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Awaken the Five Senses with our Selection of Asia Best Experiences

Let your senses take you on a journey

Travel should always be a delight for the senses, and if it isn’t you either aren’t travelling to the right places or you are travelling with the wrong people. In our typically all too rushed lives, we often fail to truly absorb every moment of the journeys we undertake and the places we visit.  Being mindful of your senses as you take time to mark each moment will enhance every experience and capture them more fondly in our memories.

From gazing across the aqua blue waters of the Maldives to soaking up the sounds of the Borneo jungle, or sampling the complex flavours of organic Thai cuisine to inhaling the unique fragrances of freshly brewed tea while staying at a tea estate in Darjeeling, or the sensory delight of a luxury pampering in a gorgeous clifftop located spa overlooking the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea. In this edition, we share with you some of our favourite experiences around Asia that please the five senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. These destinations are waiting to excite your senses the next time you travel to Asia!

TOUCH

Paresa Resort – Phuket, Thailand

Feel and enjoy with your whole being the miracle of ancient healing techniques with a Thai massage.

The Spa by Paresa is a heavenly sanctuary that expertly combines ancient Thai healing techniques with luxury spa products created from the resorts own hydroponic gardens to stimulate and awaken your senses.

The Spa by Paresa enjoys an unrivalled clifftop vantage point in Kamala, Phuket’s most exclusive stretch of coastline, sharing breathtaking views of the Andaman Sea with its guests and visitors. Phuket’s best kept luxury secret, the resort is secreted away under lush tropical trees and gardens guaranteeing privacy and serenity. The chic, elegant villas and suites are luxuriously appointed, and all offer unrivalled panoramic sea views from their private infinity edge pools.

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Pimali Bungalows – Nong Khai, Thailand

Get in touch with your inner farmer with hands-on learning about rice farming at Pimali Foundation

There is nothing quite like the feeling of soft mud between your toes while planting rice surrounded by emerald green rice paddies. The Pimali Foundation offers guests the chance to experience Asia’s agriculture, hands-on. Try your hand at rice farming, catch your own fish from the foundation’s own ponds, and learn to cook local dishes with produce sourced the resorts own farm and gardens.

The Pimali Foundation Hospitality Training Centre is a 4 Bungalow country inn in rural north-eastern Thailand. Providing an opportunity for students from under-privileged backgrounds to embark on a career in the hospitality industry, the resort is run by the students of the foundation. Located in beautiful countryside, the resort is surrounded by rice fields and gardens and with Nongkhai on its doorstep, it is the perfect base to explore and enjoy this fascinating region famed for its unique culture, traditions, beautiful natural scenery and fantastic cuisine. As a guest of the Pimali Foundation, you will be helping them continue their essential work supporting the futures of north-east Thailand’s underprivileged youth.

[DISCOVER THE PIMALI FOUNDATION NOW]

TASTE

Akame Restaurant – Guchabo’an, Taiwan

The taste of Taiwan’s modern aboriginal cuisine.

Food is without doubt one of life’s finest pleasures, and sampling new and exciting taste combinations is an essential part of exploring and experiencing a new destination. AKAME restaurant is located in the village of Guchabo’an deep in the hills of Taiwan and is the birthplace of chef and owner Alex Peng. As per its name, “akame” the local aboriginal Rukai tribe word for grill, the chef cooks on a specially designed wood-fired oven and grill, creating his dishes using only seasonal ingredients including spices and wild herbs foraged from the surrounding hills and forest to create Akame’s uniquely modern aboriginal cuisine.

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Nusantara – Bali, Indonesia

Intrigue your taste buds with authentic Indonesian cuisine

Meaning “archipelago” in Indonesian, this authentic Indonesian restaurant offers a unique insight into the country’s rich culinary heritage. The menu focuses on traditional flavours from across the Indonesian archipelago and brings authentic, lesser-known regional dishes to diners from around the world and all served in a warm, comfortable, casual environment. Each dish is prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients, all locally sourced. Balinese Chef Putu and his sous chefs are constantly exploring Indonesia’s rich and varied pantry of produce to discover new combinations of flavours, creating new and exciting dishes to stimulate, challenge and wow the palates of their diners.

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SOUND

Brijrama Palace Heritage Hotel – Varanasi, India

Listen to the timeless magical sounds of Arti ritual chanting on the banks of the Sacred Ganges River.

Unchanged by the passage of time, the ritual devotion of Arti is performed every evening on the banks of the Ganges. Ancient chants and songs, and the raising of lanterns and candlewicks, all syncopated by the beating of cymbals make this Hindu ritual truly a captivating experience. Deeply symbolic, Arti is performed for many reasons, not simply a blessing it may be performed as an expression of love or gratitude, thanks or respect, to make prayers to deities or to perform blessings. And it is a blessing to witness, especially from the privileged position of the Brijrama Palace.

Brijrama Palace is located on the Darbhanga Ghat on the banks of the sacred river Ganges. The palace dates back to 1812 when it was built by Shridhara Narayana Munshi the then minister for the estate of Nagpur. In 1915, King Rameshwar Singh Bahadur of Darbhanga (Bihar) acquired the palace and the Ghat on which it was located was named in his honour, as Darbhanga Ghat. The architecture and design of the palace were inspired by the then ruling dynasty of the Marathas. This gorgeously opulent palace is a feast for the senses, from the nightly rituals on the banks of the Ganges to the traditional music and dance performed within the palace courtyards, it is a place seemingly unchanged by time where you can experience the luxurious life of a palace resident while perfectly placed to enjoy one of India’s most vibrant, fascinating and the holiest of cities.

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Rimba Ecolodge – Borneo, Indonesia

The sound of the rainforest is calling!

Close your eyes and imagine taking a journey deep into the pristine rainforest of Borneo. Teeming with life, animals and insects, big and small, you would hear a symphony of nature, a concerto of humming, thrumming, buzzing, and chirping. Frogs, cicadas, howler monkeys, and an enormous variety of birds all competing to fill your ears with their song of Borneo’s rainforest.

Any nature fan or lover of the natural world will revel and be inspired by a visit to Rimba Eco Lodge. This eco-friendly inn features several adjoining elevated pavilions, which are perched over the gently flowing Sekonyer River on the edge of Borneo’s Tanjung Putting National Park. This remote retreat is only accessible via a traditional Klotok boat. Walkways join the guestrooms, and the restaurant, reception area and lounge all blend naturally into the surrounding jungle. Guests will wake up each day to the sounds of birds, gibbons, and macaque monkeys. On occasion, orangutans can be seen roaming around the lodge. Most evenings, a family of proboscis monkeys will settle above the lodge in the trees to sleep. The unique location offers excellent access to a number of orangutan tours and feeding stations situated within the national park. The park is also home to several other primate species, and a dizzying variety of beautiful birds that dwell within this lush rainforest.

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SMELL

Glenburn Tea Estate – Darjeeling, India

The freshest scents that will at once calm your mind and refresh your spirit.

The freshest mountain air, the swaying pines, the distant snowcapped Himalayan peaks, and the delicate scent of a wonderfully fresh brewed pot of Darjeeling Tea will truly soothe your soul. The ultimate tea-break without compare.

Set in the Himalayas on a hillock above the banks of the Rangeet river, this peaceful tea plantation retreat is the perfect place to discover and enjoy Darjeeling and all its wonders. A family owned tea plantation, visitors can tour the working tea estate, take guided treks to enjoy the local flora and wildlife amongst the breathtaking mountain scenery, try your hand at sport fishing on the Rangeet river and feast on delightful Indian, Oriental and Western cuisine created from the freshest produce straight from the estate’s own gardens. All the while ensconced in the elegant luxury of a 160year old tea estate.

A tea tasting session is a not to be missed experience. Learn the art of tasting a range of black, green, oolong and white teas, and discover the differences in aroma, flavour and appearance. Learn the stories of the tea, the beverage that accompanies so many moments of our lives.

[DISCOVER GLENBURN TEA ESTATE NOW]

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MesaStila – Java, Indonesia

The Yang to tea’s Yin, immerse yourself in the wonders of the freshest Java coffee

As you step in MesaStila, the aroma of a rich elegant past is carried on the breeze, as the scent of the robusta coffee beans from the roasting house wafts past. MesaStila resort dates back two hundred years where it blends Dutch and Javanese history amongst the coffee beans and spices. The rich volcanic fertile islands of Java produce some of the world’s finest coffee and this luxury spa and resort is set within its ancestral coffee plantation.

This magnificent colonial coffee plantation has been fully restored to its former glory. The manor house stands elegantly against a backdrop of dramatic volcanoes. A colonial period railway station and 23 historic “joglo” villas are set within tropical gardens and blessed by cool highland-air. Focusing on Wellness, MesaStila offers distinctly Javanese experiences including traditional Pencak Silat martial arts, a rich menu of organic Javanese food, and indulgent therapies at its Hammam Spa where local herbs and coffee beans are used to create the spa’s unique products and body-scrubs.

[DISCOVER MESASTILA NOW]

SIGHT

Alexa Cruise – Indonesia

Utterly amazing sights both above and below the waterline.

Discover Indonesia in the most luxurious way possible today, from your own floating home aboard the luxury yacht Alexa. Unique for Indonesia Alexa is a yacht for two. Set with just one luxury master cabin, this yacht is more a floating 5-star honeymoon suite than simply a boat. With a professional crew to discreetly care for your every need, Alexa will unveil the incredible sights of Indonesia to you, sharing truly breathtaking views of this incredible archipelago and its many mysterious islands. Diving here offers some of the most biodiverse reefs in the world, sharing views of a stunning variety of coral and marine life.

Visit uninhabited islands and dine under the stars on a beautiful, deserted beach. Witness unique tribal cultures that still maintain their ancient traditions. And rest your eyes on scenery above and below the waterline that will stay with you forever shared together with that special person in your life. 

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Soneva in Aqua – The Maldives

Immerse yourself in the picture postcard perfect views of the Indian Ocean and the Maldives

If the Gods ever intended the world to have picture postcard views, and Instagram, then they surely created the Maldives with these in mind. For marine scenery and idyllic tropical islands, the Maldives is really without compare, truly a vision of beauty and a delight for the eyes. The Maldives is also one of the few places in Asia where it is possible to travel to without the need for quarantine, where one can enjoy a holiday in Asia. And what better way could there be than with family or loved ones aboard your very own private yacht.

The Soneva in Aqua is a luxurious 2 cabin yacht created and managed by the team behind the epitome of luxury villa stays, Soneva Fushi. Perfect for families, sleeping up to 6 people in the 2 cabins, the yacht features 2 en-suite cabins with the master cabin enjoying a sunken glass-bottomed jacuzzi bath where you can watch the reef life below you as you bathe. The wow factor doesn’t end there. With a crew of 6 including spa therapist, chef, divemaster and an astronomer to guide you on your stargazing adventures, the yacht also features excellent dining, bar, lounge and an on-deck jacuzzi. From the marine scenes below water to the galaxies of stars above the Indian Ocean your sense of sight is in for a treat from all these stunning views surrounding you.

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Spoil yourself, you deserve it and treat your senses to the wonders of Asia. Contact the Secret Retreats Concierge on dream@secret-retreats.com Asia awaits you…

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