One of the great benefits of a holiday abroad is the chance to remove oneself from habitual behavior and circumstances, to take a step back from the hectic pace of one’s everyday life and reflect on bigger-picture notions of health, happiness and well-being. Luxury travel offers unparalleled opportunities for such rejuvenation, and the ability to delve into wellness regimens that might impart lasting lifestyle changes, even upon return to our workaday lives.
Few countries in Asia are more primed to provide a journey of wellness and spirituality than Bhutan, a small Buddhist kingdom, landlocked in the Himalayas, where the country’s wellbeing is measured in Gross National Happiness rather than GNP. Tour Bhutan’s various valleys and receive a spiritual education in the country’s Buddhist heritage, which dates to the 8th century and permeates many aspects of daily life. Hot-stone baths and massages are recreational favorites here, while visitors can also practice their “Zen in the Art of Archery,” which is the country’s national sport.
India has been a beacon for spiritual seekers for ages – witness, for example, the “Fab Four” lads from Liverpool, The Beatles, who in the 1960s shined a global spotlight on the subcontinent’s ancient yogic and meditative practices. Today, India boasts some of the world’s finest wellness retreats for the luxury traveler, such as Ananda in the Himalayas, a remote haven in the north where guests receive personalized wellness regimens; or, pointing the compass south, the 25-acre Shreyas resort outside Bangalore, where the emphasis is on customized yoga programs.
Indonesia is religiously enchanting: the world’s largest Muslim-majority population, the predominantly Hindu enclave of Bali, and arguably the planet’s most impressive Buddhist monument in Borobudur. Remote Lands delights in seeking out sequestered Hindu temples in Ubud, Bali, for the chance to be blessed by local priests, while for the wellness traveler, a place like COMO Shambhala Estate is a destination in its own right.
A trip to Japan opens up a host of opportunities for wellness and spiritual activities. For centuries, locals and visitors alike have sought the restorative powers of onsen, natural hot springs bubbling up throughout the land. A visit to Kyoto can include a ritualized tea ceremony and Zen meditation lesson with an authentic Buddhist monk at a renowned temple. And one of the healthiest aspects of Japan is the cuisine itself – from enlightened kaiseki culinary journeys to shojin ryori, the all-vegetarian cuisine that has leapt from monastery kitchen to Michelin-star cutting board.
Thailand is one of the world’s preeminent spa capitals. The country’s five-star hotels place a high priority on the quality of their spas, while first-class wellness resorts like Chiva-Som in Hua Hin are entirely dedicated “lifestyle transformations” in health and well-being. Centuries ago, from the halls of Wat Pho temple in Bangkok grew the art of Thai massage, which has since been globally exported. And when in the north, Remote Lands recommends a “prolong life” ceremonial blessing with Buddhist monks, an ancient Lanna custom offered to increase happiness, success and longevity.
This is just a selection of the Asia wellness and spirituality experiences Remote Lands can incorporate into your Asia luxury holiday. Please contact us today for more information and to begin planning your trip.