It’s Valentine’s Day on Feb 14 and perhaps it’s short notice to book last-minute flights. Maybe you can keep in mind these suggestions for next year for that romantic getaway. But why wait till that comes around again, you can be romantic any time and perhaps that would be much more appreciated than to wait for a designated “day”.
1. Ubud, Bali
There’s nothing quite like waking up to padi field views from your Balinese villa in Ubud. Ubud is about 40km from the Ngurah Rai (Denpasar) International Airport in Kuta and easily accessible by taxi. It’s fairly easy to get around. You can rent a car to bring you around, or even hop on a motorbike, or bicycle.
As a hub for traditional arts and crafts, and dance, the town offers many attractions including the Ubud Art Market where you can buy souvenirs and even decorative items for your home. Visit the beautiful Tegallalang padi terraces for a scenic walk; sacred Ubud Monkey Forest which is a nature reserve-cum-temple complex comprising three temples; Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), a major archaeological site with relic-filled courtyard, wall-rock carvings, caves, bathing pools and fountains; Puri Saren Agung (Ubud Royal Palace); or enjoy a romantic couple’s spa. Dine at one of the many restaurants with breathtaking scenery of the sun setting over padi terraces.
2. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The gateway to the Angkor ruins never ceases to strike a chord of romanticism in adventurous couples. After all, it is the filming location for Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Besides the extensive Angkor temples to explore; enjoying the sunset from the temple tops; and the many photographic opportunities available, there are also many other things to see and do in Siem Reap.
Visit Les Chantiers Ecoles–Artisans Angkor, an art centre where you can see traditional techniques employed in wood- and stone-carving, silk painting, lacquerwork, and other artisan skills; and also purchase clothing, accessories, and home deco items at Psar Chaa (market); ; Phare the Cambodian Circus, which is a performing arts circus and uses no animals; and the Angkor National Museum. There are also many cosy cafes and restaurants where you can savour Khmer and fusion cuisine.
3. Hanoi, Vietnam
Stroll around the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, which surrounds Ngoc Son Temple, an island pagoda in the middle of the lake. It is a popular spot to people-watch and hangout. Take a walk through the Hanoi Old Quarter where you can experience “the real Vietnam of old” – colonial architecture, endless streams of two-wheelers (motorcycles, scooters and bicycles) and other four-wheeled vehicles weaving through narrow streets, around pedestrians and traders; souvenir stalls; and coffee shops offering scrumptious Vietnamese delicacies.
You can also visit the Hanoi Opera House to enjoy Vietnamese opera, dance performances, sketches, and music concerts by international artistes; Dong Xuan Market, where you can buy clothing, accessories and souvenirs; watch the Water Puppet Theatre; and visit other places of interest like the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long; Temple of Literature; Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum; and Perfume Pagoda. Dine at romantic restaurants that offer Vietnamese and fusion cuisine with spectacular night views of the city skyline.
4. Krabi, Thailand
If you love the beaches, sea, and sun, then fly to Krabi, Thailand. Learn how to make authentic Thai cuisine at one of the four cooking schools; enjoy a stimulating couple’s spa or Thai massage; go on a longtail or speed boat tour to Railey Beach, Phi Phi Island, Koh Lanta, Ko Hong, Ko Poda and Ko Gai (Chicken Island); and hike in the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park to the Emerald and Crystal Pools where you can take a dip; or the Klong Thom Hot Springs which is nearby. You can also visit Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave) and Phra Nang Cave Beach. For active couples, you might enjoy scuba diving, snorkelling, rock-climbing or kayaking too. Enjoy the spectacular sunset views as you dine at one of the beach side restaurants serving authentic Thai or fusion cuisine.
5. Hong Kong
From upmarket malls at Admiralty, Central and SoHo; to endless retail outlets at Causeway Bay, on Hong Kong island; to Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district and Mong Kok where the Ladies’ Market is located, on Kowloon island; Hong Kong promises to be a shoppers’ paradise where you can definitely find the perfect gift for your loved one. But more than that, it’s also a gourmand’s delight. Some of the delicacies you can savour together with your loved one are dimsum; seafood; wanton noodles, and beef brisket noodles. Be inspired by a breathtaking night view of the city skyline from Victoria’s Peak (The Peak), the highest point of the island. What’s more, there are also restaurants up there where you can enjoy either Western, Chinese or Japanese cuisine.
Or, if you prefer, go on a ferry boat ride to enjoy the spectacular night harbour and city skyline view from ground level. Just head to Star Ferry Pier (Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier). Theme park enthusiasts can enjoy exciting rides and shows at Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park Hong Kong. Enjoy a leisurely stroll at Kowloon Park or go for a performance at Hong Kong Cultural Centre.