Serene waters. Lush greenery. Sunrise meditation. Farm-fresh food.
Who wouldn’t want to spend a few days in a body-rejuvenating and soul-soothing environment away from the hustle and bustle of the metro? These days, an increasing number of people are hopping on the bandwagon with the market for wellness travel reported to be worth a whopping $1.7 trillion globally, thanks to a wide shift towards healthy lifestyles.
So if you are among the droves of city dwellers seeking a reboot, here are our picks of luxurious wellness resorts—from tranquil farms to exotic places of ancient wellness practices and traditions—in Asia.
We bring you Eat, Pray, Love in a purely Asian style.
1. Ananda in the Himalayas, India
A lavish retreat to wellness & peace
A journey to India, the land of ancient meditation techniques, yoga and rich cultural experiences, might just be your ultimate wellness retreat. One renowned destination is Ananda Spa, a luxury spa surrounded by age-old forests in the foothills of the Himalayas overlooking the enchanting Ganges River. This retreat destination, which is over a decade old, has attracted the likes of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey with its blissful tranquil setting.
Its wide expanse of spa lets you enjoy your way to physical wellness, from its high-end gym and temperature-controlled pools to upscale hydrotherapy facilities. You can also pamper yourself in Indian wellness traditions of Ayurveda and Yoga infused in its 80 beauty and body treatments.
You can also customize your Ananda spa experience based on your wellness goals—from de-stressing, relaxation and even weight loss—with the help of their resident nutritionists and therapists and visiting experts. If you’re feeling a little uncentered, we suggest you also try the healing experience of chakra balancing with Himalayan Crystals to help cleanse further.
And while you’re in Ananda, take the chance to explore the rich Indian culture with its signature Indian and Asian cuisine, nature treks, white water rafting in the Ganges rapids, wildlife safari and the offering ritual Ganga Aarati by the Ganges river.
2. Spa Village Resort, Indonesia
Crafted by a woman, for women
If you often travel solo and your wellness goal is reconnecting with yourself, then you must try Spa Village’s Return to Yourself program. It is a yoga and wellness program developed by a female traveller who after many years of journeying alone, wanted to provide an environment that fosters the well-being of solo women travelers like her. Here, you will be taught Kundalini yoga and guided meditation and enjoy spa treatments. You also get visit Bali’s natural wonders, spend a night of starlight gazing and learn Balinese crafts.
The exotic and perhaps holistic appeal of Bali has drawn tourists to this place for many years. In Spa Village Resort, one will understand upon waking up to the grandiose Bali landscape of mountain peaks and lush flatlands in a striking backdrop of glistening black shorelines and a cerulean ocean. A breakfast of authentic Bali cuisine is also in order and after that, you can immerse in this place of romantic history, rich culture, calm spirituality and raw beauty.
3. Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia
Bliss without walls
If stillness and space are what your body and soul crave for, this secluded island lying in the warm blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand seals the deal. The island is a home to virgin rainforests, divine white beaches and magnificent reefs.
One of Cambodia’s premiere luxury resorts, treatments within are central to the ‘metta bhavana’ or the Buddhist tradition of loving kindness. You can experience their combination of Khmer techniques, ayurvedic treatments and chakra-clearing massages in treatment villas in the midst of a rainforest. The resort also promote an eco-friendly culture.
White canvasses of sand and outdoor salas also make a divine setting for your morning meditation and yoga.
The spa also offers special menus made from locally produced natural ingredients such as the famous Cambodian kampot pepper, Ibis rice, sea salt and organic herbs. The dishes are meticulously prepared in ancient Cambodian traditions and incorporated into your program for a holistic Song Saa experience.
Local gardening workshops, art classes and other activities such as snorkeling, marine safari and local village tours are also available for further soul-enriching experience.
Expect to spend at least 50,000 pesos per night at Song Saa.
4. Indigo Pearl, Thailand
A special treat for the ladies
Although lauded for it’s design rather than as a wellness getaway, if you are thinking of spring cleaning your mind and body with your girl friends, we think Indigo Pearl in Phuket, Thailand is just the place to go.
What makes it a dream luxury getaway is its offer called Just for the Ladies, a wellness program designed exclusively for women. For three blissful days, we ladies will be treated to a plush pampering with their Glamorous Beauty Treatment Package, private yoga class and ballet workout. And this goes on until October 2016 so there’s still plenty of time to plan this ultimate wellness retreat.
Plus, you get to experience its famous Coqoon Spa – your custom-made wellness treatment in the uniquely designed tree house rooms called “The Nest.” Then dine on authentic Thai cuisine served in a restaurant floating on a softly-lit lagoon.
Of course, you can’t miss the local attractions in Phuket and nearby areas like watching the monks’ sunrise rituals, visiting Thai temples and touring the local markets.
5. The Farm at San Benito, Philippines
Holistic well-being in a farm setting
For some of us looking for a nearby total transformative experience for the mind, body and soul, look no farther because a piece of heaven awaits you in Batangas, Philippines.
Just a two-hour ride from Manila, you can find The Farm at San Benito, which is a great place to heal and rest with nature. You can choose from The Farm’s wide range of wellness programs, which include anti-aging and rejuvenation, fitness, stress management, detoxification and weight management. Or you can just spend your days here walking through its serene gardens, reading or meditating or yoga-ing by the tranquil ponds and enjoying a detox drink by the Healing Sanctuary’s infinity pool with a grand view of Mount Malarayat.
We suggest you culminate your day at The Farm with one of its signature massages such as the romantic Massage Under the Stars or the traditional Filipino hilot, which incorporates coconut milk, traditional herbs and oils into the massage. Hilot is a healing massage that has been practiced by ancient Filipinos to restore vitality, treat injured or tired muscles and fine-tune the body.
Ready to reward yourself an Asian wellness retreat? . Don’t forget to share with us your awesome snapshots on Instagram! Just tag @health.begins.with.her.ph on Instagram!