Known as the place to escape for a romantic break, in recent years the number of couples travelling to the Maldives has increased hugely. Although the six-hour-plus travel time may not exactly be a “short trip” we couldn’t resist including it in our round up. If the crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches and picture-perfect moments are your thing, you really can’t do much better than the Maldives.
With a plethora of resorts and hotels available, you’re sure to be able to find one that’s just right for your ultimate island getaway. And for those who need more than lounging on a beach all day, the Maldives also has some great diving and snorkelling spots, along with other water sports, if you’re after a little more adventure.
Fly To: Velana International Airport (also known as Malé International Airport)
Flight Time: 6 hours and 50 minutes, (Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon both fly direct from Hong Kong), plus sea plane or boat transfer time to your hotel
Best For: The ultimate romantic beach holiday
Sassy Tip: For an extra romantic and indulgent touch, many hotels offer sunset cruises – complete with champagne – which we couldn’t recommend enough to set the mood!
Read more: Planning a Week in Paradise: The Maldives Travel Guide
Running between Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the Eastern and Oriental Express is the most luxurious way to travel across some of Asia’s most prominent cities. Step back in time for a one-of-a-kind romantic trip, which oozes old world glamour and sophistication.
The journey from Singapore to Bangkok includes two-nights’ accommodation on-board the luxury train, and from Bangkok to Singapore the journey is three-nights, with both itineraries stopping off in Kuala Lumpur, and including all meals (daily three-course lunch and dinner, and breakfast and afternoon tea!), drinks, steward service and tours. At the end of your journey, you’re still close enough to home to hop back on a quick flight to Hong Kong, or to continue on and explore more of the neighbouring countries.
Fly To: Fly to either Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport or Singapore Changi Airport (depending on your chosen route)
Flight Time: 4 hours to Singapore / 2 hours, 55 minutes to Bangkok
Best For: A once-in-a-lifetime journey
Sassy Tip: The cabins can get booked up months in advance, so make sure to plan ahead! Also, don’t be afraid to pack your glad rags and dress up for dinner, this experience is all about old world glamour.
Can’t decide on just one island paradise for your romantic getaway? Head to Thailand and explore a plethora of beach delights. Whilst some areas may be full of Full Moon partying travellers, there are some lesser known and quieter islands which are perfect for a secluded romantic escape. With over 300 islands to choose from, there’s plenty of beaches to work on your tan, but Koh Lipe (often referred to as “The Maldives of Thailand”), or Koh Kradan (listed on The Telegraph’s Best Beaches in Thailand) are among some of the must-visit places if you want to escape the crowds and simply do nothing in paradise.
Fly To: You can fly direct to either Phuket or Koh Samui from Hong Kong, and then travel via boat to other islands. Alternately, fly direct to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and explore the city for a day or two, before heading down south to relax
Flight Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes to Phuket or Koh Samui / 2 hours, 55 minutes to Bangkok
Best For: A taste of island life
Sassy Tip: If you plan on travelling between multiple islands, for a hassle-free trip, it’s worth booking through a travel agent or tour company who can arrange every last detail (and boat transfer!) for you.
As one of the only places on the planet where wild orangutans can still be seen, Borneo is a must-visit for animal lovers. For an adventurous getaway for two, or honeymoon trip with a difference, there is plenty to see and do – with rainforests to explore, Mount Kinabalu to tackle, and plenty of wildlife to spot (along with many diving spots and beautiful beaches to lounge on).
Make sure to take a boat trip along Kinabatangan River for your best chance of seeing some of Borneo’s amazing wildlife, from monkeys and orangutans, to pygmy elephants and more!
Fly To: Although Sandakan Airport is closer to sites such as the Kinabatangan River and Sepilok Sanctuary Orangutan Sanctuary, we recommend flying to Kota Kinabalu International Airport for more frequent, quicker and cheaper flights from Hong Kong. From here, you can make your way to the city of Sandakan via a short flight (45 minutes), or there is also a long scenic bus route (approx. 6 hours), that connects the two cities.
Flight Time: 3 hours
Best For: Couples who want more than just a beach holiday
Sassy Tip: If you haven’t managed to spot orangutans in the wild, Sepilok Sanctuary gives you the chance to see them up close.
Read more: Quick Flights from Hong Kong: 5 Adrenaline Filled Adventures
Residing in north-eastern Cambodia, Siem Reap is the gateway to the ruins of Angkor, famous for the temple Angkor Wat, but the city has a lot more to offer. Make sure to explore the ruins and try and to catch a sunrise or sunset over the temples whilst you’re there for a picture-perfect opportunity, but also take time to relax and explore other areas.
The Angkor Night Market is well known for picking up all-sorts of delights and local cuisine, and is also close by to the (in)famous Pub Street, if you want to take in some of the nightlife. As Siem Reap is not a beach town, but temperatures soar, we recommend going for a hotel with a pool – so that after a morning exploring the ruins, you can sit back and relax in the afternoon sun – it’s meant to be a romantic escape after all…
Fly To: Siem Reap International Airport
Flight Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Best For: History, culture and relaxation
Sassy Tip: The most common way to visit Angkor is to hire a tuk-tuk driver for a full day or two, but many hotels also offer free or very cheap bicycle rental if you fancy exploring the ruins and surrounding area at your own pace.
Read more: What to do in Cambodia: Backpacking Siem Reap and Koh Rong Island
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 was updated in January 2019.