Learn how Wendy Wu Tours’ destinations celebrate love…
Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is global and some Asian countries have their own unique ways of celebrating love.
While Valentine’s Day doesn’t always occur on February 14, many Asian cultures dedicate one day, or sometimes several, to expressing love. Asia is also home to some of the world’s most romantic locations. Some, such as India’s Taj Mahal, are in themselves a tribute to love. Here’s how Wendy Wu Tours’ favourite destinations celebrate and express love and, most noteworthy, our top romantic locations in each country…
The Chinese celebrate their version of Valentine’s Day on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.This generally falls around August. The festival honours a fabled love story about a cow herder and a weaving maiden, separated year-round apart from one day. During this festival, it is common for young girls to pray for happiness and love. Similar to those of us in Australia, people exchange chocolates, flowers and gifts. Nowadays in the big cities of China, the February 14th celebrations are becoming more popular with young people.
China’s top three most romantic locations:
- Great Wall at dawn – Watch the sun rise and illuminate the ancient Great Wall and surrounding mountains
- Yangshuo – the landscape is straight out of a painting; towering karst peaks, meandering rivers, rice paddies and quaint villages
- Yunnan Province – in the charming towns of Dali, Lijiang and Zhongdian, you will find cobblestone lanes, tea houses, temples and chilled-out cafes
Culturally, Indians still consider love and marriage to be family matters, rather than just about the couple. Public displays of affection are also not generally commonplace in India. However, Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular through western TV shows and, as a result, couple’s celebrating together at the movies and restaurants.
India’s top three most romantic locations:
- Taj Mahal, Agra – built as a tribute to a lost love, it’s considered by many to be the world’s most architecturally beautiful and romantic structure
- Kerala Backwaters – cruise on a private houseboat along the palm-fringed backwaters past coffee and spice plantations
- Udaipur – stunning palaces, glistening lakes and countless roof-top restaurants make for old-world romance
It is custom for women to be the gift-givers on Valentine’s Day in Japan, typically giving chocolate. In a country where food is an art form and communication polite and transparent, each type of chocolate has a different meaning, depending on whom it is for:
- Giri-choco means ‘obligation chocolate’ and is given as a courtesy to a teacher or male work colleague
- Honmei-choco means ‘favourite chocolate’ and is for men they are romantically involved with
- Tomo-choco means ‘friendship chocolate’ and is given by boys and girls to their friends
On March 14 – White Day – the men return the favour by gifting chocolate to women. While inexpensive chocolates are for work relationships or friendships, the lavish ones are for romantic loves.
Japan’s top three most romantic locations:
- Kyoto – wander through temples and gardens of this living museum; search for geisha and visit a traditional teahouse. Do this during cherry blossom season and it’s romance all the way!
- Ryokan in Hakone – have an authentic Japanese experience in traditional accommodation, soak in an onsen (hot springs) and explore the picturesque Mt. Fuji
- Sunset at Miyajima – as the sun sets, the stone lanterns light up and floodlights brighten the floating Itsukushima Shrine
The Vietnamese, mostly the younger generation, have only recently started acknowledging Valentine’s Day. In a similar way to the western world, gifts of chocolate, flowers and small tokens are given. Traditionally, love was celebrated during Tet and through Bac Ninh love duets – folk songs, which were sung to subtly express love.
Vietnam’s top four most romantic locations:
- Dalat – this central Vietnam town is known as the ‘city of love’. There are romantic lakes, waterfalls, classical architecture and gardens to wander through
- Sapa – the superb landscapes of northern Vietnam with grand sunsets and sunrises, friendly hill tribes residents await
- Halong Bay – Board a junk boat and cruise around the peaceful limestone islets and karst formations
- Hoi An – this charming ancient town has an enchanting streetscape lined with galleries and stores. The beaches are a short drive away where you can unwind ocean-side