For Better or For Worse - where not to honeymoon

For Better or For Worse - where not to honeymoon

Penny Walker explores places that you wouldn't want to honeymoon, and offers some more appealing alternatives

1. For public displays of affection

For Worse: UAE
Dubai Couple (Flickr ;soham _pablo )2 In the UAE, physical contact is a no go. Holding hands is tolerated, but kissing and petting are considered an offence to public decency and are illegal. In areas like Dubai that are more open to Western ideologies, police are not overly stringent. However, if your activity causes offence and a report is made, they will follow the law and make an arrest. This usually leads to time in prison, followed by deportation; as a married Pakistani couple recently found out when they were caught making love in a taxi. Not sure what's appropriate? Check out our PDA do's and don'ts.

 For Better: Cyprus
Cyprus Honeymoon PDA (Flickr ;Son Of Groucho)

The nearest safe haven for couples that want to cosy up on the beach without drawing unwanted negative attention is the beautiful island of Cyprus. Visit Aphrodite's rock, sample the wineries or charter a boat for some time alone.


2. For personal safety

For Worse: Somalia
Somalia Bomb (Flickr ;expertinfantry)It goes without saying that you should avoid sailing or travelling around Somalia when considering the ideal honeymoon destination. After the high-profile kidnapping of British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler in 2009 for a total of 388 days, we have been acutely aware of the dangers of Somalian pirates. With many governments having a zero tolerance policy on cooperating with terrorists, your honeymoon could quickly turn into a hostage situation from hell.

For Better: Kashmir
Kashmir Boat (Flickr ;mckaysavage)As a destination popular with honeymooners from around the globe before militant action in 1989, recent developments have seen the FCO's advice to 'avoid Kashmir' revoked, meaning this beautiful destination is now (tentatively) back on the map. In summer you can rent a house boat on the tranquil Nagin lake or take a ride in a shikara at night to enjoy the unspoilt heavens from the middle of the water. In winter, head to Gulmarg for a ski honeymoon with a difference and snuggle up next to a roaring fire.

3. For same sex couples

For Worse: Nigeria
Nigeria (Flickr ;Shardayyy)

Nigeria is one of the eight nations in the world where homosexuality is considered to be a crime punishable by death. Northern Nigeria (where the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment) is far more lenient than the south, where the Islamic Sharia law can impose punishments as harsh as stoning. Citizens and police have also been known to brutally and openly attack homosexual couples.

Other nations that carry the death penalty are; Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania, Sudan, Yemen, Sharia Somalia, and Taliban Afghanistan.

For Better: South Africa
Rainbow Roses (Flickr ;Chair Woman May)

South Africa is the only country in Africa to have legalised same sex marriage, and while there are areas where you should exercise caution, you can openly enjoy the sites of this beautiful country in relative peace. Check out Rainbow's Honeymoon Secrets advice on Africa's most LGBT friendly destinations, or our 10 romantic things to do in Cape Town for more ideas.

4. For UK breaks

For Worse: Birmingham
Birmingham (Flickr ;malias)Hailing from the Midlands I may be a bit biased, but for me, Birmingham lacks the charms of other cities around the UK. Although there is plenty to do in England's second biggest city, it does not exactly scream romantic break. The backdrop to this large industrious city is the Bullring shopping centre. With a Selfridges that has been voted the ugliest building in the UK, it is far from the ideal setting.


For Better: The Cotswolds
Cotswolds (Flickr ;jodastephen)

The saving grace of Birmingham is that it is close to some of England's finest scenery. The Cotswolds are a fantastic destination for those that want a mix of everything; beautiful countryside, historic towns, and villages built from the famous yellow Cotswold stone make this an idyllic location in any season.

Stratford upon Avon is the birth place of Shakespeare and is the ideal destination for theatre and history lovers, while the stunning Peak District offers some spectacular scenery. You'll find both in the Midlands, not too far from Birmingham.

5. For the perfect cocktail

For Worse: Brunei
No Alcohol (Flickr ;Baptiste Mille -Mathias)

In deference to Islam, alcohol is not sold in Brunei. Although private consumption by non-muslims is allowed and visitors can take a small amount into the country, don't expect to be able to stop for a quick drink and toast your long life together while you are out and about.


For Better: Indonesia
Bali Drink (Penny Walker)Despite having the world's largest Muslim majority population, alcohol consumption is not illegal in Indonesia. Most tourist locations, including bars and restaurants, have alcohol licenses and you can enjoy a cocktail by the beach in most places. By far the most liberal of the islands is Bali, which has a predominantly Hindu population. If you enjoy mingling with the locals, the Balinese are more than happy to join you for an afternoon tipple.


6. For island breaks

For Worse: Ilha da Queimada Grande (Snake Island)
Viper (Flickr ;brian .gratwicke)

This island off the coast of Brazil is populated by a unique and highly venomous species of lancehead viper. Fortunately, visiting Snake Island is strictly prohibited by the Brazilian Navy. There are thought to be around 5,000 of these deadly reptiles slithering around. Landing here would be a sure way to achieve death by venom. Not the best way to start a marriage.


For Better: Ilha Grande
Ilha Grande (Flickr ;nicholasbittencourt)

With a similar name and close locale, this island is thankfully not full of deadly snakes lurking in the undergrowth. White sand beaches with a backdrop of lush green rainforest makes this the ideal desert island getaway. Looking for romantic things to do in Brazil? Bespoke Brazil shared a few of their top tips with us here and here.


7. For friendly locals

For Worse: Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea Tribesman (Flickr ;aq -photography .com)

"Until death do us part"... Although much of Papua New Guinea is now considered safe, just last year a man from New Zealand was attacked by a tribesman and shot in the back with arrows. The motive for the attack was the New Zealander's girlfriend, whom the tribesman had taken a liking to. Unless you're keen to rid yourself of your partner, caution is advised when travelling in the more remote parts of this spectacular country.

 For Better: Mongolia
Mongolia Horse (Flickr ;Herry Lawford)

You can enjoy the legendary hospitality of Mongolia by spending a few days with the nomadic people in a ger (yurt). You will have your very own yurt to snuggle up in, but this will offer a cultural experience unlike any other. Travelling with them by horse or camel, you can immerse yourself completely and learn their way of life, all with a beautiful scenic backdrop.


8. For the perfect setting

For Worse: Chernobyl
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (Flickr ;skpy)The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in the Ukraine has now become an unlikely tourist destination. But probably not one where you would like to honeymoon. Parts of the nuclear plant remain inaccessible and straying from the tourist route is ill-advised as many areas are still very dangerous. As the sight of the world's biggest civilian nuclear disaster, there is not a site in the world that could be less perfect for a romantic break.


 For Better: Paris
Paris (Flickr ;hyekab 25)Although many think of it as a cliché, Paris is still internationally thought of as the "city of love". While this is a dubious title with so many interesting cities out there, it is hard to deny the beauty of Paris. With stunning architecture, picturesque parks and exquisite restaurants, Paris is still an idyllic city break for those with romance in mind. Check out our suggestions for 10 romantic things to do while you're there...

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