Mt. Fuji with fall colors in Japan (Shutterstock: see credit below)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 10 June

8 of the best trips for body and soul

Fancy an adventure with a bit of pampering on the side? From meditation to mindfulness, spiritualism to spa treatments – these trips combine wellness with intrepid travel experiences

1. City and spa in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur & Pangkor Laut, Wexas

This two-centre Kuala Lumpur & Pangkor Laut trip takes you from Malaysia's futuristic capital to an idyllic island on the country's west coast – two dramatically different spots, but equally energising.

Discover museums, markets and mosques on your two-day tour of the capital, dining in top-notch restaurants and staying in one of KL's fanciest hotels. You'll revel in the contrasts of this forward-thinking city: from haggling in its ramshackle markets to soaring up to the Petronas Towers' observation deck.


Sunset on Pangkor Island, Malaysia (Shutterstock)

On day three, you'll be driven through Malaysia's beautiful countryside to the small town of Lamut, before boarding a boat to the rainforest island of Pangkor Laut – a little slice of paradise just off the west coast. You'll laze in beach-side villas, sink into the glorious spa, and practice yoga under expert tuition – while birds of paradise hoot in the trees, and the sea gently laps the sandy shore.

Malaysia by train and ferry | A cheap (and adventurous!) way to travel across the country
Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore by train | Tropical islands, mysterious highlands and colonial charm
Our guide to the best of Singapore and Malaysia | All you need to plan your trip


2. Peru pick-me-up

River Rejuvination, HighLives Travel

Glide down the Amazon River in a boat staffed with yoga, meditation and massage specialists on a 4-day River Rejuvenation trip with HighLives. You'll be pampered and pummelled as you drift through spectacular scenery, with the opportunity to take part in healing ceremonies by local shaman and dawn yoga sessions on an Amazon sandbank.

Amazon rainforest in eastern Peru (Shutterstock)
Amazon rainforest in eastern Peru (Shutterstock)

Alongside the programme of wellbeing treats, you'll visit remote Amazonian villages, join jungle treks and wildlife spotting jaunts, and paddle through the river's smallest tributaries in a dugout canoe. There's also the chance to swim in the Amazon, among pink and grey river dolphins – a dip you'll never forget.

Amazon travel guide | From tips to trips – all you need to know
Volunteering afloat in the Peruvian Amazon | A very intrepid volunteering trip
Peru: Know before you go | All your questions answered


3. Costa Rica trekking and treats

Luxury Adventures In Costa Rica, Journey Latin America

Luxury Adventures in Costa Rica does exactly what it says on the tin: 8 days of high-energy japes in Central America's adrenaline hotspot, with nights spent in luxurious hotels and ecolodges.

You'll raft down the rapids of the Pacuare River, hurtle through the treetops on a zip wire, trek to spectacular waterfalls, go horse riding, and meet the local wildlife on night hikes through the forest.

Hot springs in Costa Rica (Shutterstock)
Hot springs in Costa Rica (Shutterstock)

When you're not adventuring, you'll be pampering: in your top-of-the-range eco resort you'll find an al fresco yoga pavilion, plus a spa with a treatment list as long as your aching legs: think body wraps, facials and long luxurious massages – all with natural ingredients plucked from the nearby forest. Spa days don't get much wilder than this...

5 Costa Rican offbeat eco-lodges | Incredible places to stay
Costa Rica: sensational and sustainable | Tiny Costa Rica is a biodiversity colossus...
9 Costa Rica holiday rentals - from £8.50 per night | Paradise needn't break the bank!


4. Serene islands of Indonesia

Ultimate Bali & Sumba, Selective Asia

This 17-day Ultimate Bali & Sumba trip takes in all of the islands' best bits – from the cultural hotspot of Ubud (where you'll learn about Balinese culture, with guided tours and cooking classes), the Unesco-listed rice terraces of Jatiluwih, and the tribal villages and megalithic tombs of Sumba.

Sunbathing and spa treatments, Bali (Shutterstock)
Sunbathing and spa treatments, Bali (Shutterstock)

It would be criminal not to indulge in an authentic Balinese massage while you're here – so you'll get a free one every day during your three-night stay in Tembok's Spa Village Resort. There's time on the beach, too: on the south coast of Bali, powder-white sands and crystal-clear water await, so you can unwind after all that exploring.

West Indonesia: Bali and beyond | Komodo dragons, fuming volcanoes and fiery cuisine...
5 unique things to do in Indonesia | Amazing experiences... Which one would you choose?
The Wanderlust guide to the best of Indonesia | How to plan an incredible trip



5. Meditation and mountains in South Korea

Classic South Korea Group Tour, Regent Holidays

Where better to master the art of meditation than in South Korea's ornate Samhwasa Temple? Over 11 days, this Classic South Korea Group Tour whisks you between the country's cultural and spiritual best bits – including a day in ancient Gyeongju (where the Gwaeneung Royal Tomb, Seogguram Grotto and 4-face Buddha await), hiking in Gayasan National Park, and panoramic views from Seoul Tower.

Emperor palace in Seoul (Shutterstock)
Emperor palace in Seoul (Shutterstock)

The highlight of the holiday is a stay in Samhwasa Temple: here, you'll wear traditional temple clothes, attend a bell-ringing ceremony, and be taught how to meditate. We'd recommend rising early to catch sunrise over the east coast – this really is a serene, spiritual spot.

Cycle a new path, South Korea | One of seven trips to make you feel like a travel pioneer
South Korea essential info | Start your trip planning here
A beginner's guide to street food in Seoul | From ice cream tubes to deep-fried pig's feet...


6. Go off-grid in the UK

Mindfulness in the Mountains, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays

No wifi, no tv, and hardly and phone signal: cut yourself off from everyday life on a Mindfulness in the Mountains retreat – and emerge with a fresh perspective on life.

You'll spend 3 days hiking in the invigorating Lake District, getting to know your fellow travellers as you hike through the fells, wander around Lake Buttermere, and tuck into hearty three-course meals every night.

Lake Buttermere, Lake District (Shutterstock)
Lake Buttermere, Lake District (Shutterstock)

This trip is all about healing the body and mind: taking time to discover your surroundings and enjoy life away from the distraction of technology and phones. You'll be able to try meditation, and also get an introduction to Mindfulness: the practise of living in the moment and shedding all those niggles and worries that we carry with us every day. Now that sounds like a fantastic way to spend a long weekend.

Top 10 cool campsites in England and the Isle of Wight | Plan your own off-grid adventure
5 things you must do in the Lake District | Don't leave without trying these!
Exploring the Lake District by electric bike | Green adventures in the Lake District


7. Buddhism in Japan

Japan Express: Osaka To Tokyo, G Adventures

If you're fascinated by the Buddhist culture and rich heritage of Japan, you'll love this 9-night Japan Express itinerary. This is no ordinary whistle-stop tour: you'll be travelling in a group, but have plenty of time to venture out on your own – and there are moments of peace where you can soak up Japan's spiritual side.

Great floating gate (O-Torii) on Miyajima island (Shutterstock)
Great floating gate (O-Torii) on Miyajima island  (Shutterstock)

You'll stay in a traditional ryokan, sample authentic cuisine, soak in onsen hot springs, and visit the sacred island of Miyajima and the famous floating Torii gate. Try meditation in Daisen-in Zen rock garden, and take a boat ride on Lake Ashino-ko. At the summit of Mount Koya, one of Japan's holiest peaks, you'll visit a temple and try Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Watching the monks pray as the sun rises in the morning is one of the highlights of this trip.

Hiking in Honshu, Japan | Japan is one of our favourite walking spots. Here's why...
Japan on the cheap | Japan can be as inexpensive as it is eye-opening
Travelling in Japan's Kiso Valley | A traditional taste of Japan’s Kiso Valley 


8. Sacred jewels of India

Varanasi Short Stay, Wendy Wu Tours

Immerse yourself in spiritual India on this Varanasi Short Stay trip – it may be just 4 days, but it packs in all of the city's most sacred parts. You'll visit the ancient Buddhist complex of Sarnath, witness a Puja Ceremony (Hindu prayer ritual), and float down the holy River Ganges at dawn.

Ganga Aarti ritual (fire puja) in Varanasi (Shutterstock)
Ganga Aarti ritual (fire puja) in Varanasi (Shutterstock)

This is a private tailormade journey, so you'll tour in a private car with a guide to answer all of your questions – and you can tweak the itinerary to suit your particular interests. Want to stay longer somewhere? Just ask. Fancy learning how to meditate, or finding out more about the spiritual rituals you see? No problem.

How to plan your trip to India | 6 great itineraries
6 reasons why India is good for your soul | It helped one anxiety sufferer rebuild her life
6 tips for travelling India by train | Expert advice from a seasoned traveller
 


Main image: Mt. Fuji with fall colors in Japan (Shutterstock)