Some Fresh Ideas For Your Next Romantic Island Getaway
Move over Bali, Fiji and Hawaii.
Think of romantic island getaways and the usual suspects immediately spring to mind: Bali, Fiji, Hawaii, The Maldives. Been there, done that – okay, maybe not the last one.
These idyllic and tourist-friendly islands are popular for good reason, all boasting the unsurpassable combination of white sandy beaches, gleaming turquoise waters, luxury villas and Instagrammable scenic views that offer the perfect escape for you and your bae.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous and up for a different kind of loved-up island encounter, here are some alternative ideas for your next romantic island rendezvous.
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Samoa is a swashbuckling lovers’ paradise where you’ll be met with swaying coconut trees, lush verdant jungle trails, secret water holes and cascading waterfalls. This pocket of near-nirvana is built upon the warm hospitality of the local population and Fa’a Samoa, which translates to “The Samoan Way”. Stay in a traditional beach fale for unparalleled views of the shoreline, or treat your inner child to a night in a treesort.
Don’t leave this glittering jewel of the South Pacific without taking a dip in the pristine waters of the iconic To Sua Ocean Trench, one of the many spectacular lagoons that are scattered around the island.
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Japan may not automatically come to mind when thinking about exotic locales for fun-in-the-sun action – but it should. The Okinawa Prefecture is the southernmost prefecture of Japan and it is made up of a chain of islands stretching over 1000 kilometres from Japan’s Kyushu island to Taiwan, China. Offering long stretches of coastline, tropical waters, coral reefs and abundant marine life, Okinawa is a fascinating region of Japan to explore and also possesses a distinct culture from that of mainland Japan born out of Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Austronesian influences.
The Okinawan cuisine is another drawcard with Okinawans holding claim to the longest life expectancy in the world counting many centenarians among its population, which is said to be a result of the low-salt, low-fat diet. Go for the sun and sand and return with the secrets to a long and healthy life.
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Havelock Island, India
Havelock Island is the most popular of the Andaman Islands, which is a large cluster of islands in the Bay of Bengal. Despite being a haven for water activities and the promotion of eco-friendly tourism on the island by the Indian government, Havelock Island is still largely undisturbed, providing a serene and rustic island experience sans the throngs of selfie stick-toting tourists.
As such, accommodation and amenities are still somewhat basic – beach hut, anyone? – which intensifies the feeling that you’ve somehow landed a million miles away from home. Spend your days chilling out in a hammock on the beach with your significant other or scuba diving hand in hand in the glistening teal-coloured waters.
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Quy Nhon, Vietnam
Quy Nhon is not yet a fixture on the well-trodden Vietnam tourist trail but as a halfway point between Nha Trang and Hoi An, this coastal city is poised to soon fall on the radar of intrepid travellers. The charms of Quy Nhon may not be obvious at first glance; however, with its idyllic shoreline, bountiful seafood and relaxed demeanour, Quy Nhon offers visitors a slice of tranquility that is far removed from the cacophony and chaos of other cities in Vietnam.
Quy Nhon also has historical significance being the capital of the Binh Dinh province, which was once the centre of the Cham civilisation. Relics from the ancient kingdom can still be found in the surrounding areas. Bai Xep Bay is emerging as an up-and-coming hub of activity: come before the masses do!
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Move over Iceland, you’ve got some strong competition on your hands. Avoid the hordes of Game of Thrones fans streaming into Westeros Iceland and head to the neighbouring Faroe Islands instead, which is located halfway between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Although the Faroe Islands isn’t your typical purveyor of sun and sand, this remote archipelago, which is home to twice as many sheep as humans, has been blessed with nature’s bounty and the rest of the world has finally cottoned on to its charms. The unspoiled beauty of the Faroe Islands shines through its meandering meadows, craggy cliffs, moody mountains and colourful cottages: dramatic landscapes repeated over and over that will captivate and seduce even the most cynical of hearts.
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Jeju Island, South Korea
There’s more to South Korea than kimchi and K-pop – it’s also home to Loveland, a hilarious amusement park dedicated to sex, which can be found on Jeju Island, a popular destination for honeymooning Koreans.
Beyond raunchy fun parks, Jeju Island boasts a tropical climate, sublime beaches, dormant volcanoes, lava tunnels and fascinating rock formations that make this quirky island an explorer’s dream. Climb the Hallasan Mountain, a dormant basalt volcano and UNESCO Heritage Site as well as Korea’s highest mountain, for stunning vistas of Jeju and a peek at the magnificent crater lake.
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Cocos Keeling Islands, Australia
A remote oasis in the Indian Ocean and situated 2750 kilometres north-west of Perth, Western Australia, the Cocos Keeling Islands could perhaps be Australia’s best kept secret. This group of 27 coral islands – of which only two islands are inhabited – is the ideal hideaway to spend your days island-hopping, frolicking about on clandestine beaches, and snorkelling and swimming in the shimmering waters of this secluded paradise.
This is the place where you can well and truly leave your stresses at home. On Home Island, you can learn about the local culture and traditions of the Cocos Malay people, descendants of people brought to the Islands in the nineteenth century, as well as sampling delightful Malay cuisine.