There will come a time when a lavish staycation at a five-star hotel or weekend by the beach just won’t cut out your boss’ voice in your head. Then there’s the incessant emails and panicking intern who texts you with questions every other minute. What follows is inevitable — you give up and start working on your holiday.
‘Me’ time is a commodity that’s even more precious than money to those trapped in the rat race, and being bogged down by work concerns non-stop has proven to have do damage physically and mentally in the long run. A hectic work schedule can make getting some downtime almost impossible, but when you do, make it count with these wellness retreats in Asia.
A dedicated space with a specialised itinerary where you can detoxify your mind, body, soul, and smartphone addiction, these wellness retreats in Asia are becoming popular because of their holistic approach to better living. They don’t earn their title just by providing a pilates class or two; a wholesome combination of nutritious organic meals, sleep amenities, killer views, and instructors are on hand to help you regain sanity again. At the end of it all, we bet you’ll go back to work a whole new person.
To make it one less thing to stress about before you even begin, we’ve rounded up 5 of the best wellness retreats in Asia that you should try.
If hanging around other people isn’t your idea of zen, Soul Sanctuaries will ship you off on an isolated journey to discovering your inner peace. A little-known gem, the Isle East Indies in Java, Indonesia, is one of the few islands which holds claim to being completely secluded. You’ll arrive via a vintage motor sailing yacht to powder-white sand on a deserted beach, where a team of butlers is on standby for your every need. A Soul facilitator is on hand to get your mind and body back on track through meditation and yoga, while you’ll have every meal by the beach. Now all you have to do is give up your mobile phone for the six-night retreat, and you’re on the right track to having the most relaxing trip of your life.
Though known for its luxurious resorts and hotels, wellness is also high on Como Shambhala’s priority list. Its Estate near Ubud, Bali is hailed ‘Retreat for Change’, where resident experts such as a yoga instructor, dietician, and Ayurvedic doctor offer an all-encompassing approach to living well. Expect signature massage treatments and outdoor activities like hiking to work up a sweat — all while you take in the fresh air and incredible views of the jungle-covered gorge. Nutrition is at the forefront of all cuisines prepared by the brand’s flagship residential wellness sanctuary, which goes a long way in rejuvenating the senses.
For something a little more hardcore, fitness equipment brand K08 and Phuket’s Absolute Twin Sands Resort have teamed up for a program that will leave you stronger — both mentally and physically. Available in a one or two week programme, the course is designed to push your body through adrenaline-pumping challenges such as stair runs and a beach bootcamp, while revitalising the mind and body with sound immersion meditation, yoga and lots of massage sessions. Meals are nutritionist-curated and an elephant sanctuary volunteer session is also in the mix, making this an all-rounded retreat that’ll have you forgetting the frenetic city life.
Set serenely on a hillside above the treetops with an unrivalled view of Pamalican Island’s turquoise waters, Aman’s sanctuary in the Philippines is a maze of wooden pavilions that offers plenty of space for activities such as yoga and pilates. The popular Hilot massage is one of its signature treatments, where hot and cold elements are alternated in this ancient healing technique. Meanwhile, cuisine is prepared from ingredients grown in the resort’s organic garden and seasonal seafood by local fishermen.
For something that gives you complete freedom to decide how much you want (or don’t want) to do, the Song Saa Private Island retreat in Cambodia offers you free rein on tailoring your wellness experience. Treatments take place in different locations around the idyllic island, so you can venture around for a taste of the activities. The spa concept centres on stillness, healing and blessings — a programme inspired by the Buddhist practice of cultivating love and kindness. Some of the highlights include a night spa, private yoga and meditation sessions, and traditional Cambodian massages.