If health and exercise are your idea of a holiday, check out these activities that call for a bit more adrenalin pumping through your veins – set in some of Asia’s most incredible places.
A HIKER’S WINTER WONDERLAND
There’s no better way to see the rugged beauty of East Hokkaido than walking right through its terrain. Ideal for anyone who can walk six hours at a gentle pace, this eight-day, sevennight snowshoe exploration by Walk Japan begins at the fishing port of Kushiro and ends in the hot spring resort town of Utoro. You’ll be traversing majestic landscapes bordered by Hokkaido’s Daisetsuzan National Park, the Shiretoko Peninsula and the islands of Russia’s Siberian Far East. While sunny weather brings alpine fresh air and brilliant blue skies, the soft falling of snow is a magical experience that envelops your walking troop in serene stillness. Once night falls, stay cosy in your provided accommodation or unwind in an onsen hot spring bath. Meals are catered for from sumptuous, locally sourced ingredients. Price 498,000 yen (around $6,620) per person for accommodation, all transfers, snowshoe rental, all breakfasts, all dinners and some lunches. Visit www.walkjapan.com.
B SURFER’S PARADISE
Considered the home of surfing in the Philippines, Siargao is known for the legendary “Cloud 9”, a fabled surfing break with thick, hollow tubes. Check in at Dedon Island, a beautiful boutique resort with 27km of the coastline exposed to swell. It caters to a range of water sports, with surfing being the most popular, as the island’s sensational waves are perfect for anyone wishing to hone her skills. The friendly team at Dedon Island will arrange boards and transport to the best surfing spots, as well as private instructors if needed. Surfing is excellent for cardiovascular fitness and building up strength in your shoulders, back, legs and core – and you’ll end up wanting more. Price From US$630 (around $877) per person per night via The Luxe Nomad for accommodation, all meals and beverages, airport transfers and all activities, including private surfing lessons. Visit www.dedonisland.com.
C KICKBOXER’S PLAYGROUND
Samujana in Koh Samui is the kickboxing lover’s holiday of choice, as it offers sublime sea and hillside views, as well as some of Thailand’s best muay thai classes. Book ahead with muay thai experts Andi Jones or Jessica Palmred for either private or group lessons, depending on the level of intensity and instruction you require. Sessions are offered at your villa or at a nearby off-site gym if a sparring ring is required for more advanced participants. This form of martial art, also known as the national sport of Thailand, is a great stress reliever and has numerous physical benefits, including boosting the speed, agility, strength and cardiovascular endurance of the practitioner. You’ll be leaner, fitter and thanking us in no time. Price From 1,500 baht ($60) per person for a group class or from 2,500 baht ($100) per person for a private class. Visit www.samujana.com.
D CYCLIST’S OFFTHE- BEATEN-TRACK ADVENTURE
Cycling in Bhutan has almost become a national pastime. Boasting a vertiginous landscape that makes both onand off-road mountain biking a treat for the senses, the South Asian country also hosts the Tour of the Dragon, a 268km cycling race that stretches from Bumthang to Thimpu. Sounds inspiring? Book in with Druk Asia for your own cycling tour. There’s a seven- or 17-day itinerary, or an option to tailor your own adventure to your preferred number of days. Both tours start from the historic Paro Valley, before veering off to its own set of mountain passes, valleys, villages, rice paddies and monasteries. The more challenging 17-day ride tackles Chele La Pass, Bhutan’s highest road pass. You’ll return with greater muscle strength and improved joint mobility – and a deeper understanding of its rich culture. Price US$1,840 (around $2,562) per person for the seven-day itinerary and US$4,540 (around $6,320) per person for the 17-day itinerary via Druk Asia. Visit www.drukasia.com.
E YOGI’S LUXURY RETREAT
It’s time to hit the reset button. Yogis looking to push themselves to new heights, or to gain fresh perspectives on life, should escape to a quiet place and devote a solid amount of time to the meditative practice. Enter Alila Diwa Goa, a stunning resort offering stellar yoga classes that overlook the verdant rice plantations in South Goa, India. Each yoga class is led by one of Spa Alila’s four yoga gurus, certified in the Ashtanga and Hatha form of practice, designed to bring balance to your mind and body. Private sessions are recommended to keep each yogi’s individual needs in mind. Yoga classes are conducted by the hour, or as part of Spa Alila’s Detox Detour, which infuses elements of yoga with Ayurveda, hypnotherapy and pranic healing. Expect to be well rejuvenated and recharged after this. Price 1,500 Indian rupees (around $32) per person for the Ashtanga Private Yoga Class or 66,000 Indian rupees (around $1,373) upwards per person for the Detox Detour Package (accommodation included). Visit www.alilahotels.com/diwagoa.