5 Unexpectedly Romantic Moments from Travelling as a Couple

The idea of travelling as a couple always conjures up romantic notions; thoughts of being swept off your feet on golden beaches, kissing at the top of a majestic mountain and drinking wine as the sun sets in Paris. It isn’t like that.

The truth is travelling isn’t romantic in the way people think.

Travelling with your other half all the time doesn’t mean round-the-clock romance. A lot of time is spent waking up at 5am to catch a bus, sleeping in cheap dorm rooms, traipsing around town looking for something to eat, getting stuck in airports, and even feeling sick. These certainly aren’t my finest moments.

P1030475But, travelling does mean you never know exactly what’s going to happen. Romance doesn’t happen in neat, cliché moments, but arrives unexpectedly at strange and often challenging times. Here are my top 5 unexpectedly romantic moments whilst travelling with my partner, Luke.

1Hiking up to the Bell Tower at Taroko National Park, Taiwan

Travelling as a CoupleOur first visit to Taroko was one of those day-trips that involve an early morning rise into darkness to catch 3 hour train and a 1 hour bus. We went on foot, which is a major mistake because Taroko is huge. After hours getting nowhere on the road stretching through the National Park’s belly with tour buses and scooters speeding by, we finally turned around and saw the Eternal Spring Shrine behind us. We followed the path uphill, eventually reaching the Bell Tower, looking over the edge and seeing the expanse of Taroko gorge below.


Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Travelling as a Couple

Kayaking leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m not talking about the salt water or the cool kayak products. The first time Luke and I got in a kayak together in the Philippines, we had a massive fight, the biggest fight we’ve ever had. Unable to work together, we ended it by telling each other to “fuck off,” and staring dumbly at the water whilst we bobbed together in the boat. When we were told we were off kayaking in Halong Bay I was horrified. In the face of a re-emerging challenge, we refused to allow a kayak to come between us and skimmed romantically through the limestone karsts of the bay.

 3Starving at sunset on the Brighton Downs

Travelling as a CoupleEmbarking on what I thought was an hour-long afternoon amble, 4 hours later I had my new boots covered in mud, was dying of thirst and felt dizzy having skipped lunch. Incredulous as to why Luke would let us come out on a hike with no water or lunch, I was stomping along appreciating very little of the beautiful surroundings. When the sun began to set at the end of the walk, it was too picture perfect for me to stay mad.


Trekking to a waterfall in Palawan, the Philippines

Travelling as a CoupleA half hour drive in a tricylce emblazoned with the lyrics “No Woman, No Cry” and we were at the start of a trek to a waterfall and plunge pool. Only, none of us had realised this trek involved wading through a series of rivers. Fortunately for me, chivalrous Luke piggy-backed me across so that I wouldn’t get my shoes wet.

5Soaked with sweat at the top of Teapot Mountain, Taiwan

Travelling as a CoupleGetting sweaty and stinky whilst hiking isn’t exactly romantic, but there’s something about the acheivement of making it to the top of a mountain together that is. Here we are, sweaty backed on a birthday weekend away sitting at the top of a teapot shaped rock on a mountain tip in Jiufen.

Have you had any unexpectedly romantic moments while travelling? I’d love to hear your stories.


Charlie Marchant

Charlie is a long-term traveller from the UK who writes about simple ways to travel sustainably, including how to become a house sitter and slow traveller, eating local and vegetarian, and making responsible travel choices.

17 thoughts to “5 Unexpectedly Romantic Moments from Travelling as a Couple”

  1. Hi! I really love yout stories, they are so personal :D I love Taiwan! A year ago I went to the UK (Bristol) to live with a host family, my roommate was from Taiwan. Keep writing these wonderful stories ;)

  2. Yay a valentines post I really love! I like the personal touch of each of your stories, it’s really something I can relate to as someone who travels with a partner as well. Travelling as a couple really isn’t as romantic as everyone makes it seem, I’ve been frustrated, mad or sad so often, just by all the things the road decides to throw at us. But then there are the perfect moments that make it all worth it. Happy travels to you and Luke and keep the good stuff coming :)

    1. Thank you, Tiffany, that’s lovely of you.

      Yes, there are always things going wrong and things you don’t expect while travelling – but you’re right, there are other moments that make it so worth it.

      Happy travels to you too! Tried to get to your blog, but the URL doesn’t seem to work…

  3. I’ve actually never been to Taroko, and I’ve lived in Taiwan for nearly two years! Shame on me! I have to go, now that I’ve seen your lovely post! I’ve always been a single girl travelling, so it’s so interesting to hear things from a different point of view! Hope I’ll be initiated into this particular joy in the future ;)

    1. What!! Taroko is the best place in Taiwan! We went three times in the year we lived there and still didn’t get to do everything we would’ve liked. Walking holidays are usually better with company though ~ I hope couples travelling becomes a thing for you too :) though I really admire solo female travellers.

  4. Haha, I totally agree – the romantic moments tend to arrive when you least expect them to! These all look like fantastic experiences, we can’t wait to get to Asia and see all of them…safe travels!

  5. I love each and every one of them!! The best romantic moments are the ones that are unplanned and happen when you least expect them to!

    Kayaking Halong Bay with my husband at Sunset was probably on the my fondest memories of Vietnam and conquering some of the peaks in Taiwan with him also have a special place in my heart!!

  6. The stories are really cute :) And photos are fantastic.

    Guess there’s something about man and hiking as my significant other says one of the most romantic places we’ve been to was Ijen Volacano in Indonesia. I remember myself cold, sweaty and grasping air as we rush upwards and kind of not in my best looks. But yes, making in to the top and enjoying the view was spectacular!

  7. Awwe! Sweet stories especially the one in Palawn cuz he doesnt want your shoes to get wet. I always travel with my husband although I don’t really remember having a big fight during those times. :D btw, I so love your profile avatar. <3

      1. Ah! There’s no fun without the fight. ;) he’s my one and only travel buddy.
        I am inspired to take my avatar down and find a new one. Thanks for visiting my blog. Cheers! :D

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