Valentine’s day in Asia is probably on the list of almost all couples. Shawn and I never really planned on doing something for Valentine’s day specifically but every year we land up doing something quite by coincidence. One year it was camping in the western ghats of India, another we were in clear waters of the Andaman islands while last year we were chasing the Northern lights in the Arctic. That made me wonder what other people are up to on the famed V’day. A couple of travel bloggers pitched in and we came up with a list of the perfect places to spend Valentine’s day in Asia. The list turned out to be amazing!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Busan, South Korea
Busan in South Korea is Michelle’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia
Most couples would either think of heading to a secluded beach, or a busy city to spend valentines’ day. But what if, you could have the best of both worlds? Busan is a city that is two and a half hours away, by the KTX rapid train, from Seoul. It is the second most populous city in South Korea that is also made famous by the recent 2016 movie ‘Train to Busan’. Busan is a lot less crowded than Seoul and has the beauty of catering to different personalities and travel preferences. Whether be it a romantic stroll at the beach, or a lavish shopping spree, Busan has it all.
Busan’s Gamcheon Culture Village is a must-go for couples as they can admire the traditional Hanoks from the top as if they were in Santorini. Busan also has the charm of Barcelona as it boosts beautiful beaches that sits right at the edge of the concrete jungle, which allows couples to have relaxing day time strolling or sunbathing at the beach, yet having lots of recreational activities that they can enjoy at night. Couples could go ice-skating in Shinsegae Centum City, or shop to their hearts’ content in the largest shopping complex (Guinness World Record) in the world! After all those activities, they can also head over to Spa Land in the shopping complex to soak in the Korean hot baths and enjoy the 22 themed saunas. Unlike the traditional jjimjilbangs (korean bathhouses), Spa Land is modern and offers spa facilities and restaurants where they can ease off the weariness of their month-long wedding preparations. They can also visit the various night markets in Busan to feast in the assortment of delicious food after dieting for months before the wedding!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Abu Dhabi is Aneesha’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
Valentine’s day in Abu Dhabi would be a great idea as it has something for everyone! Head early to have a stunning view of the Sheikh Zayed mosque, which is one of the most jaw-dropping modern mosques in the world; followed by an adrenaline rush as you head out to Ferrari world and try out the fastest roller coaster in the world: The Formula Rossa. If you and your partner prefer waterparks, Yas Waterworld is quite fun too! If you’re lucky, you might even find a concert going on at the du arena on the very same Yas island. Previous acts have included Coldplay, Axwell and Deadmau5.
If you are a couple that prefers art, then I highly recommend going to Saadiyat island and enjoy the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Designed by Jean Nouvel, it has many interesting exhibits that will wow and amaze you. If you’re looking for a wonderful resort experience, I would recommend staying in the St. Regis Saadiyat Island. It has a beautiful private beach (for those nice, long romantic walks) and a lovely private pool and golf course. It’s also home to a lovely Thai restaurant called Sontaya, which lies right on top of water. Other places I would recommend for a lovely dinner is Villa Toscana at the St.Regis Abu Dhabi for soulful Italian food; and Marco Pierre White at the Fairmont Bab al bahr. The Fairmont Bab al bahr is another great modern alternative to a romantic stay, with impeccable service and pool. It has a great view of the Sheikh Zayed mosque and even has a swim up bar!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Koh Kood Island, Thailand
Koh Kood is Megan’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
As soon as I thought about where I would recommend in Asia for Valentine’s day, I immediately pictured our time on Koh Kood island. Other areas of Thailand are far more well known, but also can become unbearably crowded because of their popularity. While it’s a little more challenging to get to Koh Kood (you’ll need to take a ferry from the mainland), Koh Kood is only developed enough to give you a handful of resorts and laid-back restaurants, and not enough for the commercialization and crowding that comes with being a travel hot spot. There are several somewhat built up areas, but no actual towns, and since there is no vehicle ferry to the island it remains quiet and largely undisturbed. It is wonderful for a quiet, romantic getaway.
If you spend a few days, I recommend you seek out Klong Chao waterfall for a refreshing and beautiful dip – though you should do a better job of planning how to get there than we did! Mangrove Restaurant was also a favorite stop for us, with open air dining perched on the side of the river, and the best banana frappe we had our whole time in Thailand. It’s been a year, and we still talk wistfully about it.
For a stunning and completely relaxed sunset dinner, View Point Café is a must. When we were there, we took a quick trip from our sailboat to the protected cove where View Point was ready to help us step into the restaurant straight out of our dinghy. We ate our meal sitting side by side on cushions placed on the pier, feet dangling above the water, and our bench-table for two facing a gorgeous sunset. Relaxed, delicious, and beautiful.
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Maldives
Maldives is Meghna’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
An archipelago of over a thousand islands garlanding the Indian Ocean, Maldives remains high on most travel bucket lists and for all the right reasons. Think of idyllic beaches rimmed by azure waters, sparsely populated with a handful of holiday makers shadowed by tall coconut trees. Nothing defines romance better than indulging in luxury and staying at secluded over water villas offering uninterrupted and unparalleled views of paradise. We visited Maldives in September and had the most rejuvenating and relaxing holiday ever. With no sightseeing to do and no list of places to visit, you literally have all day and night to rekindle romance and spend quality time together, away from the nuances that clutter everyday life.
During our sojourn in Maldives, we fed stingrays, went kayaking, witnessed extraordinary sunsets, explored the fascinating world underwater and sampled delectable local flavors. On some days we did absolutely nothing and totally loved the feeling. Every wave that crashed on the shore seemed to wash away worries and within minutes, we were left to just eat, pray and love. Candlelit dinner by the beach and under the stars was a daily affair as was waking up to soothing vistas of a pristine universe. In fact, we met a couple who told us that they make it a point to visit the Maldives once every year, and this was their 14th visit! Given the treat that Maldives is for all the senses, don’t be surprised if we follow suit.
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Taichung, Taiwan
Taichung in Taiwan is Viola’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
Taichung, Taiwan is a perfect destination to go for a romantic Valentine’s day in Asia! The city is so colourful, and you can spend the day in many ways. Have the date of your dream with your SO in the Zhongshe Guanguang Flower Market. There are so many gorgeous flowers in bloom in February: roses, lilies, cosmos, tulips, and more. Every corner in the market makes an Insta-worthy backdrop.
Taichung’s Rainbow Village is another cool spot to have a special photoshoot. This little former veteran village near the high-speed rail station attracts many people with its vibrant colours. All the houses have cute paintings on them. There is a love wall perfect for you and your lovey dovey!
For a romantic sunset, head to the Gaomei Wetland. Feel the sea breeze on your faces as you stand in the golden rays of the setting sun. Watch the beautiful windmills in the distance where the sky and sea meets. Gaomei Wetland is also a place where you can spot many crabs and rare birds! Do take a jacket if you go though as it can get a bit windy and chilly.
Finally, a recommendation for a perfect Valentine’s treat in Taichung. Eat ice cream together at I’m Talato, the cutest Italian ice cream shop in Taichung. They have two locations in the city. You won’t know what to love more, their delicious ice cream flavours (try sesame!) or their pink extravagant décor! Take photos with their life size ice cream cones!
You can do all of the above-mentioned activities in one day in Taichung. The best way is hiring a taxi driver service for a day or renting your own car. It is possible to get around by public transportation, but it would be more time consuming.
Taiwan enjoys mild winters and the temperature rarely drops below 0 degrees. So, you can leave your heavy winter coats at home. Woot!
I think Taichung is made for Valentine’s day, don’t you?
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia was our top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
We did not visit Kota Kinabalu for Valentine’s day specifically but the more that I think about it, the more I realize that it would make the perfect spot for Valentine’s day in Asia. The city is located on the island of Borneo, Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu or KK as it is known by the locals is close to a lot of exciting stuff. It has the famous Mount Kota Kinabalu and the famous Kinabalu national park close by. You can take a cruise down the river trying to spot the local wildlife and end with fireflies around you.
If adventure activities aren’t your thing, you can head to one of the many gorgeous islands and relax on the beach. Gaya island as some amazing luxury resorts if that falls in your budget range. One of our favourite activities was watching the sunset. Every single day, the sunset was even prettier than the last. Kota Kinabalu certainly did not disappoint. The best part of it all was that most of all the activities (food and accommodation included) were within a backpacker’s budget. That left a lot of room for indulgence!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Shillong, India
Shillong was Madhurima’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
Shillong played backdrop to the iconic romance of Amit and Labonyo, the lovers from the cult novel “Sesher Kobita” by Rabindranath Thakur. If you ask me, in every honesty, that is enough reason for me to choose Shillong over any other destination to spend the Valentines eve. The capital of Meghalaya, Shillong is one of the earliest hill stations set up in the British raj era. She is also the quintessential keeper of Western Music enthusiasts of the seven sister states and takes pride in hosting several carnivals of international prominence amid picturesque backdrop of the Khashi, Jayantiya Hills. ‘
When in Shillong, you shall never fall short of those romantic walks with the lover by side since the city is dotted with dainty lakes and gardens. One of them, the Ward lake, is the heartthrob of urban life. The maddening crowd of Police Bazar might intimidate you at first. I suggest, stand right in the middle of cacophony and before you know it, you shall be a part of it. Once you are sated visiting the numerous museums and waterfalls and localities tucked in the lush green hills, secure a few days to explore the areas nearby.
A quick drive from city center shall bring you to the wonderland of famous highlands of Smit valley, that has rendered Shillong the name of Scotland of the East! Pack your bottl of rice beer on the road, a delicacy of the region. The black and yellow taxis of police bazar can take you to Sohra (Cherrapunji, one of the highest rainfall receiver area in India). My favourite remains the pristine river Dawki at the Bangladesh-India border, where you can ride a boat and go to the shores of Bangladesh. Do not forget to buy a box of “Achar” from the neighbouring country!
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Cambodia was Heta’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
Cambodia may not be the first destination to come to mind when thinking of romantic getaways and Valentine’s day. There are though some surprisingly serene locations that the country has to offer.
The small town of Sihanoukville in Cambodia offers one of these surprise destinations. A town by the beach can become filled with tourists quickly but gladly there is beaches longer than you can imagine so everyone will fit. Especially if you seek a quieter time with your loved one is the Otres beach side of the town the place for you. There is not much in the town itself which is why it can provide a perfect secret getaway for you and your loved one. You can even go island hopping on the nearby islands if you wish.
Sihanoukville is filled with different kinds of holiday destinations from bungalows to large hotels. The bungalow destinations can offer you that Valentine’s Day getaway feel you might seek. You can sit by the ocean and listen to the waves, go on strolls by the beach, swing in a yarn swing whilst looking at the sunset and enjoy a cocktail on a sun chair. Dip into the warm water and let the waves sway you around. Cosy up to your loved one in the bungalow whilst a small raindrops dance on the ceiling.
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Fujiyoshida, Japan
Fujiyoshido in Japan was Jasmine’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
Japan might not necessarily be the first country that comes to mind when you think about couple’s getaway destinations, but it should definitely be on your list regardless.When it comes to iconic symbols of the land of the rising sun, you can’t forget about Mt. Fuji. And what’s more romantic than witnessing its breath-taking charms up close and in person and sharing this unforgettable memory with a loved one.
Just a few hours away from Tokyo, Fujiyoshida is a beautiful little town located in Yamanashi Prefecture. The most popular attraction sight here is no doubt the Chuerito Pagoda at Arakura Sengen Shrine. Ever see photos on Pinterest or on any Japan tourism poster where there is a traditional Japanese pagoda structure standing next to Mt. Fuji? Well this is the spot!
While the pagoda is a must-see, the real romance lies in Mount Tenjo’s observation deck, which can be accessed from the Mt. Kachi Kachi Ropeway. Be prepared to ascend 400 meters above the shore of Lake Kawaguchiko for a panoramic view that will surely take your breath away.
It is said that if you look through the heart-shaped statue and ring the Bell of Tenjo (Bell of the Sky) whilst facing Mt. Fuji, your wish will come true. The bell is meant to fulfill good health and true love so be sure to give it a try!
Last but not least, the most romantic and relaxing activity you can possibly do in Fujiyoshida is to take an outdoor onsen (aka hot spring) bath – preferably one with a view of Fuji-san as well. There are several hotels and ryokans in the area that provide such services and this really does serve as the most perfect way to conclude your Valentine’s Day trip to Japan.
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Seoul, South Korea
Seoul was Max’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
If you’re a man in a relationship in Korea, your favorite day of the year, other than your birthday, is probably Valentine’s day. All the home-made chocolates and flowers and candies, they’re all for you. In Korea, the way your wife or girlfriend can really show she cares is with homemade chocolate truffles on February 14th. That’s right, ladies, this holiday is not for you in Korea. You have a different day: White Day— so named because of the tendency towards gifting white chocolate— which falls on March 14th. Guys still gift their girls a little something on Valentine’s more often than not, but the biggest burden still falls on us women.
We plan out our matching outfits, plus the present and the perfect dinner. Beforehand we take our significant other to a cafe so that we can make something together. This is the idealized Valentine’s day for a lot of Korean couples, though these days the trends are definitely dying out. Modern Korean dramas (TV shows) tend to over-romanticize the holiday, which is not nearly as important to Koreans as it is to westerners. But no matter the day of the week, most every restaurant will have a Valentine’s Day “set” for couples to share on the big night.
Koreans actually have a dozen so-called couples’ holidays, each held on the 14th of the month, though White Day and Valentine’s Day have the biggest hold over people. It’s said that on White Day, outside the women’s universities in Seoul, there is always a massive group of guys holding bouquets and waiting across the street from the grounds for their girlfriends to get out of class. This may or may not be true. But knowing how seriously the stores take these holidays, it’s almost harder not to believe it.
VALENTINE’S DAY IN ASIA: Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Yogyakarta in Indonesia was Laura’s top pick for Valentine’s day in Asia.
For a Valentine’s day with a difference head to cultural capital Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia. With magical temples to explore and cute little photo stops dotted around the area there’s lots of romantic ways to spend your day.
The best way to start your Valentine’s day in Yogyakarta is with an early wakeup call and a trip to Borobudur to enjoy the sunrise. Sit beside your loved one and watch as the dawn breaks and lights up this famous temple as you look out across the surrounding forest. After sunrise you can continue to explore Borobudur and take some cheesy couple shots with the iconic temple in the background before a spot of breakfast.
Next change into some active wear and make your way to Kalibiru. You and your loved one can face your fear of heights together with a high ropes course set against the most amazing backdrop. There are also several photo spots around the park where for a small fee you can be photographed together on a wooden platform in front of the epic views. The photos are so good you’ll want to get them framed!
Head back into the city for lunch at one of several adorable themed restaurants – there’s a bear themed one and even one where every dish features mushrooms.
For some evening entertainment and to see another of Yogyakarta’s famous temples, take a trip to Prambanan. Wander hand in hand around these intricately decorated temples dedicated to various Hindu gods and goddesses as the sun begins to set. Nearby there’s a great spot for dinner at Abhayagiri where you can tuck into some local cuisine overlooking the valley. Finish your day by returning to the temple to see the ballet, and watch dancers and performers act out a love story. The famous story of Rama and Sita contains wonderful choreography, stunning use of light and even some pyrotechnics!
At the end of the day, you will find that there are so many places to spend Valentine’s day in Asia. Choosing is going to be really hard. Are you heading anywhere for Valentine’s day in Asia? Which destination did you pick and why? Do let us know so that we can include it in or list. You may just inspire someone else to head there.