koh samui beach

Find your bliss in Koh Samui. (Photo: Getty Images)


Beaches or Mountains? Whichever You Prefer, Here’s Where to Find Your Solace in Asia

Every traveler on every vacation seeks a sense of space and peace, whether it’s the chance to sunbathe in silence under new skies or inhale restorative lungfuls of fresh mountain air. But in travel’s new paradigm, the chance to truly reconnect with nature brings with it a whole new sense of purpose.

Choosing to spend time outdoors has been proven to benefit both body and soul by reducing stress and anxiety, even to the point of lowering blood pressure. So with Asia’s stunning diversity of landscapes, experiences and cultures, the only challenge is choosing where to head first to reset and find that sense of peace.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Another spot to find that sought-after sense of peace is Koh Samui, where the waves lap gently, the sun shines down and all seems well in the world as your toes nestle in warm sand.

There are few better places than this famed island, which sits in the azure surrounds of the Gulf of Thailand. Your idea of beach action may mean nothing more than soaking up tropical rays, but relaxing the body and soul could include succumbing to famed local Thai massages.

Lantau Island, Hong Kong

lantau island
Visit the Buddha on Lantau Island. (Photo: Getty Images)

Hong Kong’s largest island, Lantau offers a mesmerizing combination of jungle-clad mountains and teeming waterfalls, deserted beaches and country parks, all of which allow locals and visitors alike to soothe their souls.

Iconic walking trails include Sunset Peak for the ultimate in jaw-dropping vistas — and Instagram gold — while the island’s Big Buddha, a stunning 34-meter (112-foot) bronze statue, allows visitors to climb to different levels to admire the landmark.

Dotted with monasteries, temples and a beguiling variety of flora and fauna, Lantau reveals a whole new side to Hong Kong.

Seven Star Mountain, Taiwan

The highest mountain in the Taipei area, and Taiwan’s highest dormant volcano, Qixing Mountain — translated in English as “Seven Star Mountain” — rises majestically some 1,120 meters (3,674 feet) above the Yangmingshan National Park.

The views and sense of peace here almost defy belief, with the skyscrapers of Taipei, forested hillsides and rugged coastline all unfurling beneath you. Hikers and walkers can choose a trail to suit, but all offer true escape, tranquility — and an especially welcome dose of positive feng shui energy.

Bali, Indonesia

bali water and rock formations
Get a ‘Gram-worthy picture in Bali. (Photo: Getty Images)

The magical Indonesian island of Bali hardly needs introduction to those seeking true repose for body and soul thanks to its reputation as a tropical paradise escape with a distinct and genuinely spiritual feel.

The beaches that line sweeping coastlines are largely black sand, making for a stunning contrast with the crashing white surf and jaw-dropping slow sunsets that have made it rightly famous.

Mornings may include yoga sessions on the beach to welcome the day, while an elegant but relaxed dining scene rounds off the day in style.

Langkawi, Malaysia

A slightly off-radar Southeast Asian gem, which has a habit of enchanting the curious traveler, Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands sitting serenely in the Strait of Malacca that combines dramatic, jungle-covered interiors, mountains and terraced paddy fields with palm trees that fringe perfect white sand beaches.

The sense of escape and room to breathe is tangible as you find yourself among just a handful of sun worshippers lucky to have discovered these dramatic but placid shores.

Mount Nantai, Nikko; Japan

Few destinations can match Japan when it comes to immersion in and connection with nature — this is, after all, the country that gave us forest bathing.

One of countless dazzling destinations is Nikko, where a magnificent volcano called Mount Nantai — fear not, it last erupted 7,000 years ago — is a revered and spiritual landmark marked by hiking trails, waterfalls and hot springs, all overlooking the sublimely picturesque Lake Chuzenji.

Whether you’re hiking, biking or paddling, a true sense of peace is guaranteed.