Taking a break from your travels to enjoy a spa break can be the highlight of any trip around the world. The quality of spa resorts in many regions of Asia and Oceania is truly exceptional, with spa packages offering treatments found nowhere else in the world.
If you appreciate the benefits of a truly good pampering, you will rejoice in the tranquil calm of spa days at these unique resorts. Factor just one of them into your holiday or traveling excursion and experience first hand the remarkable expertise of some of the world’s best practitioners of massage, beauty treatments and relaxation techniques.
Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, Fiji
Managed by the Hilton hotel group, the Fiji Beach Resort and Spa is one of the world’s most exclusive and unique places to spend a relaxing vacation. Located on Denarau Island and spread over 1.5 kilometres of idyllic beachfront, the resort offers world class spa days in a setting that will take your breath away. Unique experiences such as the tropical beach Massage Bure have helped the resort win nominations for two Pervonia Asia Pacific awards, and the resort’s spa manager Lauren Hudson will make sure that your visit to the spa exceeds all your expectations.
Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa, New Zealand
Just north of Auckland on New Zealand’s North Island, the Waiwera Thermal Resort and Spa attracts over 350,000 visitors each year. For over 100 years, the resort has been welcoming travellers to the invigorating warmth of its natural thermal pools, and in 2011 a visit to Waiwera offers a whole host of unique experiences, such as being able to watch your favourite films in the Movie Pool.
The spa offers a wide range of beauty treatments, theraputic massages and acupuncture healing sessions, all within a resort that has an other-worldly feel to it. Waiwera is a great place for people traveling with children, with its many fun pools and water slides.
Chiva-Som Resort and Spa, Thailand
Nestled amid seven acres of lush tropical gardens, the beachfront resort of Chiva-Som in Hua Hin on the gulf of Thailand is one of the world’s best-loved spas. The gleaming array of awards that adorn the entrance to the resort tell their own story, while the standard of accommodation, food and facilities at this world-renowned relaxation centre is peerless. The spa includes experiences such as a kinesis studio, private watsu pools, kneipp baths and holistic health treatments. The spa cuisine, like everything else at Chiva-Som, has won numerous awards for providing guests with a sensational, cleansing diet during their stay.
Kusatsu Onsen Hot Sptin and Spa, Japan
Two hours from Tokyo, in Gunma prefecture, Kusatsu Onsen attracts 3 million visitors to its naturally-cooled spring waters every year. Japan boasts more natural hot springs than any other country in the world and treats them with reverential respect, protecting the purity of the water to ensure that the bathing experience is physically and spiritually enriching. ‘Spring quality first’ is the motto of the resort, which claims: “The theraputic benefits of Kusatsu’s water are so high, the traditional Kusatsu folk song praises it as able to ‘cure everything but love sickness’.” As well as hot spring bathing, Kusatsu offers truly unique accommodation and cuisine – this place has to be visited to be appreciated.
The Zuri Kumarakom, Kerala Resort and Spa, India
Dubbed ‘God’s own Spa’, the Maya Spa the Zuri Kumarakom aims to help its guests achieve the full potential of their body and mind. The spa won the award for Best Resort Spa in India in 2007 and 2008 and continues to wow its guests with therapies and treatments like Ayurveda, hydrotherapy, solar therapies, Swedish and Thai massages, Sabai stone therapy and a range of steam rooms, saunas and pools. Food and accommodation at the resort is among some of the finest in the region, offering luxurious lodgings and dining against a backdrop of emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves.
If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best travel ideas and car rental information in the region of Asia, such as this list of must-try Malaysian foods.
Feel-good therapies and natural healing are the lifestyle mantras of the new millennium. Thailand leads the way in this regard, reviving many of its ancient techniques and treatments that have been handed down from one generation of women to the next.
Thai massage and meditation are amongst some of the best in the world, with a full range of services from full beauty treatments, facials, relaxing baths and scrubs, healthy tonics and much more. Plenty of the following Thai Spa traditions have been incorporated into various therapeutic services throughout the world. Their roots can be traced back to the ancient medical knowledge that made their way from India through Buddhist monks.?
Herbal Steam Treatments
Thai Herbal Steam is one of the best known of the traditional therapies, tracing its roots back to ancient times. Different healers have formulated specialized treatments to cure various health conditions, but one common after-effect is the fantastic therapeutic effects on your body. Step into a dreamy, misty room and simply lie back and let the steam vapors do their job. For total indulgence combine your herbal steam with a massage – the heat from the steam relaxes your muscles in preparation for a thorough stretch by the masseur!
The folks at the popular Tamarind Retreat Steam Bath on the island of Koh Samui claim that their steam treatment aids respiration, relieves sinusitis, bronchial asthma and stimulates circulation. Guests can enjoy alternating bouts of warmth in the steam room and cooling dips in their plunge pool. Tamarind leaves are one of the key ingredients in their herbal steam, with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, beach morning glory and many other ingredients completing the set.
Herbal Heat Compress
The origins of the Thai Herbal heat compress are obscure, but they are known to be popular since 200 years ago, and can also be found in neighboring Burma, Cambodia and Laos. The round cotton bundles contains herbal mixtures that vary from region to region, each with their local plants and herbs. These herbal compresses are now packaged and sold commercially in Bangkok, or you can simply create your own with various combinations of herbs.
Called prakopin Thai, the herbal compress has made their way into modern spa treatments all over the world, with varying combinations of ingredients. Generally, there are several standard ingredients that can be found inside these herbal compresses, each with their own medical benefits – lemongrass helps clear up the skin; turmeric helps soothe and cleanse irritated skin; prai ginger is a natural moisturizer; and kaffir lime help to tone the skin. These herbal compresses are excellent to soothe sore and aching muscles.
To enjoy these refreshing spa treatments to the fullest, you need to find an appropriate setting, one of peace, quiet and relaxation. While it is true that many places in southern Thailand are overcrowded, it is still possible to find a secluded hideaway for some rest and relaxation – check out our top tips for peace and quiet in South Thailand!
Thai herbal practitioners have long recognized that the application of heat on the skin enhances the healing effects of herbs. Hence, modern day spas have adapted this concept to create the Thai herbal body wrap. As the body lies in herbal wrap, the combination of heat and herbs takes effect. The heat helps open the pores, allowing for better absorption of the ingredients into the skin, and the herbal wrap works to detoxify, moisturize and soften the skin.
Just like other traditional treatments, various herbs combination are used for differing therapeutic benefits. Some of the more common ingredients are – Thai white mud, to help draw out impurities and heal wounds; mint, as antiseptic and antibacterial; tamarind, which contains vitamin C and calcium; honey, to heal and moisturize the skin; and milk, to soften the skin.
Thai Floral Fragrances
The tradition of using floral garlands is deeply rooted in Thai culture, a delicate art that has been passed down throughout the generations. Part of every Thai girl’s education consisted of patiently stripping petals from bunches of freshly cut flowers and learning how to make an exquisite garland from them. Jasmine is the main flower used in garlands, with champak, red roses and purple orchids added for visual effects as well as layers of subtle aroma. These favored flowers of Thailand are often used in contemporary spa treatments to add layers of relaxation for the guests.
If you are planning a visit to Asia, don’t forget to check out Unearthing Asia, the best Asia travel portal focusing on Lifestyle, Culture and Attractions all over Asia. We have got some of the best late hol deals and inspirations in the region of Asia, such as this list of Singapore’s best romantic views.
The hilly town of Bandung, not more than 3 hours away from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta, is a popular weekend getaway for city dwellers looking for a breath of fresh air and clean, uncluttered scenery. Unfortunately, this town has lost most of its old world charm and village life beauty thanks to the ever present development toiling away in all parts of town. Come during the weekend and you’ll find yourself jostling and queuing for space along with other tourists local and international. I was certainly glad I came during a non-holiday weekday, and even then it was still crowded!
My personal highlight of the trip however, was not the town of Bandung itself, but of a nearby mountain side area called Ciater, near Mount Tangkuban Perahu. We arrived in the darkness of night, but braved the chilly mountain breeze to wade in the natural thermal hot-pools that they have in Sari Ater.
First impression? Fear. Java is a place filled with spirituality and magic, where old tales of witches and ghosts are traded daily. The hot-pools resort is open late, but unfortunately we seemed like the only people present there. The resort looked like a ghost town, there wasn’t even any sign of the staff!
Once I got through that however, I was impressed with the park and the natural setting of their hot pools. A slight confusion came over us, as we weren’t quite sure if these natural spa are meant for display or for us to dip into. There was really nobody else but us! There was a small pool right by a large waterfall that’s totally enclosed in steam. We weren’t sure how deep, nor how hot it was. We’re not even sure if there are fishes or other animals there.
So instead, we went back further up and waded into a different pool. The water was hot, the smell was definitely thermal (reminded me of Rotorua) and the minerals salty. As we we sat in the shallow pool streams of water fell upon our backs, giving a sort of therapeutical massage to our aching body. A great way to end a tiring day of driving and exploration, and an experience I would very much recommend!