An alternative ‘honeymooner’s paradise’
Thursday 3, February 2011
Research released has highlighted the rise in demand for four-week long honeymoons, otherwise known as the ‘honeymonth’.
Honeymoon destinations have also been changing, with many newlyweds now opting for far-flung destinations such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, which are often only regarded as hotspots for gap year travellers. Couples are now using their honeymoons as a chance to plan an adventure of a lifetime together, rather than the usual two-week beach break.
If you’re looking for a honeymoon that could take you to some of the most beautiful and breathtaking places you have ever seen, but one that is also rewarding, memorable and probably one of the most life-changing trips you will ever take, why not ditch the staid ‘hanging out by the pool’ kind of holiday and look at overseas volunteering as a fabulously alternative option to traditional honeymooning. What better way to start your new life together than to share the experience of giving something back to the developing world.
Dr. Peter Slowe, founder of Projects Abroad (www.projects-abroad.co.uk) has witnessed the rapid growth in popularity among newly-married couples embarking on so-called ‘honey-teering’. “The memories and experiences you will gain together whilst volunteering are ones you will remember and cherish for a lifetime. The bed may not be a king-size four-poster, the cuisine may not be as opulent and exquisite as the standard luxury honeymoon trip, but the experience and self-gratification will be far grander and will live with you far longer.
“Many couples also choose to spend part of their honeymoon volunteering but will also add more traditional honeymoon pursuits onto the end of their stay; whether it is climbing Machu Picchu in Peru, visiting the amazing Taj Mahal or snorkelling off of the exotic beaches of Fiji. The choices are endless and by combining these activities you can really have the best of both worlds!”
Projects Abroad recommends the top five volunteering honeymoon destinations:
Newlyweds can work with local indigenous people to help release abandoned exotic pets that have been caught in the towns into the rainforest, help out on the pilot farm to encourage local families to make the most of their land and resources, or take a trip up to South America's highest canopy walkway to gather data on different animals and observe the amazing view.
After the project, they can go on to trek up the mountains, along with llamas carrying their backpacks, and visit the ancient ruins of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Also an appealing excursion for honeymooners – a one night stay on one of the islands in South America’s largest lake, Lake Titicaca.
Rich with culture and incredible natural scenery, Peru is a fascinating country to spend a honeymoon. Whether it’s hiking up the Andes and taking in the breathtaking view or walking through the immense expanse of the Amazon rainforest, Peru offers an extensive range of experiences to its visitors.
Newlyweds have the opportunity to work with orphans in Fiji on an organised care project. They can either work in the capital, Suva, or on the eastern coast in Nadi and will stay with local families who live close to the orphanages who will even provide local dishes every day. The aim of the project is to give the children the care and attention they deserve while at the same time giving the married couple a truly rewarding experience that they can share.
The island is home to magnificent beaches with warm tropical waters, volcanic mountains and beautiful rainforests. It is an idyllic destination to be based in and travelling around Fiji promises to be a phenomenal experience. Couples can ‘island hop’ around the picturesque islands, scuba dive, swim with dolphins, kayak, sky dive or just relax on the beach. In land activities include forest walks, mountain treks and wildlife trails.
Newlyweds can take part in Projects Abroad’s ‘Khmer Project’ where they can explore the ancient Khmer culture, an empire that was once powerful but eventually plundered by its neighbours. The project includes language lessons, cookery, copper moulding and pottery. They will live in an apartment in Phnom Penh, but more adventurous couples can opt to spend three days in a rural village.
Cambodia is the country to visit if you want to see a totally different world and discover the true meaning of ‘culture shock’. The main attraction is the Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the most important of its kind in Southeast Asia. The UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the majestic Angkor temples where couples can decide to go on a helicopter tour around the site or even ride elephants. A relaxing day can also be spent on the peaceful beaches in Sihanoukville.
Legodimo, or "Paradise" in the language of Botswana, is the name of the nature reserve Projects Abroad runs. It is located on the border of Botswana and South Africa, right by the River Limpopo. Here volunteers will be able to experience true wilderness, living amongst free-roaming elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes and hyenas.
The couple will stay in a lodge and help out with the daily activities of the reserve. These include removing alien plant species and fences, going for research drives on a land cruiser and collecting data for the reserve and building elephant and bird viewing hides. For a complete wildlife experience, look no further than Botswana.
Newlyweds can take the opportunity of teaching English together to children in Sri Lanka. This would be based in the small coastal towns from Colombo, Galle or Kandy. Some of the schools are close to the beach and some are even based in temples.
There are many places to visit and activities to take part in such as going to the gardens, seeing the temples, trekking in the nature reserves, visiting the beautiful villages and white water rafting. The tropical island of Sri Lanka not only offers the perfect island experience, but it is also an island with a long history, with the sites to prove it.
For more information on the projects detailed above visit www.projects-abroad.co.uk
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