By Marta Tucci
Over the last decade, travel has shifted from must-see destinations to personalized, cultural experiences. We’ve traded in those bucket lists and souvenirs for sharing a pot of tea with a Berber family in the Atlas Mountains, stamping our own sari pattern with a textile artist in Rajasthan or being guided through an ancient Tibetan monastery. At Naya Traveler, we have come to understand this need for authenticity in travel, and build experiences around this central idea.
In 2016, my partners—Sarah Casewit and Sofia Mascotena—and I founded Naya (which means “purpose/meaning” in ancient Sanskrit) with the idea to curate highly personalized journeys to culturally rich destinations. Our model is built around first-hand expertise and connections with locals who embody their respective country’s heritage. Through experience-based travel, we open ourselves to new perspectives, expand our horizons and embrace the cultural differences as bridges instead of barriers. Today, a honeymoon is more than just a vacation, it’s a chance to broaden your view of the world and its many variations with the one you love. Though each itinerary here at Naya is carefully crafted to suit the individual(s), here are some romantic journeys for newlyweds.
Myanmar’s Untouched Andaman Sea — Yangon & Mergui Archipelago (Myanmar)
Emerging from 60 years of isolation, Burma remains one of the most mysterious and enchanting places in the world. As this ancient land takes a step into modernity, its diverse heritage, colonial elegance and deep spiritual traditions prevail over the changes taking place today. Straddling the line between Southeast Asia and India both geographically and culturally, Burma’s astonishing natural beauty, rare ethnic diversity and rich spiritual legacy allows this country to stand out amongst its neighbors as a world apart awaiting to be discovered.
Touch down in bustling Yangon, the cosmopolitan heart of the country and exciting melting pot of culture, arts, religion and politics. Spend a few days delving into the history and heritage of this fascinating country, while staying at the Belmond Governor’s Residence, a sanctuary in the diplomatic quarters of the city that embodies the character of old-world romance.
Fly down to the southernmost tip of Myanmar, where 800 pristine islands sparsely inhabited by the Moken minority (sea gypsies) await to be discovered aboard a private sailboat. The Mergui Archipelago remains one of the planet’s most unspoiled destinations, some of it only accessible by boat. Unravel the natural beauty of the archipelago through diving sessions, unmarked treks and leisurely sailing.
A private sailing yacht is the most romantic way of travelling. In the age of jet planes and bullet trains, sailing is the opposite. As sailors, we travel for the sake of the journey, the ocean, the stars, the sun and the time we spend with our loved ones. You’ll have your private chef, massage therapist, sleep in the spacious stateroom and sip champagne for breakfast.
- Yangon – 2 Nights – Belmond Governor’s Residence
- Mergui Archipelago – 6 Nights – Private Sailboat Charter
First time traveling to Myanmar? Add a few extra days to your journey and visit Bagan’s ancient temples, Inle Lake and the Shan Hills, and Mandalay, the ancient royal capital. Trips to Myanmar starting at $1200 per person per day, based on a party of two in shared occupancy.
Temple Hopping & Private Jungle Retreats — Siem Reap, Cardamom Jungle, Koh Rong (Cambodia)
A land of contrasts in perfect balance, where tradition meets change and the past lives side by side with the present. Cambodia is raw, alive, beautiful and perspective-shifting. Located in the southern region of the Indochinese peninsula, life in Cambodia is dictated by the rhythms of the Mekong River and Tonle Sap, the world’s largest freshwater floodplain and the beating heart of the ‘Kingdom of Wonder.’ Despite being smaller than its neighboring countries, Cambodia’s unique Indian-influenced Khmer culture centered around Buddhist tradition and spirituality, has remained very much intact throughout its magnificent past. From remote jungles in the northeast and virgin white-sand islands of the south to the colonial capital of Phnom Penh and relaxed village life in between, Cambodia’s diverse landscapes, fascinating history and friendly people make this changing place one of the most beautiful and enigmatic countries in Southeast Asia.
Begin your journey in the heart of Cambodia’s Angkor Empire, explore the beauty of the temples from the comfort of a traditional, luxury sanctuary inside the secluded forest of the temple park. Indulge in traditional massage therapies and exquisite local cuisine. Continue your trip south towards the remote Cardamom Mountains, where a private nature sanctuary nestled within the depths of the jungle awaits, moving to the symphony of the exuberant scenery and wildlife. End your honeymoon romance with a private island retreat staying in an intimate stilted villa over the calm, pristine waters of the Koh Rong archipelago. Partake in a traditional Buddhist ceremony entered around the bond of love and partnership, and get lost among the secluded private beaches of the island.
- Siem Reap – 2 Nights – Phum Baitang
- Cardamom Jungle – 2 Nights – Shinta Mani Wild Private Nature Sanctuary
- Koh Rong – 3 Nights – Song Saa Private Island
Trips to Cambodia starting at $1200 per person per day, based on a party of tw0 in shared occupancy.
Bollywood Romance in Remote Kashmir — Srinagar, Leh, Nubra Valley (Kashmir & Ladakh)
Nestled in the protective embrace of the Great Himalayas, the valley of Kashmir remains one of the least explored romantic pockets in Asia for international travelers. A postcard-perfect landscape of a serene Dal Lake perfectly mirroring snow-covered mountains has been the backdrop for many Bollywood romance epics over the years. While Srinagar—the Indian State’s summer capital—calls for slow-paced strolls through its regal Mughal Gardens and leisurely cruises along the chinar tree-dotted canals on intimate shikaras. It’s also the perfect departure point for exhilarating adventures across the land, from nomad-led treks and glacier hikes, to winter skiing on powder snow in the winters.
Follow the road east towards Ladakh, the land of the Lamas. Settle into a private luxury tented camp fully serviced with butlers, private chef and a wealth of slow-paced outdoor activities at the foothills of the Tibetan Plateau, finishing off with a few nights in the remote Nubra Valley.
- Srinagar – 4 Nights – Sukoon Houseboat
- Leh – 4 Nights – Chamba Camp, Thiksey
- Nubra Valley – 2 Nights – Chamba Camp, Diskit
Trips to Kashmir and Ladakh starting at $1200 per person per day, based on a party of two in shared occupancy.
Morocco’s Enchanting Southern Route — Tata, Guelmim, Assa, Sahara Desert, Skoura Valley, Marrakesh (Morocco)
Journey through Morocco’s lesser-known southern route, passing through some of the most remote towns and villages of the country such as Tata, Guelmim and Assa. Staying at private properties along the way, spend a week on a fully-serviced, exhilarating road trip that will introduce you to Morocco’s secret essence—one that is seldom described in the guidebooks. Your homes on this journey consist of traditional red-brick houses and fort-like adobe mansions overlooking sweeping valleys and tucked in small Berber villages. Meet with locals in their homes, partake in outdoor adventures, learn the art of making Argan and visit the only place on Earth where this precious oil is produced. Spend a night in a private tented camp under the stars of the Sahara Desert, before indulging in the ultimate romantic oasis of Dar Ahlam, in the Skoura Valley. End your trip with an exhilarating few nights in Marrakesh, getting lost in the winding alleys of the Medina and enchanting stories of fortune-tellers of Jemaa el-Fnaa square. Top off your honeymoon experience with the ultimate Moroccan hammam experience, designed to refresh and rejuvenate the body and mind.
- Private Homes – 3 Nights – (La Maison des Arganiers, La Maison de L’Oasis, La Maison Rouge)
- Sahara Desert – 1 Night – Private Luxury Nomadic Camp
- Skoura Valley – 2 Nights – Dar Ahlam
- Marrakesh – 2 Nights – Villa des Orangers
Trips to Morocco starting at $1200 per person per day, based on a party of two in shared occupancy.
For the Hedonist Lovers — Rio de Janeiro & Trancoso (Brazil)
Nowhere does sensuality come to life more naturally than in Brazil—a country, culture and people that are defined by the exuberant natural beauty of the South American tropics and an inherent carefree lifestyle that moves to the rhythm of pulsating samba sounds.
There’s no better introduction to the seductive exoticism of Brazil than by touching down in Rio de Janeiro and letting the Cariocas do the talking (and the dancing). It’s said that anything done as a pair in Rio inevitably becomes a romantic affair, as the city’s intense heat and steamy atmosphere penetrate even the shyest of hearts. Mornings are best enjoyed roaming the colorful streets of Santa Teresa, getting lost in Parque Lage or soaking up the sun at Copacabana and Ipanema beach. Beautiful sunset spots abound across the city, and it might just be the perfect romantic adventure to find your favorite nook and watch the sun retreat. And while the evenings might inherently call for sexy samba dancing on the Selaron Steps, Rio also knows how to turn up the glamour and sophistication: a night cap at the legendary Copacabana Palace is bound to set the mood for an epic romantic getaway in Brazil.
Brazil also knows how to play the intimate romance card, and nowhere is this more evident than in Wilbert Das’ private bohemian paradise in Trancoso. This secret hideaway has been the preferred getaway of the international gypset since its opening. The 11 bright-colored casitas with white-washed shutters date back 500 years, beautifully restored by Das with the help of local artisans using traditional techniques and reclaimed materials. A few nights in Uxua Casa & Spa is enough to fall head-over-heels with a quieter rendition of Brazil that does not surrender its characteristic joyful charm. Whether it’s secluded privacy or five-star treatment that you seek, Uxua’s effortless rustic appeal sets the tone for a nature-filled romantic retreat nestled in the heights of an uber-chic treehouse, or a casita on the steps of the sandy Bahia beach.
- Rio de Janeiro – 2 Nights – Chez Georges
- Trancoso – 4 Nights – UXUA Casa & Spa
First time travelling to Brazil? Add a few extra days to your journey and delve into the depths of the Amazon rainforest, or stop in lively Salvador de Bahia on your way to Trancoso. Trips to Brazil starting at $900 per person per day, based on a party of two in shared occupancy.