The tropical climate creates a unique and exotic environment that travelers cannot find anywhere other than Southeast Asia.
Picture this – a magnificent villa with a plunge pool nestled amidst lush greenery beside turquoise waters and picturesque valley views, a quiet path leading to ancient temples with stone carvings and intricately carved walls , a long cruise on soothing waters or a refreshing underwater experience amid exotic marine life. Everyone dreams of the occasional luxurious getaway and when paired with nature, your well-deserved break goes even further. And, while there are plenty of lavish and unique experiences around the world, there are some exclusive experiences in Southeast Asia that should be on any traveler’s bucket list looking to unwind.
Wondering what there is to do in Southeast Asia and where to head during this break? Looked.
Here are some of the most exclusive experiences in Southeast Asia for that perfect rejuvenation
Opulent seaside resorts
Buahan, an escape from Banyan Tree, Indonesia
Sixteen villas with private pools overlooking the beautiful valleys of Bali, the havens of luxury are named “Bales”.
In Indonesia, “Bale” refers to a place where people gather. This green sanctuary does just that and more. Bringing people closer to nature, the villas are enveloped in beautiful surroundings and their sustainable approach.
Not only is the stay worth every penny, but the eco-therapy experiences led by local experts, including nature walks, cultural events, and authentic dining experiences, are also worth trying.
Located 700 meters above sea level, one can choose to pass through the serene villages surrounded by the Ayung River and, along the way, pick, smell and taste fresh ingredients for a healthy meal. You can also try your hand at cooking traditional delicacies in their authentic Balinese cuisine and experience the benefits of the various herbs found here.
Book your stay at this adults-only resort here.
Located ten minutes from the entrance to Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this marvelous place served as the home of guests of King Sihanouk. Amansara revives the Khmer architecture of the 1960s.
Offering 12 full-sized suites, you can vacation in comfortable bedrooms, spacious living areas and brightly lit bathing areas. Add to that a private courtyard, a reflection pool, lounge chairs and a plunge pool. Besides an exquisite stay, you can experience the rich Buddhist heritage of Siem Reap as they offer special tours of the largest temple complex in the world. Without forgetting the visit of the floating houses of the Tonlé Sap lake.
To relax between history and spirituality, book your stay at Amansara here.
Located by the peaceful Ayung River, this holistic retreat in Mambal, Bali is one of the best places to align your chakras. Nestled amidst the wilderness, its riverside suites offer panoramic views of the enchanting surroundings, private pools and meditation pavilions. The aesthetic Balinese architecture accentuates the overall healing experience of visitors.
Healing and detoxification techniques through vegetable cuisines are the most chosen. Their website reads: “By integrating raw living foods into our daily lives, we can expect well-being, greater energy and mental clarity, a positive outlook on life, and enlightenment. witty.”
Their spa experience is one of a kind as the healers are blessed with ancient wisdom, passed down from generation to generation. It revolves around their principle called Sekala-Niskala — the concept of two worlds — Sekala meaning “conscious” and Niskala meaning “psychic”.
To soak up the spirituality of this retreat, book your stay here.
TIA Wellness Resort, Vietnam
This wellness retreat located in the Ngu Hanh Son district of Da Nang city in Vietnam has redeveloped as TIA of Fusion Maia, post-lockdown, with the aim of providing enriching experiences for its guests . You can customize your package to suit your needs, including poolside villas with breakfast and relaxing activities such as breathing classes, tai chi and yoga. They also offer private consultations and a wellness expert to guide you.
Focused on channeling “creative energy,” they offer two wellness therapies each night as part of their three-night, four-day program. According to their official website, “TIA is redefining the spa experience by integrating holistic wellness into every stay through treatments, educational and wellness activities designed to elevate creativity and meaning in life.”
For that perfect healing experience, book your stay here.
Adventures for adrenaline junkies
Notice to water sports enthusiasts! If the very idea of swimming alongside turtles, barracudas and manta rays excites you, you probably love the scuba diving and snorkeling experiences. This makes Southeast Asia the perfect place to satisfy that part of yourself.
Known for their green sea turtles and blacktip reef sharks, the Perhentian Islands in Malaysia offer one of the best diving experiences. Don’t worry, these sharks don’t usually bite humans. You can reach Sultan Mahmud Airport (Kuala Terengganu) and take a ferry to Pulau Perhentian.
To experience the varied marine life up close, you can also snorkel in the waters around Phu Quoc in Vietnam. It is known for a vegetarian mammal called a dugong, also known as a “sea cow”. Who knows, you might also have the chance to swim with them. You can easily fly into Phu Quoc International Airport and head to the various groups of islands that belong to the An Thoi archipelago.
Other places to have one of the best underwater experiences are Koh Rong in Cambodia, Moal Boal in the Philippines, Komodo National Park in Indonesia, and Ko Tao in Thailand.
For lovers of peace and quiet, a refreshing hike through rainforests while exploring flora and fauna and admiring gushing waterfalls along the trail is one of the best ways to unwind. You can also climb majestic mountains, but that’s for seasoned hikers.
Spread over 100,000 acres, Taman Negara in Malaysia is one of the oldest rainforests in the world. If you are lucky you may spot the rare Asian elephant and Malayan tiger as well as many tropical birds. You can also explore the intriguing limestone caves. Reach the place by sea and sail for a week, or better yet, charter a private luxury yacht.
Comparatively shorter than the previous one, a five-hour trek in Laos in the province of Oudomxay is one of the best to discover the culture of the hill tribes. On an easy day trip from Muang La, you can learn more about their local beliefs and traditions and visit the reclining Buddha statue deep in the forest.
Other fun hikes in Southeast Asia include Mount Batur in Bali, Pu Chi Fa Mountains in Thailand, Kalaw in Inle Lake in Myanmar, and Mount Kinabalu in Borneo.
Luxury cruises and yacht charters
Malaysia is one of those places in Southeast Asia that can best be experienced via yacht charter. You can explore the Virgin Islands in either of its two regions – Peninsular Malaysia (or West Malaysia) and East Malaysia with some of the best yacht charter services including Platinum Charters, Globe Sailor and Simpson Yacht Charter.
Alternatively, you can plan a cruise vacation with your family and friends and head straight to one of the most beautiful islands, Penang, known for its rich cultural heritage, such as St. George’s, the oldest Anglican church in Asia from the South East. Moreover, you can walk the nature trails of the bird sanctuary or climb the Penang hill.
RoyalCaribbean International offers some of the best cruise packages for Penang and other nearby areas, which are definitely worth trying.
Temples, islands, exotic restaurants and bars, if there is one place to find it all, it is Thailand. Some of the best destinations to explore around Thailand include Langkawi, Tioman Island, Koh Samui and Phú Quốc. And these can be easily reached by luxury yacht charters. Some of the best services are provided by Blue Voyage, Blue Lagoon Yachting and Oceans Elite.
RoyalCaribbean International also offers fun Thai packages, and you can find out more about that here. Whether you want to immerse yourself in spirituality or jump straight into a shopping spree in Chiang Mai, these packages cover it all.
Private Food Tour
We’ve all heard of the usual food walks, but A Luxury Gourmet Experience by Wok ‘n’ Stroll is one of a kind in Singapore.
If you’re a foodie and want to learn more about the best chefs and restaurants on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, you should definitely find out more about this luxury food tour here and make your reservations accordingly . Savor unique taste delights on your luxury getaway and get insightful tips for your next cooking session.
Private Helicopter Tour
If you plan to surprise your loved one with a bird’s eye view of their favorite destination, a private helicopter tour might be a good idea. And one of the best places to do it is Bangkok.
You’ll enjoy panoramic views of the skyline or other iconic landmarks such as the Chao Phraya River, accompanied by insightful insights from your pilot and guide. You can also customize your helicopter tour based on your choice of destination.
A tour typically includes hotel pickup and drop-off, a 30-minute drive around your chosen site, landing fees, taxes, and flight fees.
(Main picture: Courtesy of Buahan, A Banyan Tree Escape; Featured Image: Courtesy of Amansara)
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Malaysia.