Can you imagine yourself practicing Yoga surrounded by mindful people with the wind in your hair, sun on your skin and the smell of fresh ocean air in your nose? If this is your dream yoga practice setting, you need to visit any of the wonderful destinations in South East Asia. Traveling to retreats or just staying in a country with a long history of yoga, meditation and mindfulness will certainly allow you to find your peace while exploring new parts of the world and meeting amazing new people. This is South East Asia for you!
If this Zen teaser caught your attention and you want to start planning your trip to South East Asia for a refreshing and rejuvenating vacation, choose any of the following destinations and you won’t regret your decision. From India to Borneo, you’ll come across amazing beaches, wonderful nature and peaceful atmosphere perfect for any yogi who wants to Zen out. So, here’s a little guide through best travel destinations for all yogis traveling in South East Asia.
No yoga list can start without the cradle of yoga, beautiful India. This is truly an ideal destination for all people who want to practice yoga, recuperate and relax in a wonderful setting. If you’re new to the scene, Goa is a great way to start. This is where most yoga retreats are located and they work full-speed almost all year round. Goa is truly a perfect place to practice yoga, but also explore its history and learn about the role it plays in people’s life. While Goa is also an ultimate party destination, it’s wellness where this western state excels.
Goa truly has everything a yogi might want: peaceful and sun-bathed beaches, mesmerizing landscapes and the perfect weather for any sort of relaxing activities. From yoga exercises and wellness programs to detox courses, you can truly get an all-inclusive treatment! Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some of the best vegetarian food that will make it hard to go back to your home country’s cooking.
Another yoga destination in India that will welcome you with both arms open is Kerala. Kerala—surrounded by lush coconut palm trees that shelter every local and every traveler from the merciless sun. Kerala—with coasts spackled with colorful houseboats that glide over the calm sea. Kerala—heaven for all those who seek peace, quiet and relaxation. It’s an understatement to say that this is one of the best yoga destinations in the world where you can find many retreats, wellness centers and studios that will boost your yoga skills and teach you how to live a mindful and grateful life.
The Island of Gods, Bali is a true yogi Mecca that will not only shower you with natural beauties but also allow you to dive deeper into the practice of yoga. Even though relatively small, for many years this island has been welcoming people looking for wonderful yoga retreats, postcard-perfect beaches and the weather that heals both body and soul. Just like any yoga Mecca, Bali is full of yoga centers and yoga schools that will send you to Nirvana and back while you learn about the world and yourself. Many best places for yogis are surrounded by towering palm trees, lively rivers and wild waterfalls which provides people with the almost perfect atmosphere to practice yoga or meditation. While most people come to Bali to enjoy its wonderful beaches, you can take a different turn and spend a week exploring mystical temples. Some of the most beautiful and memorable temples in the world are located right on this little island. Famous Besakih temple, Tirta water temple and Uluwatu Temple (known for traditional Kecak dance ceremonies) are free to explore and seek guidance and blessings.
While Singapore is not really your traditional yoga destination (being a bustling city and all) it can still provide you with a wonderfully relaxing vacation. Getting downtime is not only possible but also very rewarding—you’ll soon forget you’re surrounded by millions of people! While some yoga lovers seek peace in nature, others prefer to reach Zen while being pampered in luxury and that’s what Singapore does best.
If you want to experience the ultimate big city relaxation, you must choose a high-class hotel in Singapore that will shower you with luxuries from the moment you step into it to the moment you leave for home. Best hotels usually offer complimentary yoga classes as well as other fitness and recreational activities in their facilities. Some also have wonderful swimming pools where you can relax among the skyscrapers and exercise both your mind and body.
If you’re looking for something to do outside the city, you can hit Bukit Timah—an interesting bunch of twisting roads and buildings spackled with little tranquil spots. You can hike up Bukit Timah Hill in the morning, explore the forests of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and have a picnic at the top. You can finish your perfect day of activity with a relaxing yoga session with a wonderful view. There are really not many things that can compare with this adventure.
Punggol is another great Singapore destination that will provide you with a fun day, no matter if you’re a seasoned yogi, a mindful lover or just a person wanting some outdoor physical activity. It’s a bit further away from the city center, but it’s worth a visit. Just make sure to go there while hungry! Expect to come across many eateries that serve top-notch vegetarian food and all sorts of tasty bites. Being a devoted yogi doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy any other classic tourist activity like checking out restaurants or shopping!
If you’re a nature lover, Thailand is a destination for you! It’s full of beautiful beaches and breathtaking landscapes that will gently lull you into your meditation trance or put you in the right frame of mind of yoga. The spiritual culture is very strong here and can be felt at every corner of the country which will only enhance your yoga experience. There’s truly a wide variety of yoga retreats, studios and workshops that are open all year round and welcoming people all over the world. Mediation programs, natural healing workshops and Ayurvedic medicine classes are also available and numerous. But, you can also get some of the best massage experiences in Thailand. All in all, expect a life-changing experience that will rejuvenate your soul, help you examine your attitudes and emotions and heal your body.
Where to stay in Thailand? Ko Phangan might be the ultimate party destination, but if you venture to the north of the island, you’ll find yourself in literal yogi heaven. For years, the spiritual vibe of the island has made Ko Phangan into a favorite destination for yoga lovers who love to perform their asanas with a view of wonderful beaches and blissful ocean.
This island is still not a super popular yoga destination and it’s pretty new on the yogi scene. But, it’s up-and-coming for many years and since it recently received a spot on the “Top Travel Destinations” list, it’s soon going to explode with tourism. Already, the number of visitors has doubled in the last ten years. However, you can still explore the country without hitting horrible crowds and visiting yoga studios without risking getting an elbow in the face.
Many places, especially those along the south coast, allow people to drop in and enjoy yoga and meditation classes. But, you can also hit any of the retreats in the mountains near Kandy and do your asanas in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
What Sri Lanka is known for are its huge palm trees, sleepy beaches and cute coastal villages. While this island is perfect for yoga practices of any kind, you can also enjoy other activities like surfing. They might seem very different at first glance, but yoga and surfing have so much in common. Surfers can benefit from yoga and vice versa thanks to their balance and core exercises. So, if you never even though of surfing before (either to have fun or improve your yoga skills) Sri Lanka is a perfect place to learn with its gentle waves, warm waters and uncrowded beaches.
If you start your hike to the top of Mount Kinabalu (South East Asia’s tallest peak) somewhere in the evening, by the time you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with something you’ll never forget. A spectacular sunrise will hit you just as you make your few final steps and warm sunshine will shower your face and the magnificent landscape around you. Now just imagine performing some yoga or meditation in a location like that—it’s truly amazing.
Aside from its natural beauties, Borneo also has great retreats that offer ultimate relaxation and daily yoga, meditation and massage session that will revitalize you head to toe. With their many spa offers including ancient healing traditions, natural products and fresh ingredients, you will achieve balance in a very sustainable and eco-friendly way. Like Sri Lanka, Borneo is not overcrowed with tourists, so it’s a perfect destination of those craving for peace, solitude and quiet.
South East Asia is bursting with spirituality and Zen energy, so if you want to get the taste of its vibe, make sure to grab tickets to one of these aforementioned destinations and you’ll surely come back home a better and more experienced yogi!