If you struggle to stick to a healthy diet, don’t exercise regularly or can’t make time for peaceful moments of rest, chances are you need a holiday – and don’t we all! The thing is, we often jet off to exotic shores only to overindulge in junk food, a few too many sunset cocktails and late nights that add up to pure exhaustion on the plane ride home.
And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, if you want to take a break that truly results in a rejuvenated mind, body and spirit, health and wellness holidays are the way to go. Best of all, some of the world’s most beautiful destinations offer an abundance of healthy living options and retreats that are guaranteed to produce that holiday glow, on a budget.
Luang Prabang, Laos
The motto for life in Luang Prabang is ‘boh pen yang’, which basically translates to ‘no worries’. Here, each day starts with the sounds of chanting and temple drums before sunrise and Tak Bat. The morning alms ceremony sees lines of orange-robed monks wind through the UNESCO-listed streets, in a silent procession that supports the monks with food and the almsgivers with spiritual nourishment.
With your spirit soothed, walk or cycle to the picturesque banks of the Nam Khan River for a class with Luang Prabang Yoga. Join a cooking class at Bamboo Tree to learn healthy tips, after selecting your own organic produce from the outdoor market. Because you’ll save money staying at charming guest houses for as little as $50 a night, splash out on revitalising spa treatments at Amantaka or Mekong Spa.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
The ‘land of smiles’ is world-famous for a wealth of tropical retreats that are custom-made to guide guests back to peace, health and happiness. With yoga classes, detox programs, spa treatments and personalised healthy eating plans galore, it’s almost impossible to leave without feeling like a new person.
Best of all, you don’t have to spend up big to get a slice of luxury with your health kick. Head to laidback Chiang Rai for cheap accommodation surrounded by temples and mountains, with plenty of budget-friendly, organic local produce to tempt your taste buds. Check out Museflower Retreat and Spa for wellness packages, treatments and workshops.
You can’t take two steps in Ubud without running into a yoga or massage studio – and that’s only a slight exaggeration. Bali’s spiritual and cultural centre offers everything you need for a health and wellness holiday, with a price tag that puts a smile on your face before you even sink into a massage.
There are plenty of health retreats offering programs to de-stress, detox and revive. However, with daily walks in emerald rice fields, meals at restaurants serving chemical-free meat and organic produce, cheap-as-chips massages and a yoga class or three, it’s easy enough to design your own health and wellness holiday here.
A little bit of balance between cocktail-sipping and healthy pursuits is all it takes to truly rejuvenate and reap all the rewards from your next break – including a happy holiday budget!