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50 Top Wellness Destinations: Asia Text by Husna Haq Photo by Palani Mohan
The Wat Po temple is Bangkok's oldest and largest Buddhist temple.
Jiuhua Spa & Resort (China) The Spa: Once the imperial resort of Yuan Dynasty emperors, this government-owned health resort continues to offer traditional Chinese treatments in modern facilities in the heart of Beijing. Treatments: Traditional Chinese medicine doctors treat modern maladies with centuries-old treatments including acupuncture, herbal baths, massage, and hot spring therapy. Local Sights: Beijing beckons with world-class shopping, eating, and sightseeing.
Ashiyana Tropical Retreat Center (India) The Spa: Guests at this tranquil yoga retreat stay in open-air ecolodges and treehouses in the lush tropical gardens skirting Mandrem Beach. Treatments: Experienced instructors lead a variety of yoga classes, including Hatha and Ashtanga. Satsang, a meditation exercise in introspection, is a specialty. Local Sights: Stay a few extra days to check out Goa's world-renowned beaches and famed Portuguese-style architecture.
Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort (India) The Spa: Thirty villas dot the manicured grounds of this Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala. Treatments: A range of traditional spiritual exercises—palmistry, astrology, yoga, meditation, and other health rituals—will help you achieve physical and spiritual harmony. Local Sights: Visit Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, or head to Guruvayar temple, one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Kerala.
Begawan Giri Estate (Indonesia) The Spa: Wooden platforms and stone pools situated on 20 acres of lush gardens overlooking rice paddies and the Ayung River make up this outdoor Balinese-Eden-cum-retreat. Treatments: Try massage (taksu, Balinese, Thai, Reiki, reflexology), body treatments (Javanese, Balinese, volcanic clay, ginger, honey), or mind-body exercise (yoga, Pilates, Qigong). Local Sights: Bike, hike, and climb to your heart's content in surrounding mountains.
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia 80571 Tel. +62 361 978 888
Suginoi Hotel (Japan) The Spa: Located between Mount Tsurumi and Beppu Bay, Suginoi Hotel is worth a visit for the view alone. Treatments: Enjoy a soak with a view in an outdoor bath complex overlooking the bay. Also try the barrel baths, natural wood saunas, and utaseyu, a tension-releasing stream of hot water. Local Sights: The "eight hells," Beppu's volcanic pits of boiling water and mud, draw thousands of visitors.
Shivapuri Village (Nepal) The Spa: The Buddha himself was rumored to have meditated near this retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas, 6,560 feet above sea level. Treatments: Practice meditation, yoga, and spiritual exercises with fellow enthusiasts in a breathtaking Himalayan setting. Local Sights: Support Nepal's budding ecotourism industry with a visit to Shivapuri National Park, a 38-square-mile reserve that's home to sloth bears, leopards, wild boar, and 150 species of butterflies.
Patiswara, Nepal (15 miles north of Kathmandu) Tel. +977 1 4371725; +44 1 344893846 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sribudhasa Paradise Island Ayurveda Resort (Sri Lanka) The Spa: Twenty-five bungalows are scattered about this tropical seaside Ayurvedic retreat. Treatments: Ayurvedic physicians offer shirodhara, a treatment for headaches and insomnia; pinda sweda, a warm oil and herbal massage; and vashpa aggrahanaya, an herbal inhalation; and yoga, meditation, and ayurvedic workshops. Local Sights: Coastal Bentota abounds with waterside attractions. Try a river cruise or fishing and boating trips.
Sri Budhasa CH-4055 Basel, Sri Lanka (40 miles south of Colombo) Tel. +41 61 3030890 (German speakers only) email@example.com
Rayavadee Hotel and Spa (Thailand) The Spa: Guest suites stud 26 acres of tropical gardens overlooking the Andaman Sea at Rayavadee. Treatments: Spring for a Thai Boran massage, a body stretching exercise that aligns energy flow, or sample a collection of wraps, facials, and scrubs with traditional Thai herbs. Local Sights: Cruise to nearby islands Phi Phi, Poda, Gai, and Phuket to snorkel over coral reefs or canoe over mangrove swamps.
Chi Spa at Pudong Shangri-La (China) The Spa: Terra-cotta walls, wood screens, and plush Asian rugs cocoon spa guests at this glamorous, glass-walled hotel in bustling Shanghai. Treatments: Therapists determine your Chinese element (metal, fire, wood, water, or earth), then offer appropriate treatments like Himalayan healing stone massage, tsampa (barley flour) rub, or lotus milk bath. Local Sights: Shanghai doesn't disappoint—check out the "Air Whirling Restaurant" atop the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower, the classical Chinese Yuyuan Garden, or the popular Bund tourist area.
33 Fu Cheng Road, Pudong Shanghai 200120, China Tel. +86 21 5877 1503 (spa); +86 21 6882 8888 (hotel) firstname.lastname@example.org
Wat Po Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School (Thailand) The Spa: Thailand's first Thai massage school, now newly renovated, has drawn many students since it opened in 1950—along with guests eager for a firm kneading. Treatments: Try traditional Thai massage (an ancient method involving stretching, rocking, and acupressure), reflexology-inspired foot massage, oil massage, and aromatherapy. Local Sights: Wander the grounds of Wat Pho, Bangkok's oldest and largest Buddhist temple complex, then explore the many wonders of Bangkok itself.
Wat Pho Temple 2 Sanamchai Rd. Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand Tel. +66 2 221 2974 or +66 2 225 4771
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