Experience the True Essence of Asia on a Secret Retreats tailor-made Journey.
In this edition of Secret’s Out, we will introduce you to destinations where you can dive deep into the true essence of Asia. Experience the local culture and their ancient traditions, taste unique regional cuisines, and explore the region’s natural wonders in the great outdoors to enjoy once in a lifetime experiences that will take your breath away.
Travel should be more than just ticking check-boxes off a bucket list – although that is fun. There is always something new to be discovered, experienced, to be shared and it’s a big beautiful and amazing world out there, and one that we have all been denied from travelling within for more than a year now. But it’s still there, just waiting for you to discover and experience it all.
Whether your focus is to soak up the rich culture and centuries of history, immerse yourself in the local cuisine, leap into the great outdoors or completely check out and relax on a tropical beach, we are here to help you decide on your next Asia destination, design your style of holiday and to tailor-make your entire travel itinerary to suit you.
From a sensational wildlife sanctuary in Ranthambore National Park, India to the hidden lagoons of Cong Dam, Vietnam. Step outside your comfort zone hiking up Kawah Ijen surrounded by steep slopes rising above a magnificent sulfurous turquoise lake in Indonesia. Our concierge team will help you plan an unforgettable adventure on one of our Secret Journeys tailored just for you.
At Secret Retreats, we use our discoveries and curated experiences to craft and share unique travel experiences with you. On the ground and truly connected to the local communities the experiences in our travel itineraries and in our curated hotels, yachts and river-boats are designed to share the best of each destination while always staying true to the core values that gave birth to the brand. The Secret Retreats difference is simple, we strive to ensure that travel enriches both the traveller and the community that shares their home and all the secrets within, with the traveller. Sustainable, regenerative travel that, in the typically Asian way, takes great pleasure in the act of giving, to the communities in each destination and to you, the traveller.
The Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra
West Sumatra, Indonesia
The Minangkabau Highlands are located in West Sumatra. A province of Indonesia, the highlands are punctured by two dramatic volcanoes, Mount Marapi, or the Mountain of Fire as it is more dramatically known, and Mount Singgalang. Home to the Minangkabau people, this ethnic group is unique to West Sumatra and believed by anthropologists to be the origin of the Malay race. A green paradise of West Sumatra the Highlands, enjoy a climate very favourable to year-round agriculture.
Renowned for the ancient and vibrant culture of the Minangkabau people, superb natural scenery, and its rich, fertile soils which reward the local farmers with excellent growing conditions for their crops of coffee, tea, coconuts and tobacco, the highlands make for a uniquely fascinating travel itinerary. The team at Secret Retreats have created a travel itinerary to share the secrets of West Sumatra and the unique Minangkabau culture with you. A 5-day 4-night itinerary easily connects with our other itineraries in the region to share with you the wildlife in the Jungles of North Sumatra, and one of Indonesia’s best kept secrets, the fascinating Island of Nias.
Kyoto and Nara, Cultural Capitals of Classical Japan
Kyoto – Nara, Japan
The imperial capital of Japan until 1869, Kyoto is located in the south of Honshu Island, and is a city that always tops the lists of Japanese and International travellers alike. In 1864, a rebellion against the Shogunate known as the Forbidden Gate Incident, resulted in parts of Kyoto being put to the torch and shortly after, in 1868, the imperial capital was founded at Edo, which was consequently renamed Tokyo and heralded the start of the Meiji era.
Kyoto today is celebrated as the cultural capital of Japan and retains its ancient charm and character, with much of the city’s architecture, palaces and temples, and street plans, remaining unchanged in centuries. Kyoto and its people passionately preserve the culture and traditions of classical Japan making this city both a very beautiful and a very fascinating city for visitors. With more than 1,600 Buddhist Temples and 400 Shinto Shrines, Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A journey with Secret Retreats will share with you the pick of the city’s architectural treasures. An extension to another of Japan’s ancient capitals, Nara, which was the capital of Japan prior to Kyoto, between 710CE and 794CE, makes for a wonderful addition to any traveller’s discovery of Japan and is easily and expertly arranged with the Secret Retreats Japanese team.
Northern Vietnam: Sailing the Iconic Halong Bay
From the mountains to the sea on a 7-day tour of North Vietnam with Secret Retreats is the perfect discovery of this stunning region of Asia, and a wonderful place to meditate on your life and lifestyle. Guided treks to places in the mountainous north far from the beaten paths of mass tourism, enjoying rare encounters with the ethnic groups in this recently opened area to learn about their unique lifestyles and world view, will open your eyes to a world unchanged by the passage of time and so very different to our very electronic-dependent 21st C lives.
From the mountains to the sea, board our yacht inspired by the traditional Vietnamese junks to sail the breathtakingly beautiful waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay. Your views filled with emerald-green seas and dramatic karst-limestone islets, the bay is one of the most romantic and beautiful natural wonders of the world. And what better way to enjoy it than with loved ones aboard a luxurious private sailing junk on a Secret Journey discovering the hidden bays of Cong Dam away from the crowds.
Ranthambore National Park: Bengal Tiger and wildlife
Sawai Madhopur, India
Ranthambore National Park is one of the sub-continent’s most celebrated and cherished wildlife reserves, a rare place in the world where you can still catch a glimpse of the majestic and awe-inspiring Royal Bengal Tiger (the National Animal of India). The park is situated in Rajasthan at the eastern end of the Aravalli Range. Once the hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the reserve is a wildlife sanctuary for more than 40 species of mammals, 35 species of reptiles and 320 species of bird. And offers one of the best opportunities for seeing the Bengal Tigers the park is famed for protecting.
A trip into the wilds of the park either early in the morning or just before sunset is the perfect time for tiger spotting, while also keeping your eyes peeled for sights of the many other animals here, including Leopards, Sloth Bears, Rhesus Macaques, Common Langurs, Nilgai, Indian Gazelles (Chinkara), Wild Boars, Jackals, Spotted and Barking Deers, Samber and Marsh Mugger Crocodiles. Don’t forget to look up to the trees and skies above for sights of some of the incredible variety of avian life in Ranthambore from Serpent Eagles to Sarus Cranes, Great Horned Owls to Bronzed-Winged Jacanas, and Kingfishers and a big variety of waterfowl.
Our Secret Retreats Journey to Ranthambore pairs beautifully with a choice of destinations in India from Kerala in the south to Darjeeling or Ladakh in the north, all expertly designed just for you, and with full concierge support.
One of the 8 Wonders of the World – Angkor Wat and Lake Tonle Sap
Siem Reap – Tonle Sap, Cambodia
Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temple Complex cover more than 400acres of jungle-covered terrain at the top of Lake Tonle Sap in northwest Cambodia. It is the largest religious monument in the world, and even after the passage of nigh on 1,000years and the ravages of war in the 20th C, the opulence and detail of the architecture is truly astonishing. Founded by King Suryavarman II, its construction started in the 12th century CE, with its temples and shrines first dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, and by the end of the 12th century, dedicated to Buddhism.
The stories in stone of this magnificent edifice of the ancient world will fascinate you long after you leave. The sacred geometry, the bas-reliefs, the intricacy of the sandstone carvings, inspire reverie and wonder in all those lucky enough to discover this wonder of the world. Located on the shores of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Siem Reap (which literally means “Siamese defeated”, in reference to the victory of the Khmer Empire over the army of the Thai kingdom in the 17th century) offers a combination of activities ranging from the archeological sites of the Angkor Complex spread over the jungles to the north, the nature and jungle on the hills at the East, and discovering the stories of the lake by visiting the fishing villages of the lake at its southern end.
A 4-day 3-night Secret Journey is the perfect introduction to the wonders of Angkor and Tonle Sap and combines beautifully with a tailored itinerary to the off the ‘eaten path’ chef’s and foodie’s favourite destination of Kampot and Kep, or a luxury cruise through the lake and on down the Mekong to Vietnam and the Mekong Delta. Travelling Asia with Secret Retreats the possibilities are limitless, and the fascination never ends.
Don’t just dream it, Live it!
Contact the Secret Retreats Concierge now and make your Asia Travel Dreams a reality today.