5 Asian wellness retreats you didn’t think you’d be able to go to in 2022
A trip to Asia may seem like it’s off the cards for 2022, but it doesn’t have to be. The doors are beginning to open for international travellers, without requiring quarantine.
Of course, we all know and love the merits of alpine and island retreats in Europe. But two years of doing downward dog in our living rooms has stirred up enough wanderlust to reap the health benefits of a wellness retreat further afield.
Asia is calling out our name with its holistic rituals, Ayurveda, and striking scenery. So where should you go? And how easily can you get there in terms of Covid restrictions?
1. Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
Best for: authentic Ayurveda treatment
Simple airy rooms, sprawling greenery, and hot climes. Barberyn Ayurveda Resorts have been designed for visitors to benefit from the positive energy that mother nature has to offer. Barberyn Reef is sat on the water’s edge of Beruwala’s coastline. There’s no need for relaxation playlists here, as you’ll be unwinding against a backdrop of crashing waves.
It’s fitting for a resort based around Ayurveda – an ancient Indian approach to medicine that focuses on balancing energies, to harmonise mind, body, and soul. It aims to strengthen your immune system (Shodana Chikitsa) and treat existing ailments (Shamana Chikitsa). You’ll be allocated a doctor who will prescribe you a tailored Ayurveda programme at the beginning of your stay. Your treatment will consist of holistic medicine, yoga, and a specialised diet.
The retreat is also grounded in Buddhism, and you’ll have the opportunity to make an offering to Buddha Puja in the shrine room, take part in meditation sessions, and attend talks by local monks.
Getting there: No quarantine. Unvaccinated travellers must do a PCR test before setting off.
2. Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand
Best for: achieving specific wellness goals
A tropical jungle hilltop overlooking Koh Samui’s southern bay. Kamalaya offers some tremendous scenery for those treated in the resort’s discreet but outdoor healing areas. Bedrooms fitted with Scandinavian minimalist architecture and embellished with ornate Thai designs reflect the retreat’s mixed methodology of Eastern and Western medicine.
Kamalaya’s ethos revolves around achieving wellness goals and as a result it’s cast its net wide when it comes to treatment styles. The resort has multiple packages ranging from three to 21 nights. Each package concentrates on a different goal such as detoxing, sleep enhancement, and immunity, but judging by reviews it seems to be particularly popular for weight loss and stress management. If this isn’t enough, they also offer tailor-made packages and online consultations to guide you in the right direction.
As Kamalaya boasts such a range of treatments it’s the perfect place if you’re wanting to explore various types of medicine, from Western and traditional Chinese to Naturopathy, Ayurveda, and Homeopathy.
Getting there: No quarantine as Kamalaya is in the Koh Samui travel sandbox.
3. Six Senses Laamu, Olhuveli Island, Maldives
Best for: high-tech health analysis and a taste of luxury
Perched on a coral atoll in the Indian Ocean’s clear blue waters. Six Senses Laamu is certainly a destination for those looking to recover at the height of luxury (take note, those of you who’ve been saving up for a big splash out).
Six Senses combines ancient practices with cutting-edge science. Like many Asian retreats, it practices Ayurveda, with a strong focus on diet, sleep, yoga, and high-touch treatments. Yet Six Senses also uses non-invasive tech to measure key bio-markets so medical experts can create an accurate treatment plan for you. You’ll receive these treatments in one of the numerous giant upturned nests planted around the island.
The resort spans the whole of Olhuveli Island – who doesn’t love a taste of private island living? So you may as well go all out with one of their luxury facials which include ingredients like 24k gold, diamonds, and rose crystals.
Getting there: No quarantine, just PCR tests.
4. Ambong Ambong, Langkawi, Malaysia
Best for: seclusion in a smaller jungle retreat
Quiet boutique retreat nestled among a tropical jungle. The sound of macaque monkeys and giant hornbill birds will replace the sound of your morning alarm clock at Ambong Ambong. This small retreat is quite literally sat in the middle of a rainforest, with balconies offering a bird’s eye view from the treetops.
Ambong Ambong concentrates on holistic treatments with natural ingredients, many of which are inspired by indigenous Malaysian legends. Try the Ahimsa, Vïrya, or Śãnti massage to experience some of the ancestral techniques the retreat has on offer.
Ambong Ambong is an ideal choice for foodies. Cooking is part of its therapy and Northern Malay cooking classes are offered with most of the organic herbs and spices used coming from the retreat’s very own garden. It really makes there no reason to leave the grounds. However, if you’re curious to venture across the archipelago, the retreat does run excursions to sea safaris, the limestone rock formations, and the mangrove forest.
Getting there: No quarantine as Ambong Ambong is in the Langkawi sandbox.
5. Nirjhara, Tabanan, Bali
Best for: sustainable wellness and activities among nature
Tucked next to rice paddy fields, with cascading waterfalls, and a wooden aesthetic. Nirjhara’s sustainability focus is a nice touch. Treatments use all-natural products sourced from the local area. Its practices stay fairly true to its cultural roots by using a mixture of traditional Balinese techniques and Reiki healing.
Of course, yoga is also an intrinsic part of wellness holidays, and Nirjhara is no different. You can either have sessions in their bamboo Yoga Shala or have a private lesson on your balcony.
Nirjhara has elevated its natural surroundings rather than imposed itself upon them. It offers plenty of opportunities to soak up the positive energy of the outdoors through morning surfing, bike rides through the rice paddies, and a gander through the hills of Tabanan.
The retreat is pretty new to the scene – it only opened up in January last year – so it’s the place to go if you’re looking for somewhere fairly undiscovered. There hasn’t been a lot of demand to travel to Bali since it reopened its borders, so if you’re particularly covid-conscious but want to travel to Asia, this option could offer you the seclusion needed to put your mind at ease.
Getting there: No quarantine, just PCR tests.