From The Straits Times    |

Photo: 123rf

We’re a month in to 2018 and if you’re smashing your New Year’s resolutions and already living your best life, then we’re high-fiving you right now. For the rest of us who’ve been busier drinking and brunching than attending those pilates classes, fear not.

Living in Asia means we get a ‘round two’ of resolutions. Yes, 2018 may be the Year of the Dog, but why not try something different to your Downward Dog asana, or post-CNY juice cleanse? Here are a few alternative wellness vacays that will set you straight for the year ahead. 


Kung Fu Shaolin Warrior Taster Course, Thailand

Photo: Shaolin

Nama-slaying your warrior yoga poses, but want to upgrade? This one might be for you. Four hours north of Chiang Mai is the Thai town of Pai, surrounded by scenic waterfalls and natural hot springs. Don’t let the tranquility fool you; it’s here that you can live, eat and train in a real martial arts school, dedicated to teaching the skills of Shaolin Kung Fu at the Kung Fu Shaolin Warrior taster course. 

Across three days, you’ll learn the basics of Sum Chien, the famous Shaolin internal strength routine, as well as the Tong Ling Chi Kung routine (for health, relaxation and energy) – and so much more! By training your body and senses, you’ll leave feeling in control of your emotions and with a badass mindset.


Silent retreat, Bangalore, India 

Photo: ShreyaRetreat

Whether it’s noisy neighbours, gossiping co-workers, beeping traffic or deafening construction, it’s all too easy to get waylaid by daily distractions. Shreya’s seven-night Mouna Retreat (time spent in silence) has been curated to help quiet your mind and re-prioritise your goals in life.

On arrival, you’ll be given a notebook to record your emotional journey and to communicate with staff if needed (not to ask for a cheeky cocktail, mind – there’s a no-alcohol policy). Days two to five are spent in silence, while enjoying Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) sessions, the extensive library of books, walking meditation and nature-based exercises –  fueled by Ayurvedic vegetarian cuisine from the organic gardens. On the sixth day, guests break the silence, interacting with a wellness consultant to discuss the experience.  


Bike-packing, Taiwan


Forget backpacking – saddle up for 2018’s freshest spin on the carefree vacay. With two wheels becoming increasingly popular amongst Singaporeans, the humble bicycle is getting a new lease of life. Change your pace and perspective, and challenge your body and mind to a cycling holiday around Taiwan, while experiencing the natural beauty of the island.

More accustomed to the spin studio than the great outdoors? Don’t worry; FOX SPORTS and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau teamed up to launch Taiwan on Two Wheels – an online hub to help leisure peddlers research and plan their trip, with guided routes, packing tips and must-see picturesque spots.  With no glass window between yourself and the open road, your mind is free to be immersed in mountains, lakes and coastlines at the tip of your handlebars.


Sleep Retreat, Thailand

Photo: KamalayaWellnessSanctuary

Last year, Fitbit released a report showing that Singaporeans are among the poorest sleepers in the world, clocking in an average of just 6.56 hours of sleep per night. Does that sound like you? Sleep deprivation has been blamed for a multitude of sins, including affecting our body’s immune system, memory, concentration and daily functioning.

Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa offers a Sleep Enhancement Program, designed to re-establish healthy and restful sleep while addressing sleep issues and imbalances, not only during the retreat but also for the long term back home. Through a combination of naturopathic treatments, Traditional Chinese Medicine and massage, the program encourages a healthy sleep cycle. Plus, when you’re not snoozing, the beautiful swimming and plunge pools (and even steam caverns!) will help you feel refreshed and energised. The perfect excuse for a lazy getaway!



Well Woman Hormonal Health Program, Bali  

Photo: WellWoman

Are you planning for the patter of tiny feet this year, wanting to address fertility issues or simply want to get your biological health in check? Then Well Woman could be the holistic retreat for you. Nestled near the spiritual haven of Ubud, Bali Vitality’s programs have been formulated by health professionals in the wellness and nutrition field, with a combined knowledge and experience of over 30 years.

Its Specialized Integrated Hormonal Health Program has been designed for women of all ages with various issues – from polycystic ovaries to menopause mayhem, or pesky thyroid concerns. The package includes a Health Consultation from a Naturopathic Doctor and Traditional Balinese healer, spa pampering, plant-based meals, infra-red saunas and even a dedicated mind program.