Island paradise close to home

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 June, 2008, 12:00am

Amanpulo, Philippines

Picture the scene If you can afford it, this gem (pictured left and right) dazzles like a diamond wedding ring but does not take an eternity to get to. The judges of one prestigious travel award last year praised the Amanpulo as 'near-perfect, offering privacy, crystal-clear waters and stunning beaches'. The resort is set on the narrow, 5.5km-long private island Pamalican in the Cuyo group of islands about 360km southwest of Manila that is only 500 metres across at its widest point. It is surrounded by 7 sqkm of reef where whales and dolphins are often seen.

Best time to go November to May, the dry season.

Upside You will not feel like a Robinson Crusoe. The island has all the five-star luxuries you expect of a world-class resort including an air-conditioned gym and a 30-metre swimming pool. Adding to the romantic atmosphere, couples get to stay in beach, hillside or treetop casitas (small houses), each with their own golf cart.

Downside It is not cheap and you will feel more comfortable here if someone is paying for your honeymoon as a wedding present. Furthermore, it is very close to Hong Kong. Do not be surprised if you see your boss or your next door neighbour walking through the surf towards you.

Getting there and costs A flight from Hong Kong to Manila followed by a quick one-hour hop in a 19-seat, twin-engine turboprop to the resort's private airstrip. Expect to pay about US$700 a night plus US$350 per person for your transfer from Manila to the island. More details are available at