Published: 08 March 2016 by: Natasha Pavez

The Croquet Lawn at The Sanchaya

Hitting Asia with your sweetheart soon? Here are some memorable experiences to put on your itinerary. Watch the romance, and the memories, surge.

1. Play croquet in Sri Lanka and Indonesia

Take a step back in time and indulge in a pastime favoured by aristocrats of yore – croquet. Galle Face Hotel in Colombo recently completed a gorgeous refurb, part of which included a new croquet lawn to celebrate the hotel’s traditional game. Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Bintan Island hosts The Sanchaya, whose immaculate croquet lawn overlooks the coastal scene we all recognise from holidays in the sun. Pick up a glass of Pimms and take your place in the Croquet Hall of Fame.

2. Visit Italy… in Vietnam

Hop aboard a vespa and cruise the streets, singing a merry “Ciao” as you pass fellow riders. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’re driving along cobblestone streets in Rome, but don’t be fooled: you can find this level of romance in Saigon. ‘Ciao’ in Italian means (and sounds) exactly the same as ‘Chao’ in Vietnamese, so you’ll be understood… even when you cross the threshold into Saigon’s most Italian hotel, The Reverie. 

3. Shop your heart out in Taipei

Night markets are the savvy traveller’s shopping mecca, and in Taipei they’re sublime. From Shilin to Lin Jiang (and the myriad other options in between), you and your honey can get your mitts on great deals and delectable food, without breaking the bank. Bored of the markets? We’re surprised, but head onto the Convenience Store. Taipei’s going to put all our little convenience stores to shame…

Related article: Understated Luxury and Spectacular Views at the Grand Hyatt Taipei

Sumo Wrestling in Tokyo; photo: Nihon Sumo Kyokai

4. Dine with a sumo wrestler in Tokyo

Sit down over traditional fare with a Japanese icon with the Palace Hotel Tokyo’s Grappling Tokyo package. Over a lunch of classic chanko nabe, you and a sumo wrestler can chat about anything and everything – including the meal in front of you, which is prepared by the wrestlers themselves.

5. Explore the catacombs of Hanoi

2012 saw the excavation of a wartime air raid shelter in the courtyard garden at the Sofitel Legend Metropole, which travellers can now explore. The underground warren takes you back to the wartime years, open to the public as a memorial to those who suffered during the war.

Related article: Sights, Smells and Sounds of Hanoi

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