Looking to pop the question somewhere you'll never forget? Forget the most predictable haunts and head to one of these five romantic spots in Southeast Asia. From hot-air balloons in the Burmese sky to tumbling waterfalls on the Chinese border, these locations should guarantee a "yes" from your spouse-to-be.
1. Make it an island proposal at Koh Rong, Cambodia
Cambodia’s Koh Rong Archipalego is home to 43 kilometres of beautiful white sandy beaches. For those who want a secret hideaway, serene seclusion awaits at a hidden haven of luxury, tucked away in the glistening blue waters, just off the shore of Koh Rong. Islands Koh Ouen, meaning ‘woman’, and Koh Bong, meaning ‘man’, are so romantic they're known as Song Saa (Khmer for “The Sweethearts”) by the locals. The idea for Song Saa Private Island itself was actually conceived by a couple of Australians on their honeymoon. Pop the question in paradise and get even more loved-up with couple activities. You can do anything from sunrise yoga to cultural village tours on a buffalo cart, and even go on conservation safaris to see how coral is grown.
Go snorkelling if that’s your thing. This is a great place to find seahorses in the water.
How to get there:
Jetstar and SilkAir offer 31 flights to Phnom Penh and 14 flights to Siem Reap from Changi Airport. From there, you will need to travel to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, after which you can board a 45-minute high speed ferry to the main island of Koh Rong. Alternatively, a 45-minute speed boat ride will bring you to Song Saa Private Island.
2. Ride a hot-air balloon over Bagan, Myanmar
Boasting ancient temples, treasures and unbeatable views, Bagan in central Myanmar is the place to propose to a true romantic. As one of the world's biggest and best preserved archaeological sites, there are over 3,000 temples on the Bagan plain. Seeing ancient Myanmar from a horse and carriage is romantic and makes for some mind-blowing photos, but from a hot-air balloon these temples are a sight to rival Peru's Machu Picchu or Cambodia's Angkor Wat. Pop the question (not the balloon!) and you're guaranteed a resounding “yes!” There are lots of tour operators offering sunrise balloon flights but Bagan Balloon and Oriental Ballooning are two of the most reputable.
The best times to go are from mid-October through mid-March, when the air is cooler and the winds aren't too strong. The ballooning season is quite short in Bagan, but luckily Valentine's Day falls within it.
How to get there:
SilkAir offers two direct weekly flights from Changi Airport to Mandalay. From there, you can travel over land to Bagan. Book your flights here.
Boasting ancient temples, treasures and unbeatable views, Bagan in central Myanmar is the place to propose to a true romantic
3. Make it a wet proposal at Ban Gioc – Detian Falls, Vietnam
There's something magical about popping the question at a waterfall, and the Ban Gioc – Detian Falls are located right at the border of China, where the picturesque karst peaks add an extra romantic touch. The Detian Falls are located on the Chinese side, while Ban Gioc lies on the Vietnamese side. The latter is Vietnam's highest waterfall, thundering down from a height of 53 metres – you can hear it crashing from miles away! The nearest city is Cao Bang, where you can rent a couple of motorcycles if you're planning to propose, or hire a private guide, who can take a romantic photo of your new engagement if you go at sunset.
You'll have to get a permit before you can visit, but this can be arranged by your hotel in Cao Bang. Your spouse-to-be will be extra impressed by the efforts you went to for this proposal!
How to get there:
SilkAir, Singapore Airlines, Tigerair and Vietnam Airlines offer direct flights to Hanoi from Changi Airport. From there, Cao Bang is a 7-hour bus ride away or 4 hours by private car. Book your flights here.
4. Make the sun the witness to your proposal at Koh Lipe, Thailand
This magical Thai island is close to the Malaysian border, so you'll have to fly to Langkawi before making your way over by boat. And what better way to set the mood than with the wind in your hair? Romance will blossom once you reach Koh Lipe's white sand beaches and set your eyes on the orange sunrise. If you're planning to propose in the jewel of the Andaman Sea, Sunrise Beach is a great place to base yourself. It's big, pretty, quiet at night (Pattaya beach is busier) and offers loads of great restaurants with romantic candlelit tables.
High season is November until early May, so booking your hotel and transportation in advance is recommended.
How to get there:
SilkAir, Tigerair and AirAsia fly direct from Changi Airport to Langkawi. The ferry from Langkawi to Koh Lipe takes approximately 90 minutes.
5. Say it underwater at Tubbataha Reef, Philippines
If you and your beloved are both scuba divers, getting down on one knee at the Tubbataha Reef is sure to make a splash. This stunning marine formation in a protected park is 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan. As a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, its extensive blue lagoons and two coral islands are immaculate. Witnesses to your engagement will be the likes of manta rays, lionfish, moray eels, hawksbill turtles and quite possibly Nemo with his clownfish family. A fellow diver with a GoPro could easily capture your underwater proposal too!
Mid-March to mid-June are the best times for diving at Tubbataha Reef, when the waters are calm and visibility is high. Most trips are based on boats or ‘liveaboards’, so bring your swimsuit and plenty of sunscreen.
How to get there:
Puerto Princesa is accessible via Manila. Cebu Pacific, Jetstar, Philippines Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Tigerair offer many weekly flights to Manila from Changi Airport.
Whether you're prepping to propose with the sea turtles, at the bottom of a waterfall or from the basket of a hot-air balloon, we hope we've inspired you to head off the beaten track with that engagement ring. Pack your bags and book a flight now from Changi Airport.
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