They seem to be everywhere. On beaches, in jungles and even atop mountains. Finding that magical faraway place in a small corner of the earth to immerse yourself in all things yoga is often assumed to be something of the past. Luckily, there are still some fabulous off-the-beaten-path yoga retreats that have seemed to have been left off of most yogis ‘to do’ lists. If you are in search of one of these spots, here are 5 yoga retreats in Asia you’ve never heard of.
Bahay Kalipay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, the Philippines
This self-sustainable community is an oasis of bamboo structures and lush tropical plants located on what used to be a garbage-filled lot. Long gone are the broken refrigerators and glass, and in its place now sits a tranquil retreat that offers excellent yoga programs. Don’t expect luxury at Bahay Kalipay. Instead, you will get a more local experience complete with cosy bamboo accommodations, some of which are completely open to the world to allow nature to seep in.
In the Philippines, Bahay means house and Kalipay means happiness, and that is exactly what you can expect here. Well that and some fantastic yoga, exceptional vegan raw food and guided meditation classes. They also offer additional services, including acupuncture, inner dance healing and some great day trips. It is the complete package, and it is completely eco-friendly.
Mandala Ou Resort in Nong Khiaw, Laos
Sitting right along the edge of the Nam Ou River, Mandala Ou Resort’s location alone is a reason why it is off of the yoga radar, as most travellers don’t even venture to this area of the country. If there is a reason to, this is it. The resort offers magnificent views not only of the river, but also of the virgin rain forest, karst limestone cliffs and mountains of Nong Khiaw. It is a mixture of traditional Lao style and modern amenities, and a place that is somewhat like a home away from home.
One of the best things about the Mandala Ou Resort is the yoga shala that overlooks the river. It truly is an inspiring place to practice. Not to mention the riverside swimming pool that faces the tropical nature that is typical of this corner of the world. They offer both three and five night yoga programs with classes that are led by Singaporean born Julie Moksim. There are only 10 rooms here, which means it is definitely a place to come to avoid the crowds and enjoy a quiet yoga experience.
Salt House, Hiriketiya Bay, Dikwalla, Sri Lanka
Surrounded by greenery close to the stunning Hiriketiya Beach you will find this yoga paradise. The beach is paradise in its own right, and, thankfully, away from the commercialised tourist zones, making Salt House a place to practice far from the maddening crowd. It is a place for bohemians to be themselves, walking around barefoot with the salt from the sea in their hair. The food served at the open-air restaurant is just as magical, particularly the chocolate brownies and legendary burgers. They also serve up healthy choices, like superfood smoothies and salads.
Practice yoga in the open-air yoga shala that is elevated to enjoy views of the surrounding jungle. The shala only fits a maximum of 18 students at a time, so you know your practice will be somewhat intimate here. They offer yoga retreats, yoga and meditation retreats, and even yoga and surf retreats. Plus, they have a variety of accommodation options, from dorms to tucked away open-air rooms facing the jungle.
CC’s Hideaway, Kata, Phuket, Thailand
Most people don’t associate yoga retreats with Phuket, but CC’s Hideaway is the exception. This 4-star hotel is nestled in the hills of Kata overlooking the Andaman Sea. It is a unique mix of modern accommodations oozing with traditional Thai furnishings and offering some of the most breathtaking views you could ever imagine. If you have ever dreamed of doing yoga on a roof top while enjoying panoramic views; this is exactly what you will experience at CC’s Hideaway. Plus, they offer a wide range of yoga styles, from sleep-like Nidra yoga to invigorating Ashtanga and everything in between.
There are no set days that you must start a yoga retreat here. You can come when you would like and stay for as long as you want to. Retreats include one of five accommodation options, two yoga classes a day, three healthy meals, spa treatments, day trips and sunset meditation on the beach. With so many options for yoga retreats in Thailand, this is one that stands out, especially if you want to steer clear of the yoga trail.
Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation Centre, Kep, Cambodia
The sleepy seaside town of Kep is an unlikely place for a yoga retreat, but at the same time, is the perfect place for one. Especially one that is not on the usual path. Most travellers don’t even venture to Kep when travelling to Cambodia, though it’s hard to imagine why. It is a quiet, laid-back town that is ideal for enjoying a yoga retreat, like the ones offered at Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation Centre. They offer retreats for as short as five days or as long as two months that can also include a Reiki course, a detox program or healing sessions.
Vagabond Temple Yoga and Meditation Centre is set on a hill overlooking the town and Chhak Kep Bay, as well as offering views of Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island. It is an amazing place to relax, rejuvenate and practice yoga with some great teachers. Retreats include two yoga classes a day, dharma talks followed by meditation and an evening activity, as well as three vegan meals a day. And, of course, accommodations, which consist of various bamboo huts, some of which boast a private balcony that overlooks the sea.