Imagine ... balmy summer breezes, gentle waves lapping against the shore. You're lying on your tummy with the smell of frangipani and jasmine wafting through the air. Gentle hands cast long strokes across your back in a repetitive kneading motion. Bliss.
If this sounds like your type of holiday, then an Asian Spa holiday may just be what the doctor ordered. Cast aside the atrocious New Zealand summer, tell the boss that the report can wait, and throw the bikini in the suitcase. Now is the time to book your spa escape.
Which country and how do I get there?
Most Asian holiday planning starts with the decision on which country to go to. Heres a quick snap shot of the most popular destinations:
THAILAND synonymous with Spas. The most popular destinations are the tourist mecca, Phuket or the more intimate, Koh Samui. Either way the accommodation options are excellent with a wide range of 4-5 star spa specialising beach resorts to choose from. There are no direct flights to either of these destinations, though plenty of Airlines fly to these destinations including Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, and Jetstar.
BALI a new favourite for Kiwis. Here you can opt for a spa specialising beach resort, a villa complex with spa facilities, or Ubud the hillside resort that specialises in spa techniques (and only 45 mins from Bali). Air New Zealand offers direct services to Denpasar. Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, other Asian carriers and Jetstar offer services via their respective hubs.
MALAYSIA Langkawi is a popular escape for couples, 30km northwest of Malaysia. For those looking for a cultural and spa experience, the Penang offers great resorts, pretty villages and amazing eating experiences. All Asian carriers and Jetstar offer services via their respective hubs.
VIETNAM a burgeoning Asian beach destination, Vietnams stunning coastline and luxury resort properties are increasingly popular for travellers. Hoi An; Nha Trang and Phan Thiet all offer beachside spa resort options. Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, other Asian carriers and Jetstar offer services via their respective hubs.
When to travel?
Now is the time you will find good deals for travelling to Asia. We recommend that our Winter/Spring (May to October) is the ideal time to visit. Not only do you miss the peak travelling period for the European travellers, but more importantly, it means you can escape the gloomy New Zealand weather.
How long do I go for?
Given the 9 hour plus plane ride to Asia, we recommend that you take 6 days in Asia or more.
You can opt for a half day Spa treatment, through to a 4 day indulgence. So the options are abound. Almost all 4.5 to 5 star resorts will have inhouse Spas. The likes of Shangri-La have signature Spas that follow a specific ideologies of balancing the mind and body. We find that many of our spa" customers opt for 2-3 days indulging in a spa and then another 3-4 days enjoying the local culture and attractions.
What to pack?
We recommend that you pack light beach going gear, sunnies, flip flops, bikinis and board shorts. Most of these destinations have fantastic night markets within the vicinity, which are ideal for picking up extra beach going gear.
And all the Asian hubs (e.g. Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong) are renowned for their shopping, so leave room to spare in your suitcase.
The nights are a little cooler and the shopping malls often have air conditioning on full throttle, so bringing a light long sleeve top/cardigan is a good idea.
If you are visiting Malaysia and would like to experience the Mosques, we recommend that you pack light long sleeve tops and pants as you will need to cover yourself before you are allowed to enter.
We also recommend that you visit a travel doctor and take advice on the appropriate precautions for visiting South East Asian countries.
HOT recommendations on where to stay.
THAILAND Indigo Pearl Phuket is a stunning resort uniquely inspired by the Tin Mining era of the region. Beautiful suites are scattered through the landscaped gardens. The ultimate feature is the 'pièce de résistance of the Coqoon Spa, and the must-try for all spa enthusiasts is 'The Nest' - a luxurious spa suite suspended midair and accessed by a flying bridge, allowing guests to get up close and personal to nature.
The Nest - Coqoon Spa, Indigo Pearl Phuket
BALI At the Maya Ubud Resort & Spa, you are set in the rolling hills and misty mountains about 45 mins from the Bali beaches. Here they offer an array of Spa Packages including our favourite The Enchanting Ubud Experience which runs over 4 days and includes daily scheduled activities: yoga for beginners, introductory pilates, nature walks, and meditation; massage and flower baths; cycle tours; and some of your meals.
Maya Ubud Resort and Spa, 45 mins from Bali
MALAYSIA - Berjaya Langkawi Resort & Spa this 4 and a half star resort has a local Malay flavour with its beautiful beach & jungle setting, on the lovely island of Langkawi. You have the option of staying in wooden rainforest chalets or overwater bungalows. The Ayura Spa is in a dedicated area of the resort and offers its guests a private Plunge pool & Jacuzzi with a dedicated number of Spa treatments
Ayura Spa at Berjaya Langkawi Resort & Spa, Langkawi, Malaysia
VIETNAM - Six Senses Ninh Van Bay in Vietnam - where they have personal Spa Suites - actual rooms where instead of having to go to the resident Spa in the resort, they come to you, massage table set up within your room (usually like a Suite so it is separate) and in your daily massage in included in your room rate.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay - Vietnam
Or the stunning Life Wellness Resort in Quy Nhon, where there is a focus on Yoga, Wellness, Meditation, Tai Chi and Cuisine & they offer 4 & 5 day Life Spa Packages with a range of treatments, therapies, activities and meal packages available