As far as incredible shopping venues go, the Folding Umbrella Market in Thailand might just be the most dangerous in the world.
At the very least, it's definitely one of the most fascinating.
The Maeklong Railway runs for nearly 67km between Wongwian Yaim, Bangkok and Samut Songkhram in central Thailand. The Maeklong Railway Station is located at the Samut Songkhram province end, the popular travel attraction is set up on both sides of a 100-meter stretch of train track.
Market vendors have devised a long row of umbrellas and awnings, which extend right over the tracks and shelter them from the heat and other elements and are able to be rescinded on call.
Shoppers and tourists saunter through the markets, along the train tracks, many taking photos or jostling for a position in anticipation of the coming scene.
Then, the loud horn of a train punctuates the air, alerting you to step back and watch the awe-inspiring display comes to life.
The vendors quickly fold up their awnings, some scooping up the goods touching the track rails. Everyone evacuates the line as the train slides through, with seemingly centimeters to spare.
Then, once the train has safely passed, everything is unfolded and it's business as usual.
To see this amazing railway station on your next trip to Thailand, see all our Thailand deals here
With Asia on our doorstep, Australian travellers have a plethora of stunning Villa style accommodation just a short flight from home, with Thailand and Bali villas some of our most booked holidays.
If the idea of renting a villa, perhaps in the Caribbean retreat owned by Mick Jagger, or a French Villa summerhouse of a notable aristocratic family, sounds impossibly glamorous, but it’s not impossible at all.
There are some extraordinary villa offerings around the world. Here are some of our favourites.
OUTRIGGER KOH SAMUI
Outrigger Hotels are well known for their subtle extra design elements, and Outrigger Koh Samui does not disappoint with it’s lush landscaped gardens, where each of the 52 private suites and villas
The dreamy resort pool, Outrigger’s Edgewater Restaurant’s circular platform protrudes over the sand for views to fight for any time of the day, while The Wet Bar, with it’s day bed cabanas allow you to enjoy beach views in privacy. Save up to 47% for a limited time.
Closer to our doorstep, you can try some exquisite Australian villas and live it up in outback luxury like Nicole Kidman, at Voyager’s Longitude 131, overlooking the majestic Uluru. Visit the critically acclaimed Field of Light exhibition (Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku), where 50,000 spindles of light cover more than 7 football fields. As one of the bespoke Luxury Lodges of Australia, this iconic Australia retreat indulges it's guest with exotic experiences such as bespoke guided tours or nearby gorges, a sumptuous Table 131° four course degustation menu with accompanied wines and visiting the remote Ernabella Arts Studio.
While France’s countryside is dotted with villas, you don’t need to be a celebrity to afford to stay there. Villa Lara, Normandy’s newest boutique villa stay accommodation has rooms from just $315 per night. Don’t miss the UNESCO world heritage listed Queen Matilda’s Tapestry at the nearby Bayeaux Museum, or Australia’s war history at Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum. Compared to the prices of luxury hotels in Europe, that's not a bad deal. You have the run of the elegant villa, its pool and gardens, without having to share with strangers.
For something truly unique, the Manta Resort’s Underwater Room gives you the chance to sleep in one of the most inspiring bedrooms in the world, located 250 metres from the shore in a marine conservation area. An all-inclusive 5 star experience.
A remote tropical and pristine island off the east coast of Africa, untouched by mass tourism. The resort promise it is for those who will endure the extra bumpy mile to discover a haven of non-polluted serenity, of silence, solitude and inclusion.
Punta Aquila, Mexico
Mexico continues to be one of the fastest growing destinations for Aussie’s to flock to, following in American footsteps, who have long enjoyed golden sands and sapphire waters on family and romantic holidays. Sleeping up to 8, the Condo Aquila, on Mexico’s exclusive resort area of Punta Mita offers ultimate luxury and just a few short footsteps from the sand.
PARK HYATT HADAAHA
Secluded barefoot luxury offerings are second to none at the iconic Park Hyatt Maldives Hadaahaa. Escape reality at these 50 intimate villas, relax at the onsite spa after your speedboat arrival or cool off in one of two freshwater pools or dive through the diamond like crystal waters surrounding the island.
Bingin Beach, Bali
Australians continue our love affair with the Island of the Gods, with over one million visiting every year. The Shack at Bingin is a two storey villa, just back from the cliffs at Bingin Beach, catering for larger groups or couples. Modern tropical interior design and ocean views top off the modern creature comforts here and the T Shape pool is surrounded by cloud like sun lounges served upon by the attentive staff.
HORSESHOE BEND ESTATE
Wanaka, New Zealand
For those of us who prefer not to spend 24 hours in a metal cylinder traversing the skies to Europe, a short Tasman flight to Australia’s “other state”, New Zealand, has the ultimate in luxury family villas at the stunning Horseshoe Bend Estate, Wanaka. The riverside location hosts never ending rural and mountain views and is only a 5 minute drive to the nearby Wanaka township. Manicured lawns, a tennis court, steam room, hot tub, petanque court and huge outdoor entertaining areas are perfect for a large family, but offer the intimacy and luxury for a special couples getaway.
Nha Trang, Vietnam
Continuing the trend of ultra modern, minimalist stays, the luxury Mia Resort is set a spade’s length from the hotel’s private beach in it’s own palm-fringed bay surrounded by the South China Sea. Light flooded interiors, patio with sea views, glass encased open plan dining overlooking the sea front infinity pool and 5 bedrooms sleeps up to 10, just a short car trip from Nha Trang.
Perfect for a large family or 5 couples travelling together.
Sapodilla Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos Islands
Soft sand, warm water and just enough room for the two of you. Typed into a crescent of beach on Sapodilla Bay and beautifully appointed with Carrara marble, the one bedroom villa is like your own Resort. Villa Capri all has everything you need to take full advantage of it's spectacular location, from lounge chairs and paddle boards to kayaks. Spend the day sunbathing on the Terrace next to your private pool, then cook up local seafood on the barbecue and watch the waves as you enjoy a meal at the alfresco dining area. Nearby you can enjoy the natural wonders of the Princess Alexandra National Park, visit JoJo the wild dolphin declared a national treasure and the nightlife at Turtle Cove.
The world is full of incredible places to visit, and choosing one destination for your once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon can seem like an impossible decision. But if you're looking for a tropical paradise, fused with adventure and culture, then Thailand will not disappoint! Seeped in culture and tradition, and boasting breathtaking landscapes, friendly locals and amazing cuisine, a Thailand honeymoon has all the ingredients for romance, wonder and adventure.
But if you're still undecided, here are 10 reasons why you should honeymoon in Thailand.
1. Islands and White-sand Beaches
With some 1400 islands, Thailand boasts some of the most exquisite beaches in the world. The larger, more popular islands are inhabited, but plenty of the smaller islands are not populated, so you can get off the beaten track and find your own private, white-sand beach for that romantic picnic. One of our top picks is Koh Samui - it's authentic, laid back vibe is true Thailand, and it is perfectly located for day-trips to some of the other islands.