Asia’s Best in Class: 3 exquisite travel destinations
To help navigate the many intricacies of Asia, we consulted Melissa Bradley, founder of Indagare who gave us all the best travel picks.
Some people travel to expand their minds, others to adventure, some to relax and others to recharge. Traveling to Asia, however, guarantees all of these, offering a combination of incredible beauty and unique culture, intense relaxation, physical and spiritual rejuvenation, the best in luxury, and unforgettable adventure.
To help navigate the many intricacies of this amazing continent, I consulted my go-to travel advisor, Melissa Bradley, who gave me all the best travel picks. Former editor of Town & Country magazine, Bradley is a seasoned traveler and founder of Indagare Travel. Her travel agents design trips for discriminating, sophisticated foreign travelers seeking particularly memorable experiences, and all of her writers have personal experience in the places they write about.
Deemed by Vogue as the luxury travel authority and by Vanity Fair, UK as the best travel website, it’s no wonder people are flocking to Indagare for all their travel advice.
Here are some of were Bradley and Indagare’s top picks:
Located at a historic site of royal palaces and spiritual maharaja pilgrimages, Ananda Spa is a place of breathtaking beauty that channels both history and spirituality.
Ananda Spa is located in India and combines traditional Indian wellness regimes of Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta with an international wellness experience for the mind, body and soul. Located at a historic site of royal palaces and spiritual maharaja pilgrimages, it’s a place of breathtaking beauty that channels both history and spirituality. The luxury spa treatments and exceptional cuisine follow Ayurvedic philosophies. Some of the many treatments include oil and herbal massages, reiki healing with crystals, and an ear candling approach to relaxation that originated with Hopi Indians and incorporates facial massage to clear congestion and balance the ears. Says Melissa Bradley, “At Ananda, people can tap into natural rhythms through yoga, meditation, visualizations, being out of doors.”
Bhutan is well-suited for adventurers and families who enjoy a nice hike, winding roads, dramatic mountain landscapes, authentic lodges made of stone and glass situated between rivers, forests, and valleys, temples, monasteries with copper bathtubs and chanting monks.
Bhutan is often considered the last Buddhist kingdom. Lying at the foot of a towering mountain range that separates India and China, this pristine tiny country has remained virtually untouched by the outside world and western influences, until recently. Though government requires that every visitor have a guide and spend a certain amount per day for travel services, the experience and location are well worth the penny. This very popular destination is well-suited for adventurers and families who enjoy a nice hike, winding roads, dramatic mountain landscapes, authentic lodges made of stone and glass situated between rivers, forests, and valleys, temples, monasteries with copper bathtubs and chanting monks. According to Bradley, “From the mystical Himalayas to ancient cliff-clinging monasteries, there may be no better place for rejuvenation.”
One of Chiva Sum’s best features is excellent cuisine which surprises guests with pure ingredients that reimagine the complex and balanced flavors of Thai cooking and incorporate the best in local seafood and produce, exotic herbs and spices.
Chiva Sum is a beachside tropical health resort that combines luxury and elegance with spa amenities that include a flotation pool, sauna, and Jacuzzi. It earns its numerous travel awards by providing luxury Thai-style accommodations (Rainforest and Fragrance Suites with butler service), some affording spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand. The spa features the latest in eastern and western approaches to beauty and rejuvenation: crystal healing therapies, chakra balancing, and on-site plastic surgeons. One of their best features is excellent cuisine which surprises guests with pure ingredients that reimagine the complex and balanced flavors of Thai cooking and incorporate the best in local seafood and produce, exotic herbs and spices. The resort attracts sophisticated international travelers, and with their unique focus on fitness and health, draws in solo travelers as well.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare:
- What’s the best way to get around in India?
Fly between cities when possible. Roads have improved in recent years, but driving can be a harrowing, albeit fascinating adventure. Trains are more of a romantic notion than a practical way to get from place-to-place.
- What health precautions do you recommend?
Staying healthy in Asia is simpler than many expect. When exploring, it’s best to stick with bottled water and exercise restraint with street foods and raw fruits and vegetables. These particular spas, however, have phenomenal chefs and are accustomed to adapting Indian cuisine for international guests.
- Are vaccinations or visas recommended?
No specific shots are required. It’s best to consult with your doctor to make sure all standard travel vaccinations are up-to-date. Visiting Bhutan requires a visa.
- Is language a barrier for visitors?
Someone who understands basic English is never far away. Keep an eye out for younger people who might have learned English in school. It’s usually appreciated if you open a conversation with a few attempted phrases in the local dialect.
- What’s the best time to travel to these destinations?
For Bhutan, it’s optimal to travel in the fall and spring and avoid traveling in the winter (November – March) and summer (July and August). If you’re going to Thailand, the best time to travel is November through April which is the dry season.
- Do you have any advice about political unrest or economic deprivation?
I do not know of anything particular for India or Thailand at this time; both seem relatively stable. Many travel to India with the thought that prolific poverty may sour their experience but find that the people and the spirit of India trump any downside.
- Any advice about accommodations or hygiene?
These are 5-star luxury resorts with exceptional hygiene.
- How much time should the traveler allow for the optimum experience?
Ten days to two weeks. Getting there requires multiple flights and can take one or two days.
These trips are designed for travelers who seek contemplation and a holistic or spiritual experience, and these unique resorts will open your eyes to beautiful landscapes, vibrant people, and new perspectives.
Lisa Stahl, a native New Yorker, has authored many articles that graced the cover pages of magazines and websites. She’s the author of two distance-learning courses on fashion and contributed substantial research and content on politics and foreign policy to three books by a political analyst and adviser to Hillary Clinton. Lisa’s achievements include an MA in English with honors from Columbia University.
She also studied piano at Juilliard.