Southeast Asia is the perfect escape for a romantic vacation! You can go on a nice beachside resort, trek across rice paddies, gaze in relaxing mountainscapes, and more. Here we’ve compiled the best budget-friendly romantic destinations in Southeast Asia.
- 1. Coron, Palawan (Philippines)
- 2. Koh Phi Phi (Thailand)
- 3. Chiang Mai (Thailand)
- 4. Perhentian Islands (Malaysia)
- 5. Bali (Indonesia)
- 6. Koh Lipe (Thailand)
- 7. Koh Phangan (Thailand)
- 8. Lombok (Indonesia)
- 9. Gili Trawangan (Indonesia)
- 10. Mandalay (Myanmar)
- 11. Sihanoukville (Cambodia)
- 12. Langkawi (Malaysia)
- 13. Sapa (Vietnam)
- 14. Ninh Binh (Vietnam)
- 15. Tangkahan, North Sumatra (Indonesia)
- 16. Luang Prabang (Laos)
- 17. Hoi An (Vietnam)
- 18. Kampot (Cambodia)
- 19. Yangon (Myanmar)
- 20. Komodo (Indonesia)
- 21. Halong Bay (Vietnam)
1. Coron, Palawan (Philippines)
Coron is the perfect honeymoon destination! This town is incredibly beautiful and it doesn’t break the bank.
The best thing to do here is island hopping. You can book a joiner tour or charter a private boat to explore the islands on your own, so you can skip the crowd. Swim in the Twin Lagoon, take photos from the Kayangan Lake viewdeck of the Coron Bay, and snorkel in house reefs surrounding islands. You can also book dives to see corals and WWII shipwrecks.
After the day’s activities, head to a natural hot spring resort and dine in a beachside restaurant while looking at the sunset.
Coron has all sorts of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts. Tour rates are the same price everywhere. There are also lots of choices when it comes to restaurants — make sure to try a local restaurant with Filipino choices of food!
2. Koh Phi Phi (Thailand)
With its affordable prices and tropical islands in the south, Thailand is a classic destination for romantic getaways. There are various islands in the south you can choose from and one that stands out is Koh Phi Phi.
Koh Phi Phi has white-sand, clear-blue beaches and great food. On daytime, you can go on island hopping tours, dive in shipwrecks, or sign up to adrenaline-filling activities such as shark feeding. Or you can just beach bum, stroll along the Phi Phi market for local fruits and produce, and take photos in the Koh Phi Phi viewpoint. At night, you can go to different bars to party.
Koh Phi Phi is a great budget-friendly romantic vacation spot in Southeast Asia for adventure seekers and party goers.
3. Chiang Mai (Thailand)
By Cheerful Trails
Located amongst the mountainous region of Northern Thailand is the very charming city, Chiang Mai. The city is blessed with gorgeous surroundings, fascinating heritage, wildlife attractions and delicious street food markets.
One of the must do activities in Chiang Mai is marveling on the captivating Buddhist temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep which is located at a hilltop. You can also go for an ethical tour at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary and have some up close encounters with the elephants. Head out for white water rafting and kayaking on the River Pai or soak in some amazing panoramic views on a hot air balloon ride over the city. Chiang Mai has a variety of adventure sports for you to choose from.
The night market om Chiang Mai is worth exploring and is filled with numerous food stalls serving lip-smacking Thai cuisine.
Chiang Mai is the perfect holiday destination for couples who seek for a beautiful, fun and relaxing getaway.
4. Perhentian Islands (Malaysia)
Perhentian Islands is a group of islands in peninsular Malaysia best known for its diving spots. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest places in Southeast Asia to get a PADI certification. As such, it’s a great honeymoon retreat for adventuring couples.
Aside from diving, Perhentian Islands also has great beaches where you can swim, snorkel, or kayak. There is also a jungle where you can trek.
You can easily find cheap overnight accommodation in Perhentian Kecil or go for nicer resorts in Perhentian Besar. As with everywhere else in Malaysia, the food here is cheap and delicious.
Your budget will go a long way in Perhentian Islands.
5. Bali (Indonesia)
There is a reason why Bali is known for discovering self-love (and romance!).
Bali has a unique culture, with the entirety of the island following Hinduism. The food is delicious, from the regular Indonesian meals to organic dishes offered by cafes. It offers a lot of activities, from sightseeing temples to trekking in rice paddies, snorkeling and diving, and surfing.
Also, it has amazing deals on villas and resorts!
You can book a homestay in the middle of rice fields or a resort overlooking the jungles in Ubud. Or spend the days in a deluxe suite in a luxury beach resort. You can also book your own private villa for reasonable prices.
Whatever your preferred accommodation is, you can find it in Bali.
6. Koh Lipe (Thailand)
If you want to enjoy an exotic island vacation but without the crowd, then book a getaway to Koh Lipe. Koh Lipe is an island in the southern part of Thailand, closes to the border of Langkawi in Malaysia.
Koh Lipe is surrounded by three shores where you can beach bum, drink fresh fruitshakes or cocktails, or watch the sunset. The commercial area is located in Walking Street, where you can find restaurants, stores, and agencies offering island hopping tours. You can stay in the island to relax together and enjoy unlimited seafood buffet or ala carte Thai dishes or you can go on island hopping tours to explore the nearby islands. You can also rent a kayak or book a dive together.
Koh Lipe is a relaxing place to spend a vacation with your partner.
7. Koh Phangan (Thailand)
By Top Travel Sights
Koh Phangan is both budget-friendly and romantic, which makes it the perfect place to visit as a couple. Base yourself in one of the small villages along the coast and spend your days lying on the beach, lazing around in a hammock or drinking coconut water.
If you want to explore the island together, you should rent motorbikes. Drive to one of the seven waterfalls you can find on Koh Phangan and cool down in the refreshing water.
Or maybe you want to learn to dive together? Koh Phangan is the perfect place to explore the underwater world as a couple. What’s more romantic than holding your partner’s hand while watching a whale shark swim by?
In the evening, you should head down to the beach to watch the sunset. Take a seat and observe as the sky turns all shades of red and orange, before heading out for a delicious Thai dinner.
8. Lombok (Indonesia)
By Sam Sees World
Lombok is a beautiful island in Indonesia located right beside the very popular island of Bali. This island has a much more local and authentic feel than Bali and visiting Lombok offers a more intimate travel experience. Since tourism is not as big in Lombok, the prices are extremely low and finding food, accommodation, and excursions on a budget is the norm.
There are also a lot of things to do in Lombok with especially great options for couples. One of the best things to do is going to one of the many stunning beaches. The beaches are private and intimate and they are the perfect place to go to for a romantic day with your lover. A day at the beach will make you feel like the only people in the world. There are also volcanoes to hike, islands to explore, and rice fields to discover.
A vacation here with your partner will surely bring you closer.
9. Gili Trawangan (Indonesia)
Gili Trawangan is one of the cluster of islands sitting on the northwest coast of Lombok, Indonesia. It’s popular among party goers, but it’s also the perfect romantic getaway.
As the largest among Gili Islands, it has plenty of options when it comes to accommodations and restaurants & bars, ranging from budget to luxury. This makes it ideal for those who want to go on an exotic island vacation but not over-splurge. You have your beautiful partner next to you — now add some more beauty with stunning vistas of crystal-clear blues, fiery reds from the sunset, and backdrop of two volcanic mountains from the neighboring islands of Lombok and Bali. Spend time cycling and snorkeling around the islands, swimming with turtles, and enjoying a candle-lit dinner followed by a movie date right on the beach!
All this makes Gili Trawagan a true paradise for lovers.
10. Mandalay (Myanmar)
By The Discovery Nut
The largest city in Northern Myanmar, Mandalay is great for a romantic trip to Southeast Asia. While Mandalay might not seem like an ideal getaway, you shouldn’t skip it when you plan your Myanmar itinerary. It’s a perfect alternative to other destinations in Southeast Asia that have become popular tourist staples and might feel less exclusive.
The former royal capital is a combination of fascinating history and incredible scenery, and you should spare about 2-3 days to explore it.
Visitors can climb a stairway to the top of Mandalay Hill that provides an overlook of the entire city or visit Mandalay Palace restored after WWII. Get a combo ticket to tour gilded pagodas and ancient monasteries around Mandalay Archaeological Zone during your first day.
Rent an e-bike or hire a taxi on the second day and head to the opposite side of the Irrawaddy River, where you can tour the Mingun City and discover the Hsinbyume Pagoda and Mingun Stupa among other things.
11. Sihanoukville (Cambodia)
Sihanoukville is one of the lesser-known destinations in Cambodia and it’s best for those who want a more relaxing type of vacation with their significant other.
Because Sihanoukville is a seaside town, you can spend your days lazing in the beach. You can also go on a boat tour to the nearby islands, see the wildlife in Cardamom Mountains, and visit temples.
Accommodations in Sihanoukville are relatively cheap. You can choose from hostels, resorts or even luxury floating tents in the Tatai River.
12. Langkawi (Malaysia)
By The Travel Scribes
What do more-ish mango pancakes, mangrove tours, and masses of high-end yet affordable beachside hotels have in common? They’re all to be found on the lush, island paradise of Langkawi, Malaysia. This gem, known as the Jewel of Kedah, is nestled in the Andaman Sea, about 30 km from mainland Malaysia.
This romantic sanctuary is great for couples on a budget, boasting a number of fantastic, luxurious properties with ocean views, yet at wallet-friendly prices. Known for its pristine white beaches, Langkawi is a great destination for those wanting to relax, either sunbathing or for a spot of pampering at the many high-end spas. For those wanting a bit more adventure, you can go parasailing, rent a jet ski to explore the Malaysian ‘fjords’, or just head over to one of the world’s oldest rainforests, where you can zipline over the treetops at the Geopark.
A must as part of any Malaysia itinerary, Langkawi is a great choice for couples on a budget, offering luxury for less.
13. Sapa (Vietnam)
By Where Goes Rose
The misty mountains of Sapa are totally different from the rest of Vietnam, providing a peaceful and romantic getaway from the busy cities. You’ll have your head in the clouds literally because this countryside region is set at a high elevation known for cooler temperatures and even snow in the winters. Rice fields and hill terraces stretch as far as the eye can see and there are plenty of places to get off-grid, feel at one with nature and spend time with your loved one.
To reach Sapa, you can take a bus or train from Hanoi. The best way to fill your Sapa itinerary is by immersing yourself in the spectacular countryside on numerous treks. Hiring a local as a guide is a great way to support the local economy and get to know the local culture. You can also stay overnight in a homestay, escaping the popular base of Sapa town and waking up to serene peaceful fields and herds of buffalo as your neighbors. Spend a least 2-3 days here!
14. Ninh Binh (Vietnam)
What could be more romantic than the sun setting between towering limestone mountains and sunbeams gleaming on green rice fields all to the gentle hum of crickets? The answer is simple: nothing. Nothing beats Ninh Binh when it comes to romance!
Ninh Binh’s dramatic landscape and stunning sunsets have helped it earn its reputation as a worthy alternative to Halong Bay. For couples in need of a romantic getaway, Ninh Binh is a 2.5-hour drive away from the chaos of Hanoi. When you arrive, head for the village of Tam Coc, home to Trang An UNESCO World Heritage site.
In Tam Coc, love can truly blossom. Grab your other half by the hand and enjoy a boat journey through the famous karsts and mysterious caves that make up Trang An. Then ride bicycles through peaceful rice paddies before you retire for the night to one of Ninh Binh’s quaint homestays.
15. Tangkahan, North Sumatra (Indonesia)
By We Are Sumatra
You might not expect to find romance in a tiny out-of-the-way village on the edge of the jungle, but trust me – visit Tangkahan in North Sumatra and it’s hard to avoid romantic moments that top even the best rom-com!
Float blissfully downriver on a tube to wash your hair under a secluded waterfall on the edge of the jungle, before swimming across the refreshing river into an intimate hot spring cave (bottle of Bintang optional) to soak with your honey – and that’s just one afternoon!
The locals know how to turn on the romance for couples; they often go the extra mile by adorning your dinner table (or room) with fresh flowers and vines right out of the jungle. Plus, they’ll happily sing local love songs to you late into the evening.
In this warm, welcoming village, freshly-made picnics by the river (or in the jungle) await. If you’re lucky, you and your sweetheart might even spot some of the incredible wildlife – like orangutans and hornbills – on the way.”
16. Luang Prabang (Laos)
By Unearth the Voyage
Luang Prabang is one of the most romantic and budget-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia. This town is so romantic because of the amazing French influence in the architecture of the city. As you walk around the city all of the buildings are decorated beautifully and there are many outdoor courtyard type restaurants to choose from. You can also take a boat ride down the Mekong River and watch the sunset while you visit different sites along the river.
One of the best things to do in Luang Prabang is to visit all of the wats (temples) throughout the city. Another amazing thing to do is to visit during the Boun Heua Fai Festival, also known as the festival of fireboats or the festival of lights. The locals build life-sized boats out of bamboo and cover the boats with candles and then launch the boats down the Mekong River. The entire city also decorates with candles so when you walk around it looks like you are in a magical fairy tale! The festival is in October every year is definitely not to be missed.
17. Hoi An (Vietnam)
By CK Travels
Voted one of the most picturesque towns in Asia, Hoi An in central Vietnam is a very romantic place to visit. This small old riverside town is rich in culture and filled with charming UNESCO world heritage sites. There are many things to do in Hoi An for couples — you can spend hours exploring the ancient temples and pretty side streets. However, Hoi An truly comes alive at night, when hundreds of colorful lanterns around town light up and tourists release candlelit lanterns to float down the river.
Other romantic Hoi An activities include taking a ride in a beautifully decorated boat along the river at sunset or a cycling trip through the stunning lush green rice paddies — a world away from the old town. By night, eat dinner at one of the many riverside restaurants or book an evening spa and massage treatment. Most activities in Hoi An are very cheap so it is a great destination for visitors on a budget.
18. Kampot (Cambodia)
Kampot, Cambodia’s charming riverside city, is the best place in the country to kick back and relax. Chilled vibes, leafy streets, an incredible café and restaurant scene (with eateries to rival Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) and, above all, a multitude of gorgeous riverside bungalow accommodations make Kampot one of the most romantic places in Southeast Asia. This being Cambodia, it’s also incredibly budget-friendly by international standards.
The best thing to do in Kampot is nothing – simply grab a bottle of locally made Kampot Cider, find a hammock, and watch the fishing boats roll along the Praek Tuek Chhu river. Active couples can try kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, caving, or a range of other outdoor activities. Taking a cooking class and touring the local pepper farms and salt pans are also must-dos.
Wandering the quiet streets of Kampot at dawn or dusk, admiring the Colonial facades and heritage shop houses, you’ll see why this small city is considered a must-visit.
19. Yangon (Myanmar)
By Drink Tea and Travel
Yangon is a large and colorful city, which you may not initially think of as romantic. However, there are several nooks and crannies of the city which make it a budget friendly, romantic destination.
Kandawgyi Park is peaceful, green, and perfectly manicured. It feels like a world away from the chaotic main streets. Here you will find young Burmese couples canoodling under palm trees or strolling alongside the lily pad carpeted lake.
Inya Lake in Yangon is another romantic landmark which is often cited in popular culture as a dating spot. You’ll find mentions of university students using the area for dating in Burmense novels, songs, and movies. This recreational area is popular for picnics at sunset and going for a stroll anytime of the day. It is the largest lake in the city.
Bogyoke Aung San Market is a major bazaar and a great place to go for a stroll with a loved one. You can find everything from antiques, Burmese handicrafts and jewelry shops, art galleries, and clothing stores.
For dinner or drinks head to one of the city’s rooftop bars. It is the perfect spot to conclude your romantic day in Yangon.
20. Komodo (Indonesia)
By The Diary of A Nomad
Komodo Island is one of the dreamiest places in Southeast Asia. The best thing about it is it’s also budget friendly!
The only way you can visit this island is via overnight boat tours, but instead of booking these tours in advance, you can head to one of the local tour offices in Labuan Bajo to snatch some really great budget deals! You can get a 3-night/2-day boat tour for $30 a day, which includes accommodation, meals onboard, snorkeling, and more!
The boat tour will take you to some truly romantic places all around Komodo. One of them is Padar Island, which offers an amazingly romantic sunrise viewpoint. You can also take a romantic stroll on the pink-colored sand of the Pink Beach or swim in the clear white waters of Taka Makassar. For a unique romantic experience, you can even go swimming together with manta rays at Manta Point!
If you want to have an unforgettable travel experience with your partner, definitely don’t miss out on Komodo.
21. Halong Bay (Vietnam)
By Wyld Family Travel
There is nothing quite like taking a cruise on Ha Long Bay with your loved one. There are plenty of luxurious cruises that will have you looking out of your suite at some of the most fascinating and mesmerizing scenery anywhere in the world. The movie-like scenery features towering Limestone stacks that rise vertically out of the emerald waters of the bay.
Spend time on the deck or on your balcony enjoying the time together in this magic location. Spend time swimming together, paddle the waters in a canoe or just laze the days away with a bottle of wine and local foods.
That goes our pick of the best budget-friendly romantic destinations in Southeast Asia! Do you have other recommendations? Let us know in the comment section below!
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This article is contributed by a guest author.