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Enchanting ancient cultures you can still interact with today! (Part 1)

When we take a vacation it is often as much a quest for the new as an opportunity to unwind and relax – a change is as good as a rest, as they say. A new destination to explore, a new taste to discover, fresh views to gaze at. Sometimes however, it is the old and the ancient, not the new, that charms us. Increasingly we are seeing travellers are seeking something much more thought provoking, perhaps experiences that challenge our world view and question our lifestyles in order to take stock perhaps, or to appreciate what we have and to put one’s own situation in perspective. And encounters with ancient cultures that have managed to survive in the modern world, from whom we can learn a lot about appreciating the simple beauty of life, is definitely on a lot of people’s bucket lists these days.

The past decade has seen a great interest in travel activities and experiences where indigenous people are directly involved in educating people about their culture, traditions, beliefs and lifestyles. It is always fascinating to meet people from a different culture, discovering their history, music, and art, and in many cases having the chance to support their cultural and environmental conservation efforts.
« Tribal tourism », as it has been dubbed, is on the rise. From Indonesia to India, Sri Lanka to Myanmar, tourists are increasingly drawn to the idea of visiting First Nations peoples, discovering cultures whose world view and way of life is entirely different from our own.
Here are our pick of the top destinations that explore, support, and celebrate indigenous cultures around Asia. 



The Asmat
Silolona Sojourns Cruises
Komodo, Indonesia

The Asmat are a tribe that are found on the south side of the western part of New Guinea, an area that when the first European explorers ventured into the Asmat’s home range, considered to possibly be the fabled Shangri-La. The Asmat prefer to live near the sea on small islands with mangrove forests, saltwater and freshwater swamp land and lowland rainforest. Renowned wood carvers, their work is collected worldwide – unlike the results from the other skill they have long been famed for, as headhunters. They are perhaps the most famous... [Read more]





The Akha
Muang La Lodge
Muang La, Laos
The Akha tribe is one of the rarest indigenous hill tribes in the whole of Asia. Choosing to live in the most remote areas of the continent and originating from south China and Tibet, they are also now found living in the highlands of Myanmar, Northern Thailand, Northern Vietnam and Laos.
With a very distinctive national dress worn by the womenfolk, their indigo dyed handwoven clothes and distinctive highly decorated hats are often decorated with beads, shells, handmade silver and silver coins. The young women of marriageable age wear the most elaborate clothing, contrary to their elders, who wear clothing with less ornamentation. In fact the coins used to decorate Akha clothes often... [Read More]




The Vedda
Gal Oya Lodge
Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka
The Vedda are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. A forest-dwelling people, they have called this beautiful island home for more than 35,000years. As the earliest inhabitants of Sri Lanka, they have lived on the island since before the arrival of other ethnic groups in India and long before the Buddhists arrived, living off the land and at one with nature. Hunting and gathering in the jungles and forests they call home, one of the staple foods gathered by the Vedda is wild honey, which they collect... [Read More]




The Ladakhi
Lchang Nang Retreat, Nimmu House, Stok Palace Heritage Hotel

Ladakh, India
The remote lands of Ladakh, northern India, have long mesmerized visitors and explorers with their unique and at times other-worldly beauty. Scenery as deep as time itself, the stark almost moon-like mountain vistas, lush river valleys, great roaring rivers full with glacial meltwater and unique architectural styles that blend harmoniously both with the land and the environment – something we can all learn from these days – the scenery and atmosphere of... [Read More]



What are you waiting for? Contact the Concierges at Secret Retreats and plan your next holiday in Asia, you know you deserve it!

...to start planning your Asian journey

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