6 Romantic (Yet Affordable) Island Getaways for Couples

Island getaways for couples abound across social media post-pandemic, yet few that we’ve encountered strike the perfect balance between affordability and romance. Affordable island getaways typically teem with backpackers in dorms, while conversely, romantic island retreats for couples tend to strain the purse strings a bit too much.

Especially designed for couples seeking budget-friendly island getaways, we’ve assembled a list of the most affordable options. Whether you’re planning a budget-conscious honeymoon or seeking to reignite your passion for each other, this list of island getaways for couples is tailor-made for you.

6 Romantic Island getaways for couples On A Budget

1. Bali, indonesia

island getaways for couples
Gili Trawangan island is tiny measuring 3km long and 2km wide so you can cycle slowly around the island. | Credit: Tom Bixler via Unsplash

When it comes to affordable island getaways for couples, Bali ranks as one of the top destinations worldwide, and for good reason. The island heavily relies on tourism, accounting for at least 60% of its income according to recent estimates. This reliance incentivizes them to provide travellers with the best possible experience.

We’ve written about Bali previously and called it one of the best places to go for honeymooners. Kuta, South Kuta, and Ubud usually top the list of recommendations for couples but true travellers need to look further east towards the island of Lombok, the Gili islands, or the Nusa islands. 

Accessing these places requires taking a ferry or a fast boat from Bali, but the reward lies in lower rates due to their secluded nature, offering more privacy. Lombok appeals to adventure travellers seeking to hike up Mount Rinjani, Indonesia’s tallest mountain, while Nusa Penida, among the Nusa islands, boasts unique viewpoints unmatched elsewhere.

For luxurious resorts dotting the white sandy beaches, Gili Trawangan, situated off the coast of Lombok, beckons. Despite the island not offering much beyond waterside drinks and snorkelling, it ensures a peaceful ambience, free from the bustle of party-goers.

The other two Gili islands are similarly compact and easily reachable by boat. If inclined, visitors can explore all three islands to savour their distinctive culinary offerings and atmospheres. Gili Trawangan is particularly renowned for its breathtaking sunset vistas, making it an ideal spot for capturing romantic twilight photos.

2. Langkawi, malaysia

affordable island getaways
Pantai Cenang is the hub of activity on the island and you can find duty-free shops here alongside chic cafés. | Credit: Moritz Spahn via Unsplash

Langkawi, an island off the coast of Perlis in the northernmost region of Malaysia, holds the unique status of being duty-free, making it an ideal destination for affordable island getaways. While not all stores on the island offer duty-free items, hotspots abound with duty-free stores catering to various preferences.

For international travellers, reaching Langkawi involves a connecting flight from Kuala Lumpur. However, those coming from Singapore can opt for direct flights to Langkawi Airport offered by several airlines.

Once a bustling destination for both locals and foreigners, Langkawi has experienced a slight decline, making it an excellent choice for couples seeking a private and romantic escape.

Exploring the island by renting a car is cost-effective, allowing you to discover numerous beaches scattered throughout. From the lively Pantai Cenang, the island’s main hub, to the secluded Datai Bay situated at the northern tip, there’s a beach for every preference.

Ascend the Langkawi cable car to behold panoramic views of the entire island, relish a memorable sunset dinner cruise, delve into local folklore at Dream Forest Langkawi, or indulge in duty-free shopping. Langkawi offers the freedom to explore diverse locations, facilitated by mostly uncrowded roads that ensure swift travel around the island.

Most hotels provide tour packages from their front desks, offering activities like island hopping, snorkelling, and various sea sports. However, it’s important to note that irresponsible tourism has adversely affected the reefs, making snorkelling less advisable due to their compromised condition.

romantic island retreats for couples
The Datai is on Condé Nast Treveler’s Gold Award List for 2023. | Credit: Courtesy of The Datai Langkawi

If you seek luxury and seclusion, The Datai, situated to the north, stands as an award-winning hotel revered by naturalists. Nestled within the ancient rainforest, this establishment offers curated experiences with nature guides and adventurous tours for enthusiasts.

For a closer stay to Pantai Cenang, consider Kunang Kunang Heritage Villas, where you can immerse yourself in the night’s embrace within traditional Malay houses dating back hundreds of years. These historical homes were meticulously disassembled and transported from regions like Perak and Negeri Sembilan before being meticulously reassembled on the property. Crafted without the use of nails, these traditional Malay houses exhibit architectural marvels, with many of the villas showcasing the absence of nails in their construction.

3. Bintan Island, indonesia

island getaways for couples on a budget
The ferry terminal at Bandar Bentan Telani serves trips to Tanah Merah, Singapore and Sri Bintan Pura Port is the gateway for local and foreign tourists to enter Tanjung Pinang City and Bintan Island. | Credit: CHUTTERSNAP via Unsplash

The island of Bintan, situated south of Singapore, is accessible by ferry from Johor or Singapore. It’s not advisable to take a flight there, as the airport does not cater to international passengers.

While Indonesia’s typical island retreat conjures images of Bali, Bintan has emerged as an excellent option for couples seeking budget-friendly island getaways. Discover picturesque public beaches such as Trikora Beach, White Sands Islands, Lagoi Beach, and Hamid Beach.

Numerous seafront resorts dot the coastline, offering a variety of choices. Opt for accommodations nearer to the ferry at Lagoi Beach or explore options along the Eastern coast of Bintan.

Given the island’s substantial size, akin to that of Singapore, it’s unrealistic to expect to explore it entirely. For convenient travel, consider hiring a private driver, as taxi services on the island can become costly.

Embraced by its famed white sandy beaches and pristine blue waters, selecting a favoured resort and staying within that area is a prudent choice. For resort recommendations, consider The Residence Bintan, established in 2018. Positioned on the island’s eastern side, this resort provides a complimentary shuttle service from the ferry. Some villas within the resort boast private pools, yet the beach itself offers seclusion and tranquillity.

 all-inclusive island getaway
Banyan Tree Bintan has 72 villas modelled on traditional Balinese architecture. | Credit: CHUTTERSNAP via Unsplash

If you’d like a more established name, there’s also the Banyan Tree Bintan, located close to the ferry terminal, or Club Med Bintan Island located about 14km away from the ferry. These locations are located on the western side of Bintan and are more populated by tourists looking for a quick weekend getaway from nearby Singapore or Johor. 

4. Kani, all-inclusive island getaway

island getaways for couples
Club Med Kani opened in 2000 and was recently refreshed for travellers. | Credit: bark via Unsplash

Kanifinolhu Island, or Kani, nestled in the Maldives, stands as a private retreat owned by Club Med, merely 12 miles north of Malé, the Maldivian capital. Renowned for its distinction as one of the finest all-inclusive island getaways in the Maldives, Kani boasts unparalleled offerings.

As an all-inclusive haven, guests not only savour gourmet cuisine but also indulge in a plethora of island activities, including spa treatments, water-based adventures, flight transfers, and specialized activities for children.

The island hosts three restaurants and four bars strategically placed across two kilometres of unspoiled, white sandy beaches, ensuring an abundance of space and seclusion during your stay. The Maldives epitomize private experiences, and this facet was amplified during the pandemic, as the country swiftly reopened for travel due to its remote and isolated nature.

While accommodations on solid ground are more economical, for an unparalleled Maldivian escapade, consider the Overwater Suite. This luxurious option provides direct access to the sea, boasting a terrace perfect for sunbathing and lounging, allowing you to relish the invigorating ocean breeze.

affordable island getaways
Overwater villas have a separate check-in with separate wristbands, their own beach, and their own bar | Credit: bark via Unsplash

If you stay on a Sunday, you’ll even get the chance to do some local shopping as vendors open stalls on the island to sell unique locally made souvenirs. For complete privacy, you can take advantage of the all-inclusive island getaway at Club Med and have all your meals (and drinks) delivered to your room throughout your trip. Plan your own romantic night by the sea and have as much (or as little) privacy as you want. 

Read all about the all-inclusive island getaway, Club Med Kani here.

5. Phuket, thailand

kata noi beach
Phuket boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with soft white sand, turquoise waters, and swaying palm trees. | Credit: Miltiadis Fragkidis via Unsplash

There are over 40 beaches to explore in Phuket, and the entire island itself is not very expansive, stretching 48 kilometres in length and 21 kilometres in width. Phuket is renowned for its pristine white sandy beaches and striking limestone cliffs, notably featured in the James Bond film, “The Man With The Golden Gun.”

The island offers convenient access through direct flights to Phuket International Airport, the second busiest airport in Thailand.

For couples seeking tranquillity, it’s advisable to steer clear of the more bustling beaches, such as Patong, Kata, and Karon, situated on the southwest side. Instead, head northwest towards quieter beaches like Naithon, Nai Yang, and Mai Khao. Mai Khao, located adjacent to the airport, allures visitors who capture mesmerizing images of planes descending against the backdrop of sand and sea.

Mai Khao Beach spans 11 kilometres and remains undeveloped as it is part of the Sirinat National Park. International hotel brands like JW Marriott, Renaissance, SALA, and Le Meridien have a presence along this coastline, yet they are not directly built onto the beach, preserving the unspoiled nature of the sand.

romantic island retreats for couples
SALA Phuket has 8 different villas to choose from. | Credit: salaphuketmaikhaobeach@ Instagram

SALA Phuket Resort in particular is recommended for couples because of its secluded design that ensures every villa is private with high walls and private pools. There’s even an open-air bathtub that proves you can remain in the buff if you want to within the compounds of your villa. 

Continuing the theme of seclusion the nearby Sai Kaew Beach is a quiet beach that has mostly been left alone due to its location far north. There are only local bamboo hut restaurants here and the prices are reasonable as they are authentic local cuisine. 

It’s possible to have a romantic dinner here by the sea if you get a seat early and don’t mind a little rough and tumble compared to the finer dining experience provided by its contemporaries. 

6. Sri Lanka

chena huts
Each cabin at Uga Chena Huts has its own pool, a fully-stocked minibar, and a living room. | Credit: Courtesy of Uga Chena Huts

The island nation of Sri Lanka is surrounded by sandy beaches adorned with palm trees, frequented by amiable locals and holidaymakers alike. While navigating the country might be described as somewhat chaotic due to the bustling population, once settled into one of its numerous resorts, you’ll discover it to be an exceptional budget-friendly island getaway for couples.

Tailor your holiday plans around Sri Lanka’s two distinct monsoon seasons: the April to September monsoon affecting the west and southwest coasts, and the November to March monsoon impacting the east coast.

The primary city of Sri Lanka, Colombo, usually serves as the starting point for most travellers. Given the country’s affordability, consider staying at distinctive nature resorts like Elements Beach & Nature Resort, situated along the banks of Kappalady Lagoon and the Indian Ocean.

This resort boasts a private beach and offers opportunities for whale and dolphin watching nearby. Similarly, Uga Chena Huts, nestled amidst the tropical jungles of Yala, features 18 luxury cabins spread across 7 acres of land.

Exemplifying local architecture, these cabins blend seamlessly with the jungle environment and the adjacent saline lake. Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Yala National Park, and a natural watering hole, these cabins provide captivating vistas of the seascape and wilderness.

Moreover, these accommodations fulfil the criteria for an all-inclusive island retreat, offering guests all meals as part of their booking. The resort offers unique all-day tours to Yala National Park, allowing guests to witness wild game alongside experienced guides.

coconut tree hill
Coconut Tree Hill can be found in the town of Marissa and is one of the most photographed points in Sri Lanka. | Credit: Dinuka Lankaloka via Unsplash

Go further south and you’ll find Mirissa Beach, the honeymoon destination for many couples and a hotspot for whale-watching. The palm trees here are tall and iconic and most people head to Coconut Tree Hill to immortalise their holiday in Sri Lanka with a photo among the palm trees.

these six enchanting island getaways for couples on a budget offer an array of captivating experiences amidst breathtaking landscapes. Whether it’s the secluded charm of Bintan, Sri Lanka’s tropical wonders, the serene tranquility of Langkawi to the all-inclusive luxury of Kanifinolhu in the Maldives, each destination holds the promise of romance without breaking the budget.

Why not cut out the hassle of planning your itinerary and engage professionals who can curate your very own ASEAN holiday tour? 
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