little luxury for a few days at the end of your trip or opt for a five star retreat with your own villa, private spa and personal butler service. But, if you aren’t up for shelling out too much, then there are several budget hotels that you can choose from.
Book now: You will first have to make your way to Kolkata from where Drukair operates flights to Paro in Bhutan. However, the tickets can be a bit expensive and range upwards of Rs 10,000 per person. You can also get a flight to Bagdogra (Rs 4,000 onwards) and make your way to Phuentsholing, which is five hours away by road and is an entry point into Bhutan. Indian nationals have a visa-on-arrival facility.
The most attractive and exquisite destination in the state of Tamil Nadu, the Niligiris are home to some of the most exotic flora and fauna and creates the perfect ambience for a honeymoon. The district has dense forests, rushing streams, undulating emerald green plains, breathtaking view of valleys and glades laced with an adventure angle of safaris, Coracle rides, forest trekking and accommodation in a tree house. If you are fond of trekking, then there are a range of mountains with at least 24 peaks above 2,000m in the western section of the state. Hotel rooms are in the range of Rs 2,500-Rs 5,000 per night.
Book now: To reach the Nilgiris, you’ll first have to make your way to Coimbatore by either air or rail. Train journey, though very cheap (Rs 1,400 per person), will take more than 30 hours. If you book right now, you can get air tickets in the range of Rs 4-4,500 for the month of December. From Coimbatore, you’ll need to make your way by road to Ooty, which is around 90km and then board the famous mountain train to reach the Nilgiris.
Island camping, trekking and water sports such as snorkelling, diving and wind surfing are much in demand with new-age Indian couples on their honeymoon. And Andaman is the place to be if you are looking for a honeymoon that has a good mix of activities to do and equal amount of tranquility. A cluster of 572 islands, at Andamans, you can also spend your time enjoying great surroundings and spectacular views of the endless sea, deep forests and magnificent hills. Just relaxing together on the silver beaches is a great way to enjoy sunsets and gaze at the stars at night. If you have a tight budget, then you can skip the adventure sports as they will make your expenses pretty high. Hotel rooms will cost around Rs 6-8,000 per night.
Book now: The Andaman Islands are only connected to mainland India by air (unless, you want to go to Chennai or Kolkata and take a ship from there). Air fares for the month of December are currently in the range of Rs 9-10,000 per person. If you want to travel by ship (they sail only four times in a month), the tickets start from Rs 5,000 per person from either Kolkata or Chennai.
An obvious destination on this list, but there’s no way you can talk about budget honeymoon destinations and not include Goa. In fact, Goa tops the list of romantic beach spots to vacation to in the country. There are a variety of options for one to indulge in. From expensive options to reasonable ones, you can choose from a variety of accommodations according to your budget. Your stay in Goa can be as cheap as Rs 1,000, or even less than that, but you’ll need to be willing to explore a little to find cheap places to stay.
Book now: If you’re going to choose Goa as your honeymoon destination then you should either go now or next year, because with November-December being peak season, your honeymoon won’t be ‘budget’ anymore. You can go to Goa by road, rail or air. Air fares for January next year are around Rs 2,600. By rail, you’ll be spending around Rs 1,000 per person and bus tickets usually start from Rs 650 per person.
A combination of the cool Green Velvet Tea Estates and the warm, tropical backwaters of Vembanad Lake along with indulging in private pool villas, lagoon villas and cosy houseboats make Kumarakom, Alleppey and Munnar extremely popular romantic destinations in Kerala. While pool and lagoon villas will obviously be out of most of our budgets, houseboats are relatively cheaper. Because of the vast diversity of the state, it is very easy to find a honeymoon package that seems friendly to your bank account. You can book rooms in the range of Rs 3-7,000.
Book now: Flight tickets to Cochin for the month of December currently start at around Rs 4,000 per person. Train, which will take you 24 hours, will cost around Rs 1,500 per person. From Cochin, you can hire a car to Munnar, Alleppey and other such destinations.
West Bengal’s Himalayan town, Darjeeling is quite famous amongst honeymooners. The surroundings are beautiful and peaceful. Natural beauty in the backdrop of picturesque tea plantations makes Darjeeling an ideal destination for celebrating marriage. Surrounded by the Kanchenjunga range, tourists can also visit the famous plantation areas of the tea garden. Accommodation is not a problem as one can choose from plenty of hotels in Darjeeling that offer a comfortable yet affordable stay. Rooms in Darjeeling range between Rs 3-7,000 per night.
Book now: To reach Darjeeling by air, you’ll have to switch planes at Kolkata and reach Bagdogra, from where you can take a bus or cab to Darjeeling. The fares for a complete journey, from Mumbai to Bagdogra including the change, are in the range of Rs 4-6,000 for December. Trains are an option too, but the travel time will be more than two days and so, it might not be the perfect honeymoon plan that you might have dreamt of.
The stunning views of the surrounding area and serene atmosphere make Shimla one of the most famous destinations for a mountain getaway. Also known as the ‘Abode of Gods’, Shimla has been attracting a lot of honeymooning couples. When on a trip to Shimla, the verdant valleys, wooded mountains and fascinating Buddhist monasteries are some of the must-see attractions. A honeymoon here becomes even more pleasant because there are plenty of accommodation options available and from reasonably priced lodges to luxury hotels, you can choose one that suits your budget. Starting range for a room will be around Rs 3,000.
Book now: To reach Shimla, you will need to reach either Chandigarh or Delhi, with air fares for the cities starting at Rs 4,500. Trains will cost you around Rs 1,400 per person. To reach Shimla, you can then take a bus or taxi that are frequently available from either of the cities.
Also known as the ‘Switzerland of India’, Kullu Manali is one of the must-visit evergreen tourism destinations in India. The cool climate, landscape beauty and snow-laden views offer a heavenly experience to newlywed couples. Be it the exceptionally beautiful Rohtang pass, the temples of Vashisth, Hidimba or the beautiful Tibetan styled monasteries, a honeymoon in Manali is sure to leave tourists with some sweet memories of their visit. The availability of luxurious and budget hotels in Manali ensures that it does not create a hole in a honeymooner’s pocket. Hotel stay starts at Rs 4,000 for a night.
Book now: To reach Kullu Manali, you’ll have to do the same travel as you would for Shimla. You can reach the destination by road from Delhi and Chandigarh.