6 Epic Places to Get off the Grid
We are living in a society where from the moment we wake up, we feel the need to check our mobile phones to check our messages and notifications, to look at our social media accounts, and to read our emails and newsfeeds. Let’s be honest, many of us connect with wifi more than we connect with ourselves or our loved ones. And perhaps more than ever during the lockdowns. Do you spend more time looking down at your mobile phone instead of up and out at the people and the world around you? In this edition we would like to share with you 6 recommendations for some stunning locations in Asia to visit that will encourage you to disconnect from your digital devices and to reconnect with your inner self. These destinations will offer you a chance to slow down your pace of life, to reconnect with the natural world outside of the digital world, to reduce reliance on the digital world and to simply savor each and every moment for what it is… right in front of you.
Gal Oya Lodge
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka
Gal Oya Lodge is more than just a Sri Lankan ecolodge. The enjoyment and conservation of nature lies at the heart of the hotel’s design, where the experience has been designed to bring you closer to nature and to protect the local environment. Gal Oya Lodge always puts nature first, but it does not mean that they will not do their best to make your holiday special. This gorgeous property offers facilities including a restaurant, bar, and swimming pool, which have been seamlessly integrated into the surrounding landscape. The spacious bungalows share touches of luxury with guests that ensure you feel at home, with the experience assured and enhanced by the warm hospitality provided by the friendly locally-recruited staff. The expert and passionate nature guides, many of them from the local Veda Tribe who are a people indigenous to the region that have called the forests here home for more than 40,000years, will share with you the secrets of the natural world surrounding Gal Oya Lodge as well as the stories of their unique lifestyle. A lifestyle that is still truly in tune and connected to the natural world. Unplug at Gal Oya Lodge and learn about an alternative way of life outside of our black mirrors and become one with the pristine nature in this stunning region of Sri Lanka.
Papua Paradise Eco Resort
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Papua Paradise Resort has to be one of Asia’s most blessed dive resorts. The resort lies along the pristine shoreline of the uninhabited island of Birie, in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. The waters here are truly teeming with marine life, in fact, famed for being the most bio-diverse reefs in the world and offering great opportunities for snorkelers and scuba divers to see the big fish and the small. This tailor-made paradise for divers is the perfect place to see manta rays, sharks, and shoals of schooling fish, and explore reef slopes with some of the widest diversity of corals in the world. But it isn’t all about below the waterline. The home island of the resort and the nearby islands are also teeming with exotic bird life, lush jungle foliage, and a spectacular array of fauna, including the not to be missed Birds of Paradise. What a rare pleasure in life to be able to hike at sunrise to see the stunning birds of paradise and meet the wonderful local people of Raja Ampat and then follow this with taking to the waters to relish in the opportunity to swim with rare dugongs (sea cows, and many believe the animal that inspired the belief in mermaids). All this and more before ending the day with a perfect ocean sunset view from your private balcony. The only reason you will need your mobile phone is to call friends and family back home to share the wonderful stories of each day’s experiences with them, and to encourage them to follow in your footsteps to Papua Paradise.
Set amidst beautiful, restful rural landscapes with breathtaking views of Bali’s volcanoes in the distance, Sanak Retreat Bali offers a relaxing getaway immersed in lush greenery. The property’s eleven luxurious and spacious wooden bungalows are well appointed, some with private pools, and with private terraces or balconies overlooking the surrounding rice fields. All this fresh nature and rich greenery promotes rest and relaxation, a perfect place to share time, quality time, with loved ones, family and friends. Perfectly placed to enjoy Bali off the beaten path too, a stay here is far away from the crowds. It is the place to connect with and learn about traditional Bali, one unsullied by the mass tourism that is found on the beaches of the island’s southern coast. Sanak Retreat’s beautiful bungalows come in 1, 2 and 3 bedroom configurations, luxuriously accommodating every occasion from a romantic break to wonderful family get togethers. The neighbouring village is renowned for its coffee and clove plantations. Simple and humble trekking experiences through rice fields with your own guide is a great way to enjoy interactions with the local villagers. This property really is designed with reconnecting with what’s important in mind; the ancient rhythms of the surrounding rural landscape, the beauty of family and community life as shared by the experiences guests can enjoy with the local villagers where the stories of the traditions and culture are shared with guests, and the timeless beauty of simply allowing yourself to breathe and enjoy the moment as you practice yoga or meditation on the balcony of your luxury balcony looking towards to the rising or setting sun. What could be better than this?
Lchang Nang Retreat
There is undoubtedly something truly magical about Ladakh. This land of the high mountain passes is situated in one of the most stunning parts of the Indian Himalayas. North of Leh, Ladakh’s capital, nestles the Nubra Valley, a region cradled by rugged mountains that has an almost otherworldly beauty. Hidden within this most spectacular Himalayan landscape, lies a piece of heaven called Lchang Nang, ‘The House of Trees’. Just as its name suggests, Lchang Nang is set amidst trees. Blessed by the continuous flow of the Siachen river rushing past its western boundary, the property is set within an orchard of elm and fragrant apricot and apple trees. Lchang Nang’s concept balances two elements: a commitment to the past by honoring traditional Ladakhi cultural elements, and a vision of a better future through promoting eco-friendly tourism initiatives and employing sustainable business practices from the architecture of the property through to the daily operations. Lchang Nang’s breathtaking scenery will mesmerize and fascinate you, it will keep your gaze skyward drinking in the majestic landscapes and ancient and fascinating culture, encouraging in you a contemplation of what is really important in life.
4 Rivers Floating Lodge
Koh Kong, Cambodia
WOW is probably the first word you will utter on checking in to your floating lodge at 4 Rivers Floating Lodge. This unique eco lodge is located among pristine rainforest on the Tatai river, Cambodia, with their 12 luxury lodges literally floating on the river. The owners take their eco-responsibilities very seriously with the design and operation of the resort aiming to give back more than they take from their environment through their sustainable approach to business and property management. A stay at this luxury collection of floating and on-land tented villas will provide you with a once in a lifetime experience in the beauty and splendour of the Cardamom Rainforest while giving back to the community and environment as your stay supports the property’s efforts with their many projects including supporting 2 local schools, and their river and waterfall clean-up projects. Spend your days relaxing on your private sundeck, kayaking the river and exploring the mangrove where the river meets the sea, taking guided tours into the rainforest to learn about the unique ecology of the region and spotting some of the wildlife from elephants and bears to more than 500species of tropical birds. Oh and wifi here is intermittent at best, with all that wonderful nature surrounding you why would you look at your phone anyway?
One of coastal Thailand’s best kept secrets? We think so. Le Passe Temps is at once remote without being lost, yet right in the middle of some of Krabi’s must-see spots. Nestled in Thailand’s picture postcard perfect scenery of Ao Phang Nga, regarded as one of the most beautiful bays in South East Asia, this warm convivial resort is as much about the atmosphere that has been masterfully created by the team and owners here, as it is about the incredible scenery on the property’s doorstep. Truly a place where one arrives as a stranger and leaves as a friend, this is hospitality at its best where the phrase ‘your home from home’ is a perfect fit. The garden and the beach lead you to a stunning landscape of water, the incredible karst scenery Ao Nang is famed for, with islands and rocky peaks marching across the turquoise sea to the horizon. The team here arrange some fantastic trips, go island hopping from the famous Phi Phi island to Maya Bay, snorkel the bay’s reefs, take guided treks to learn about the unique ecology of Krabi or take a hike up the marvelously descriptively named Dragon Crest Mountain, famed for being home to some of the oldest rainforest in the world and offering trekkers incredible views of Krabi from the peak. A delightfully intimate property with just 9 bungalows yet beautifully big on hospitality and warm service Le Passe temps is NOT to be missed. So, put down your phones, raise your gaze and enjoy one of the most beautiful regions of Thailand among some of the most convivial and warm hospitality of Thailand too.
OK…before you put down your phone and unplug, drop the Secret Retreats Concierge an email who are on-hand and ready to start planning your next holiday in Asia. Just imagine your next holiday in destinations where you can really unwind amongst breathtaking scenery. Make time to detox from the digital world and get back to what is important in our too often ignored analog worlds of the people that surround us and this stunningly beautiful world that we call home. See you there!