Transformative travel, wellness retreats: Which one is right for you?

Wellness retreats are focusing on transformative travel to uplift their quests wellbeing. Source: Aaron Blanco Tejedor/ Unsplash

TRAVEL expectations are shifting this year. The trend of luxury and indulgent travel is being left on the shelves as people look for more fulfilling experiences than simply having poolside bars, the choice of seven onsite restaurants, and a personal butler in their executive suite. 

This year is all about transformative travel, which focuses on emotions through powerful traveling storylines, creating a unique experience that can positively alter your perspective and ensure you head back to your everyday life feeling enlightened.

Part of this new style of transformative travel are wellness retreats – but not like you’ve seen before.

There are already packaged up wellness vacation itineraries out there that promise to leave you feeling “pampered” and “relaxed”, but in a world where we are over-connected on a false level and under-connected to the parts of our life that need attention, being pampered and feeling relaxed might not make the cut.

Transformative travel aims to reconnect you with what is important: ourselves, family, friends, and physical and mental wellbeing. Answering existential questions is the new goal for many people. Through travel that builds bridges, enlightens, and makes us understand our fears, we can learn to surpass our insecurities and lead a better life, while also helping others.

But where do you begin in a saturated market?

The wellness industry is estimated at a whopping US$3.7 trillion, with world travelers contributing USD$691 million through visiting specialist retreats. It can be hard to navigate the endless wellbeing solutions and it goes without saying that not every retreat will be right for you.

So, here are five wellness retreats in Asia that are focused on providing a personal transformative travel experience to enhance your overall quality of life, but each has different styles of doing so.

Mend a broken heart in the Philippines

There is no rule book on mending a broken heart, and if there was, you’d probably want to throw it at the perpetrator anyway.

But the Philippines provides stunning locations to glue the fragmented pieces of your wellbeing back together.

Let The Farm at San Benito remind you how important your wellbeing is and how irrelevant all those who don’t care for you are to your life. The Farm is perhaps one of the most well-known escape dens in the Philippines, and for a good reason. The Farm is set in 49-hectares of lush green forest, surrounded by infinity pools, natural ponds, and like-minded people who are invested in your journey back to your best self.

Forget the heart-breakers and focus on yourself, because only true happiness can come from within.

Gain a spiritual perspective in South India

The Art of Living Ashram retreat can be found near Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Bangalore, Southern India.

Established in 1982, the organization is run by volunteers who aim to bring their teachings to the public in order to relieve stress and vastly improve self-development. The Ashram (a spiritual hermitage) is in the Panchagiri hills, just 36 kilometers southwest of Banglore – far enough for seclusion and self-reflection but close enough to experience the region’s vibrant culture.

The key foundations of the organization will help you to embark on personal initiatives to uplift and enhance your quality of life. “It is full of enthusiasm. As soon as I enter the center, my thoughts become very less and mind becomes very calm,” explained a frequent visitor to the retreat.

“A place where you can feel peace”.

Experience remote reflection in the Himalayas

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Moksha Spa Retreat, in the Himachal Pradesh Himalayan region of India, is versatile, peaceful, and utterly stunning. Located just a five-hour drive from Delhi airport, the retreat is perfect for weekend breaks.

Retreaters can choose from three distinct experiences: Pampering, Wellbeing, or Discovering. If you’re staying for longer than a weekend, then indulge in all three and leave with a positively altered world perspective. The setting of the retreat, reached by a 10-minute cable car, not only promises to let your mind fade out negativity but also to allow you to feel great about your body.

As well as daily Discovery Experiences, the retreat also offers outstanding facilities, including six yoga and meditation pavilions, Turkish Haman, outdoor heated pool, jacuzzi, and spa.

You can leave, safe in the knowledge that the Himalayas will relieve you of your stress and douse you with positivity for your onward journey.

Curate a personal wellbeing journey in Cambodia

Song Saa Private Island‘s retreat integrates a wellness journey and luxury spa to get you feeling top tip.

The no-wall spa concept is made up of little sanctuaries, so you won’t feel like you’re attending an appointment, but rather stepping into a moment of Nirvana and experiencing metta bhavana, the Buddhist tradition of cultivating loving-kindness.

This retreat will bring you innate tranquillity, restore your body’s physical and mental harmony through specialist treatments, and bless your onward journey through the natural positive atmosphere on the island.

Let your physical exploration open your mind in Vietnam

Although Vietnam has embraced the principles of a free-market for more than two decades, allowing the urbanization of luxury brands and chain hotels to enter the country, the true essence of Vietnamese culture and its traditions can be found all around the forest-blanketed nation.

Asia Transpacific Journeys provide travelers with an immersive experience of this history-saturated nation.

With more than 20 years of understanding and knowledge of Vietnam, the tour operator can waltz you through the country’s ancient traditions, let you see the buzzing chaos of the cities from a tranquil perspective, introduce you to residents who will share with you first-hand accounts of recent history, and vividly recall the stories of their ancestors.

The immersive trip doesn’t boast serenity or luxury, but the getaway will take you out of your comfort zone and alter your everyday emotions from stress and annoyance to calm and understanding.