Unveiling the essence of Asia

Tales of Strength and Resilience: Honouring Asia’s Female Trailblazers

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Asia’s Fearless Females: A Tribute to Women Who Changed History

As International Woman’s Day was on the 8th of March, we would like to celebrate the amazing Asian female heroines who have made history in their respective countries. Throughout history, Asian women have played pivotal roles in shaping their societies and fighting against oppression.

When we talk about Asian heroines, our minds often go to the brave women who fought in wars or conflicts. However, there are many remarkable women in history who have made a significant impact on their societies. From rulers to warriors, scholars to activists, Asian female heroes have demonstrated remarkable courage, intelligence, and leadership in the face of adversity. These women have defied societal norms, challenged stereotypes, and paved the way for generations of women to come.

So, in this week’s edition, let’s take a look at some of the stories of these inspiring women.


Cut Nyak Dhien is an important figure in Indonesian history who is known for her role in the Aceh War against Dutch colonialism in the late 19th century. She was a warrior and a leader who fought tirelessly against the Dutch, inspiring her fellow Acehnese to resist colonial rule. Her husband, Teuku Umar, was also a prominent figure in the resistance movement, and together they led their forces in numerous battles against the Dutch. Cut Nyak Dhien was eventually captured and exiled to Java, where she continued to fight for Acehnese independence until her death in 1908. She is celebrated in Indonesia as a national hero and a symbol of resistance against colonialism. Her legacy continues to inspire Indonesians, particularly women, to fight for their rights and to defend their country against oppression and her story has been retold in books, films, and other forms of art.


In China, we have the story of Wu Zetian who was the only woman to rule the Chinese Empire. Wu rose to power during the Tang Dynasty and was known for her intelligence and political savvy. Her reign, 690 to 705AD, was marked by significant reforms that aimed to improve the lives of ordinary people and strengthen the power of the central government. Celebrated for breaking gender barriers and for being a powerful and influential woman in a male-dominated society, she also promoted the arts and literature and was known for her patronage of Buddhist and Taoist temples. Her rule is associated with a period of stability and prosperity in China and one in which she implemented many reforms that helped improve the lives of her subjects, particularly women. Her legacy continues to inspire Chinese women today, and more than 1,300 years after her death she remains an important figure in Chinese history and culture.


Renowned for her bravery, leadership, and patriotism, Rani Lakshmibai is one of the most significant figures in Indian history. She was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi and played a pivotal role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against British colonial rule. She led her army into battle against the British, inspiring her soldiers with her courage and fearlessness. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, Rani Lakshmibai fought fiercely and refused to surrender. Known for her bravery and military tactics, she ultimately died in battle, but her legacy as a symbol of Indian resistance against colonialism lives on today.


In Japan, we have the story of Murasaki Shikibu, a 10th-century writer and poet. She is best known for writing The Tale of Genji which is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of fiction ever written. The Tale of Genji has had a profound impact on Japanese literature and society. Through her writing, Murasaki captured the intricacies of court life in 10th century Japan and provided a detailed portrait of the social customs, gender roles, and aesthetics of the time. Her work has influenced generations of writers and artists, and her legacy continues to inspire people to this day.


In Malaysia, Tun Fatimah is known for her bravery and leadership during the Johor-Riau War in the late 18th century. She was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Johor and played a crucial role in defending her homeland against Dutch and Bugis invaders. Tun Fatimah was known for her military prowess and for her ability to rally her troops in battle. She led her forces into battle against the invaders and was instrumental in the eventual victory of the Johor forces. After the war, she continued to play an important role in the Johor court and was respected for her intelligence and leadership. Tun Fatimah is celebrated in Malaysia as a national figure and a symbolic representation of women’s strength and courage. Her legacy continues to inspire Malaysians, particularly women, to fight for their rights and to defend their country against all forms of oppression.

Booking your Asian Journey with Secret Retreats offers you the opportunity to experience the region in a truly authentic and immersive way. With a rich variety of properties and experiences on offer our concierges can tailor your trip to suit your interests and preferences, whether you want to learn about ancient history, indulge yourself with delicious cuisine, or simply soak up the vibrant atmosphere of Asia’s myriad must-see destinations.

In addition to offering unparalleled access to some of the most unique and undiscovered destinations in Asia, Secret Retreats is committed to sustainable tourism and supporting local communities. You can rest assured that, by booking with Secret Retreats, you are making a positive impact on the people and places that you visit. Contact the travel team today on dream@secret-retreats.com and start planning your next Asian adventure!

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