Pangkor Laut, Malaysia. (Shutterstock)
List Words : Team Wanderlust | 01 February 2019

The best spa, yoga and spirituality retreats

From meditation to mindfulness, spiritualism to spa treatments – these tour operator trips combine wellness with intrepid travel experiences...

1. City and spa, Malaysia

Sunset on Pangkor Island, Malaysia. (Shutterstock)

Sunset on Pangkor Island, Malaysia. (Shutterstock)

This two-centre 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.

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.

Trip: Kuala Lumpur & Pangkor Laut
Who: Wexas Travel
How long: 7 days
How much: £1,309 (incl. flights)

2. Pamper yourself in Peru

Amazon Rainforest in eastern Peru. (Shutterstock)

Amazon Rainforest in eastern Peru. (Shutterstock)

Glide down the Amazon River in a boat staffed with yoga, meditation and massage specialists. 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.

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.

Trip: River rejuvenation
Who: HighLives Travel
How long: 4 days
How much: £2,000 (exc. flights)

3. Costa Rica trekking and treats

Hot springs in Costa Rica. (Shutterstock)

Hot springs in Costa Rica. (Shutterstock)

This trip does exactly what it says on the tin: eight days of high-energy japes in Central America's adrenaline hotspot, with nights spent in luxurious hotels and eco-lodges.

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.

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...

Trip: Luxury adventures in Costa Rica
Who: Journey Latin America
How long: 8 days
How much: £2,316 (exc. flights)

4. Go off-grid in the UK

Lake Buttermere, Lake District (Shutterstock)

Lake Buttermere, Lake District (Shutterstock)

No WiFi, no TV, and hardly any phone signal: cut yourself off from everyday life on a mindfulness 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.

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.

Trip: Mindfulness in the mountains
Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays
How long: 3 days
How much: From £295

5. Practice Buddhism, Japan

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

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

If you're fascinated by the Buddhist culture and rich heritage of Japan, you'll love this 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.

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.

Trip: Japan express: Osaka to Tokyo
Who: G Adventures
How long: 9 days
How much: £2,199

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