10 Asian Sensations
1. Palawan, Philippines
The Philippines checks all the boxes for a romantic tropical getaway, but the Province of Palawan – comprising Palawan island and its reef-ringed neighbours – goes above and beyond. Not only is it visually spectacular (in 2014 Condé Nast Traveller readers voted the island the most beautiful in the world for its aquamarine waters, jungle-carpeted emerald green mountains and idyllic, multi-hued fishing villages backed by limestone cliffs), but there’s plenty to see and do, too. Foodie hub, Puerto Princesa is home to a UNESCO-inscribed subterranean river, voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. You’ll find great places to sail and dive as you hop from islet to island, and may even sight rare species such as the Philippine pangolin or tiny mouse deer. Palawan isn’t short on luxe resorts – Amanpulo offers beach, hillside and canopy accommodation, while each of the El Nido properties is more gorgeous than the last – and as you can get there by boat or a 90-minute flight from Manila, it probably won’t be long before the madding crowds roll up.
Laidback provincial town Siem Reap is arguably best-known as Cambodia’s gateway to the ancient Angkorian temple complex, but its sophisticated restaurants, boutiques and luxurious, pool-fringed accommodation will keep you lingering long after you’ve had your temple fix. We love Belmond La Residence d’Angkor, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor and taking time out to enjoy Wat Damnak’s local produce-focused degustation menu. Cambodia has lots more for couples to explore – you can cruise up the Mekong, go jungle trekking in Ratanakiri and wander through gilded wats and striking examples of 1960s New Khmer architecture in the French colonial capital, Phnom Penh. From here it’s a 35-minute flight (or 3.5-hour drive) to the southern beach resort of Sihanoukville, named for Cambodia’s former king. Song Saa Private Island is the perfect setting for couples looking to escape, and when the Kenzo-designed Arovada by Akaryn – the first private island wellness retreat on Koh Krabey — opens later this year, it’II be one more good reason to go.