With the cupid’s holiday just a week away, it’s time to plan a special surprise getaway with your sweetheart. Here’s presenting this year’s top offbeat destinations for Valentine’s Day. Beginning with the Indian destinations, the first one on the list is:
Khonsa, Arunachal Pradesh
A perfect place for breathtaking jungle treks, the Khonsa hill station is a tiny township in the Tirap Valley with its own forest department and circuit house. Though the place has a strong military presence, but that takes a backseat compared to the natural beauty of this place. A perfect setting for romancing in the jungle, trekking in this wilderness will lead you to many treasures like the rare blue Vanda orchid, flying squirrel, red pandas and enthralling waterfalls. Who wouldn’t wish for such a wonderful vacation on V-Day?
The Khonsa Museum will give you an insight to the daily lifestyle of the tribals in the area. The Nocte tribe make up the majority of the population in the entire Tirap district Kheti and Lajo village tours are also common for the visitors. These villages are inhabited by the Nocte and Wanchoo tribes and have retained many of their ancient customs and traditions.
How to reach: Indian tourists need an Inner Line Permit and Foreign nationals need a Restricted Area Permit. The nearest airport is in the city of Dibrugarh, Mohanbari Airport (216 km) and the nearest railway station is Tinsukia (170 km). By road, Digboi is around 42 km away from Khonsa. From Digboi you can drive to Khonsa via Changlang. For more information you can contact the Tourism Directorate of Arunachal Pradesh at +91-360-2214745/2214752
Dzukou Valley, Kohima
The next offbeat destination for Valentine’s Day is located on the border of Manipur and Nagaland. Dzukou Valley lies at a height of 2,438 m behind Japfu Range. The valley is one of the best trekking spot in the north-eastern states of India. This is another offbeat nature destination that is perfect for adventurous couples. Adorned with the rare Dzukou Lily that is found only here, this place promises to be one of the most private and breathtaking romantic destination in India.
How to reach: The valley is some 30 km from Kohima. One has to reach Viswema village after which the motorable road comes to an end and the trek to the valley begins. There are many adventure tour operator who organise treks to the Dzukou valley. One of them is Reisen Welt, who can be reached at +91-80111-03103 and information reisenwelt @ gmail.com.
Horsley Hills, Andhra Pradesh
Horsley Hills is today among the tiniest hill stations in India. The lush forests around Horsley Hills are ideal for secluded nature walks, picnics and drives, giving you ample “alone time” with your partner. The narrow road to here is extremely scenic lined with groves of jacaranda, eucalyptus, allamanda and gulmohar trees. Some of the spots that you must visit with your partner is the Gangotri Lake, Gaalibanda, the High-viewing place and Environmental Park. And if you are in a mood for some fun, do try Zorbing when here.
How to reach: Located around 140 km from Bangalore and 144 km from Tirupati, the hill is well connected. The nearest town is Madanapalli (24 km) with its own railway station, where numerous trains like Secunderabad-Tirupati Express, Amravathi Express etc take a halt. You’ll have to make arrangements with your hotel/resort to pick you up from the station as the local transport is not very dependable. The nearest airports are in Bangalore (160 km) and Tirupati (166 km) from where you can take a cab (around INR 1,500) to reach the hill station.
Another gem of a place, the splendid little town of Kalpetta in Kerala is covered in lush coffee plantations and embraced by lofty mountains. The place attracts tourists for its natural beauty and the famous temples. No words can do justice to the beauty of this place. Kerala in itself is a hot destination for honeymooners and couples, but very few take time to visit this side of Kerala. Chembra Peak, Eddakal Caves and Kuruvadweep are some of the must visit places here. Kalpetta is very laidback and has an untouched beauty not very commercialized by tourism, which makes it an ideal spot for couples looking for some quiet quality time.
How to reach: Kalpetta is best reached by local modes of transportation. The nearest railway and airport is at Kozhikode. From here you can get regular buses or cabs to take you to Kalpetta.
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh
Usually when thinking about places to go this Valentine, the city of Khajuraho surprisingly rarely ever comes to one’s mind. Being a place that is famous for teaching love and intimacy to humans, Khajuraho comes in this list of offbeat destinations for Valentine’s day. The Khajuraho temples are a must visit for their archaeological essence and awe-inspiring beauty. And every couple should come here atleast once!
How to reach: The nearest railway stations are at Mahoba (77 km) and Harpalpur (90 km). Prepaid taxis cost around INR 1,500-2,000. The nearest airport is the Khajuraho airport.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
The word Kutch or Kachchh, means tortoise in the ancient Indian language Sanskrit because the region is shaped like a turtle. While visiting Kutch, you can come close to the 18 varied tribes living harmoniously despite their distinct language, culture and customs. Along with enjoying the cultural heritage of the region, the desert city of Kutch is a wonderful place to have fun with camel rides, jeep safaris, wildlife spotting (Wild Ass Wildlife Sanctuary is here), and shopping for beautiful handicrafts.
Moreover, February is a great time to visit Kutch as the Rann Utsav will be on full blast. Walking hand in hand with your sweetheart across the wide expanse of snowy white salt marshes taking in the festivities is a very beautiful way to spend the cupid’s day is it not?
How to reach: The nearest railway station is in Adipur and Bhuj. The nearest airport is at Bhuj (70 km). Regular buses and cabs are available to take you to Kutch. Alternately, buses are also available from Ahmedabad to Kutch.
Those were the top Indian picks. Now let’s talk a bit about the international scene. We have shortlisted the top three international offbeat destinations for Valentine’s day. The first one is:
Plitvice National Park, Croatia
Plitvice is the oldest national park in the south-eastern zone of Europe and the biggest one in Croatia. This is a super dreamy location to take your valentine to. The park is considered one of the most beautiful sights in Europe, which is saying a lot!
The waters flowing over the limestone and chalk have, over thousands of years have created natural deposits and barriers resulting in natural dams. These in turn have lead to the formation of a series of breathtaking lakes, caves and waterfalls. The total tour of the park takes around 4-5 hours. There are plenty of trails (easy to challenging) to choose from, some of them even wheelchair friendly. There are plenty of rare faunal and floral species as well. One of the “must see before you die” places.
How to reach: Regular buses from Zagreb to Zadar or Spilt ply in this area. It should be remembered that the buses do not really follow a strict schedule, so they tend to run early or late. It is a good idea to arrive a little earlier than the time stated.
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Ah! What better way to spend a romantic time than the “Valley of the Moon” itself? Wadi Rum is a valley made by natural cutting into granite rock and sandstone that has lead to formation of many stark and unnatural formations. The valley is located to the south of Jordan. It is home to the Zalabia Bedouin tribe who have made a successful living out of eco-adventure tourism here. From camel riding, hiking and rock climbing, to camping under the stars, you are sure to have a memorable valentine in Wadi Rum. This place seems to come out of the pages of Arabian Nights, perfect for a private Valentine’s day celebration, no?
How to reach: It is located on a short offshoot from the Desert Highway between Amman and Aquaba. A small side road leads to the Wadi Rum Visitors Centre. Entry fees is 5 Jordanian Dinars.
Canary Islands, Spain
This one is solely for the beach bums. Canary Islands are the Atlantic territory of Spain, located to the west of Africa near Cape verde, Morocco. The archipelago’s beaches, subtropical climate and natural attraction make it one of the most visited place in the world. From awesome marine life, terrestrial wildlife, active volcanoes, shops, sparkling beaches–this is a getaway dreams are made of. You might also be in luck to see the colourful and vibrant Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, held in the month of February.
How to reach: The Canaries are a popular destination in Europe. The two main Airports in the north and south are the Tenerife and the Gran Canaria Airport. There are airport on other islands, but that might be more expensive. You can also opt for the ferry option. Naviera Armas sails weekly from Portimão, Portugal via Madeira.
So these were the best offbeat destinations for Valentine’s day this year. Hope this helps you plan the best romantic getaway. Have a wonderful journey filled with love and sweet memories. There are many more destinations to visit this Valentine’s Day, where you can most of the day with the love of your life.
About the Author:
A wordologist, Etti Bali loves playing around with words, creating a world of absurd. In an ideal world, she would never wake up as she thinks slumber is the answer to all world problems.