By Joyell Nevins
You and your honey have been working hard, not spending enough time together, and dreaming of a vacation to rekindle the spark. Few settings whisper romance more than pristine waters, white sands, and spectacular sunsets. Asia features several of these oceanfront locations seemingly designed to be savored by two. Love is in the air at these romantic beach destinations:
Koh Rong, Cambodia
This island paradise has been named one of the most beautiful honeymoon destinations, but whether you’re ready to tie the knot or not, Koh Rong cultivates romance. Jaw-dropping scenery combined with private spots and a culture of hospitality make this island worth the trek. Fly into Sihanoukville International Airport, and then take a ferry, speedboat, or private longboat to the island itself.
From towels folded into heart-shaped swans to petal-scattered “romantic room setups,” Long Set Resort excels in romance and what they term an Asian welcome.
The resort sits on a three-kilometre stretch of unpopulated sandy shoreline reaching waters tailor-made for snorkeling and diving. Each private villa is only a few steps away from majestic sunset viewing, beachfront dining, or sunbathing.
Secret Paradise is called that for a reason–it only has five bungalows and is located on a private corner of Saracen Bay. The bungalows all feature king size beds and verandas overlooking the ocean. Meals can be taken directly on the veranda at the two storey restaurant or in a special romantic dinner on the beach.
The accommodations are more rustic than luxurious but you can’t beat the simple pleasure of quiet beauty and a maximum of 12 other guests. There’s a reason this small locale continually rates highly on TripAdvisor and other travel sites.
Koh Samui, Thailand
Popular for anniversary celebrations and romantic getaways, Koh Samui is surrounded by beautiful beaches nestled within mountain jungles. Each beach has its own feel, from quiet and untouched to party central. You can reach the island by Bangkok Airways into the tropically-themed Samui International Airport, or by ferry and bus from mainland Thailand.
The Wedding Vow lifestyle site calls Tongsai Bay the “most romantic hotel” on the island. It sits on a hillside among more than 28 acres of lush gardens, overlooking its namesake bay. The first five-star hotel in Koh Samui has a private beach that is free from vendors, public visitors, and motorised water sports–no jet ski noise pollution to interrupt you and your sweetheart’s intimate conversation.
There’s beachside and hillside dining, and some of the villas come with private infinity pools. The hotel was built by the late Akorn Hoontrakul of the Imperial Hotel Group without cutting down a single tree. That eco-conscious attitude continues through efforts such as a plastic-free vow, food waste that is used for compost, and natural cleaning products.
At Lawana, another private resort, you can dine by the sea or enjoy your meal in the unique, reservation-only treetop salas. The two of you can even take a private Thai cooking class. Villas are clustered around palm-fringed lagoon pools or come with their own private plunge pool.
If it’s important to stay connected to the outside world, you’ll appreciate each room’s complimentary Handy smartphone. The smartphones allow unlimited calls, texts, and travel and social apps in the hotel and surrounding Chaweng Beach. They even come equipped with a digital city guide, offering recommendations for restaurants, shops, and local attractions.
If you’d rather be in the middle of the hubbub, stroll down Chaweng Beach to stay in the colorful Baan Samui. The hotel’s rooms and suites are only a short walk away from Chaweng’s teeming nightlife and restaurant scene.
At this moderately-priced resort, you and your bae can dine in your own teepee for two a few feet from the water’s edge, or cuddle in a hammock bed. The hammocks are suspended across the sand and attached to a table on the Moon Dance restaurant’s ground floor.
Called one of the most beautiful islands in the world, the Maldives exudes romance with its exotic location, gorgeous scenery, and luxurious facilities. Males International Airport, located near the capital island, is the main transport in and out of the archipelago. You can stay in the capital itself, or if you’re looking for a more secluded vacation, try these places only a dhoni boat or seaplane ride away.
Privacy can be an incubator for romance, and Conrad Maldives claims two islands all to itself. Only one bridge connects the islands. Villas are set apart from each other, some right atop the water, some in a subaquatic setting (read: your walls are glass and your room is underwater). If you choose to stay on land, those luxury villas feature infinity pools, outdoor baths, and personal spa rooms.
The resort boasts 12 different restaurants, one in a glassed-in aquarium and the country’s first subterranean wine bar. Book a “Sandbar Picnic” with your sweetie, and partake in a day-trip on a yacht to a deserted island, where you can relish a secluded meal on the beach.
Located on the Baa Atoll United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation’s Biosphere Reserve, Soneva Fushi is the ultimate ecological place for romance. The villas are nestled within dense foliage close to beaches with sand soft as snow.
Accommodations are built from all-natural materials, the restaurants’ cuisine uses food from Soneva’s organic vegetable and herb gardens, and waste is reborn in the resort’s Eco-Centro Waste-to-Wealth centre.
Soneva’s unofficial motto is “no news, no shoes,” and while you can still get WiFi, guests’ footwear is confiscated upon arrival at this first barefoot luxury resort of its kind.
Each villa comes with what Soneva calls its “Mr. or Ms. Friday” personal butler, and electric buggy or bicycle. You and your sweetheart can snorkel on their house reef, take a Himalayan singing bowl class, attend a sunset cocktail party, watch a movie in the open-air cinema, or stargaze in the Observatory.
A list of romantic beaches would never be complete without a nod to the ultimate romantic destination, Bali. The island’s pristine beauty and affordable luxury has been wooing couples for decades. Twosomes can fly into the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar, and take ground transportation to whichever part of the island they choose.
Whether you’re dining in the heart of the jungle at the Jannata Resort & Spa, “glamping” on the beach in air conditioned tents at Menjangan Dynasty Resort, or exploring the secret garden and private beachfront of Alila Seminyak, Bali is awash in experiences meant to bring out the sweet side of you both.
So whatever type of experience you and your honey enjoy, Asia has a destination to kindle those sparks. Take some time out and set your relationship on the right track with a breathtaking, romantic beach vacation.