5 amazing holistic healing retreats in Asia

Over the last year, we’ve seen our physical and emotional selves suffer. We were isolated from family and friends, lost our health and wellness routines, and our grounding in life. As we begin to think about future travel adventures, how can we address the healing process and destress at the same time?

Asia offers the perfect blend of stunning scenery, gorgeous healing climates to top up on vitamin D, and a wonderful array of holistic healing opportunities. Whether you’re searching for a tropical holiday in the sun with some yoga and complementary medicine on the side or are looking for all-inclusive health and wellness retreat, here are five of the best on offer:

COMO Shambhala Estate in Ubud, Bali

COMO Shambhala Estate is a stunning tropical estate complete with traditional Indonesian residences and modern private villas. Dubbed a ‘Retreat for Change’, it is dedicated to holistic health and wellness. This jungle sanctuary is approximately one hour from Bali’s International Airport and takes you miles away from the bright lights of the south. Hiking and climbing are perfect outdoor activities here, but there’s also a air-conditioned gym and luxury spa. For those who want to take a deep dive into self-care, they offer integrated wellness programmes focusing on detox, fitness, ancient Ayurveda, and nutritional wellness. If that doesn’t sound like you, we can easily tailor something bespoke to address health and emotional issues. The aim is to leave with your well-being elevated and a toolbox of tips to help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand

Amanpuri is a luxury secret hideaways by the sea in Phuket. Nestled against a gorgeous sandy beach, its traditional Thai pavilions are scattered across a gentle hillside. Aman junkies have long extolled the virtues of staying at an Aman resort; from exemplary service to their ability to cater to all. In recent years, Amanpuri launched its Holistic Wellness Centre to offer bespoke treatments, immersions and personalised fitness programmes. They blend the ancient healing arts of Thailand with global therapeutic practices for overall wellbeing. One of the great things about this type of retreat is that you can immerse yourself as much or as little as you desire. If you’re travelling with your family and have the kids in tow, they are welcome at the resort, which is rare in wellness. The kid’s activities will keep them occupied while you enjoy a spa treatment. Not a purist retreat, if you want enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, you won’t feel out of place. Lasting three nights or more, wellness immersions are designed to detox, achieve ideal weight, address hormonal imbalance, and increase fitness. You can learn Muay Thai by the sea, yoga and Pilates, and mindfulness techniques. Nutritional plans help you to stay on track and the spa therapies are thoroughly relaxing. Complimentary healing therapies include craniosacral therapy, reconnective healing, and Reiki.

Vana Retreat in Dehradun, India

Vana is a spiritual retreat within the beautiful Malsi Estate in Dehradun, India. Launched for those seeking equilibrium in mind, body, and soul, its contemporary architecture and surrounding forest exude peace. The wellness offering is based on the ancient principles of Ayurveda, Yoga and Sowa Rigpa. Vana is one of the few places in the world able to offer this Tibetan system of medicine with its roots in Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and Buddhism. Guests are referred to as ‘Vanavasis’ as they leave the stresses of the world behind and enter the retreat. The aim is to rest, discover a better state of health, develop self-awareness, eat well, find stillness, and be at one with nature.

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary in Paro, Bhutan

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary is located in the beautiful Neyphu valley in Paro, only a short, twenty-minute drive from the International Airport. Amazingly, it’s Bhutan’s only five-star, all-inclusive traditional spa resort. Health and wellness are delivered on-tap, with a traditional Bhutanese medicine doctor on-site, hot stone herbal baths, full-body massages, and yoga and meditation classes. The famed Tiger’s Nest Monastery is only 45 minutes away and the capital Thimphu is also easily reached within an hour. With close connections to the Buddhist community, you can witness spiritual rituals and visit ancient monasteries. Food at the resort is farm-to-table and there is a wonderfully large table to gather around and swop stories in the evening.

Amanemu in Ise-Shima National Park, Japan

 Amanemu is a ryokan-inspired onsen resort close to Ago Bay in Ise-Shima National Park. Guests are invited to bask in mineral-rich hot springs and walk ancient pilgrim trails. The 2,000-square-metre spa embraces Japan’s long-held belief in the restorative power of water. The onsen pools are surrounded by daybeds and are fed by a nearby hot spring with water that is naturally rich in healing minerals. Mineral-rich spa baths offer restorative healing alongside herbal treatments, private fitness and specialist therapy sessions, spa treatments, and nutritional meals. Ise-Shima  National Park is great for hiking, with sacred Shinto shrines. The bay itself is home to a community of pearl fishers and female free divers called the ama.

It is becoming increasingly important to focus on the health benefits of future travel. Asia wellness sanctuaries having been welcoming weary souls for a while now, and are set to open their doors soon once again to relax, renew, and heal.

Joanne McFarlane is the Founder and Managing Director of Soul Sanctuaries. Soul Sanctuaries is a luxury wellness travel company specialising in tailormade healthy holidays and bespoke spiritual retreats across Asia.

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Comments (13)

  1. Sian Williams says:

    We’ve all had our own experiences of the pandemic. One of my friends has really thrived after being made redundant and starting her own business working from home. At the end of the day others have mentally struggled and really are in need of some time away and healing. Another friend’s relationship disintegrated and I can see her benefiting from getting away from everything.

    • Hi Sian,

      Thanks so much for your input; I agree that each experience of the pandemic has its own individual challenges. Helping each other to heal and reconnect in even the smallest ways is so important moving forwards.

      In Gratitude


  2. Chris says:

    Bhutan is definitely on my travel wish list. From what I’ve read and seen on TV it has a serene spirituality that is hard to find anywhere else.

    • Hi Chris,

      Sheltered from foreign influences and without tourism until 1974, Bhutan holds an ancient charm and still restricts the number of visitors. It’s definitely one for the spiritual travel bucket list!

      Warm Wishes


  3. Jess says:

    I’d take any one of these. Any tropical back-drop will do me, especially if it comes with some stress-free chill out time.

  4. Hi Jess,

    I’m hearing you and I’m mentally on the plane now!

    Happy future travels


  5. Zoe says:

    I’m beginning to read the posts on ALTB with a little more hope now, I’m beginning to believe that I may actually set foot on a plane and fly somewhere in 2021!

    I’ve got to admit that at the worst times in 2020 I gave up dropping into ALTB. There were too many virtual tours and I was already spending too much of my life drifting round cyberspace.

  6. Hi Zoe,

    I’m hearing you; we tried to lift our spirits but nothing beats the feeling of flying off somewhere new!

    Happy future travels


  7. Joydeep says:

    Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary sounds exciting. However, you should also try out the stone bath there in the Bhutanese farmhouse spa. Sikkim in India has some good retreats too. I hope the pandemic gets over very soon and we all can travel.

  8. Peter Ryan says:

    Bali has been one of those paradise places that I’ve longed to visit. To combine it with healing and wellness would be so good.

  9. Hi Peter,

    I lived in Bali for 12 years and can say hand on heart that it’s one of the most healing places on the planet.

    Happy future travels


  10. Abel Barnett says:

    If you want to have a really relaxing vacation that is full of serenity, then I recommend visiting these countries in Asia. I have visited most of the countries in South East Asia and their vibe is very similar. Great beaches, accommodations, people, and especially food, Asian food is the best!

  11. Hi Abel,

    Asian food is amazing and usually super healthy too. I can’t wait to visit South East Asia again.

    Happy future travels


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