Want to switch up from beach resorts and island getaways? Imagine losing yourself in an exotic nature retreat somewhere in Asia, with nothing but lush green jungles, rich plantations, and clear river streams all around you. If that kind of holiday sounds rejuvenating, then start getting your bags packed, because we’ve put together a list of the best jungle retreats from Asia to help you get reacquainted with Mother Nature – in luxurious comfort, of course.
Elephant Hills, Thailand
Despite the name, don’t expect to ride any elephants at this luxury tented jungle experience. Instead, you can play with, feed, and even bathe the 11 gentle giants that live in the two neighbouring camps; or head out to the Khao Lak rainforests and mangrove swamps for some canoeing or trekking. Your abode? Tailor-made tents equipped with all the creature comforts you have at home and more. Best of all: they offer complimentary transfers from nearby beach destinations like Phuket, Khanom, Krabi, and even Koh Samui.
Naked Stables Private Reserve, Shanghai
This isn’t a nudist resort, if that’s what you’re thinking. Naked Stables is the first luxury resort in China to achieve LEED Platinum certification, boasting 121 rooms spread across an expansive valley and surrounded by lush tropical greens. Choose from a Tree Top Villa or Earth Hut – depending on how close to the ground you like to be – to get settled before heading out to ride horses, pick tea leaves, relax by the nature-inspired infinity pool, get pampered in your private jacuzzi, or get the works at the Naked Leaf Spa. Exclusive, surreal, and unprecedented.
Nandini Bali Jungle Resort and Spa, Bali
Looking for a traditional Balinese experience? Nandini Bali Jungle Resort is modelled after the island’s local villages, combining the luxury of a top-tier resort with the rawness of the surrounding forests. You’ll find 18 beautiful villas (Jungle View or Sunrise) landscaped into the hillside itself, each offering luxe furnishings, air-conditioning (of course), and uninterrupted views of the magnificent river gorge down below. But don’t spend all your time in the villa – we recommend going out to explore the monkey forest, take a dip in the astounding hillside pool, or going to the local village to experience authentic Balinese culture.
Rainforest Eco Lodge, Sri Lanka
Located within Sri Lanka’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sinharaja Forest, Rainforest Eco Lodge is right smack in the middle of a vibrant fauna-flora kaleidoscope. Think 16 chalets (comprising a bedroom, washroom, living area, and a private deck) constructed from recycled shipping containers at almost 1000 metres above sea level, with large tea plantations down below and all around you. Perfect for the eco-tourists or simply those looking to recharge their mind and soul.
Dusuntara Jungle Retreat, Malaysia
For a more affordable getaway, the cosy Dusuntara Jungle Retreat is a firm favourite among locals and tourists around the region. Less than hour’s drive away from the buzzing Kuala Lumpur, choose from one of two rustic chalets (air-conditioned, of course) sitting amongst the foliage of Batang Kali before spending a day fishing in the lakes, or wading in the lovely salt water pool. The retreat is run by the passionate husband-and-wife team of Kamal and Hawa, and you can expect scrumptious home cooked meals from the couple, including old-fashioned barbeque sessions that will leave you craving for more. We even hear some people visit just for the food!
Rain Forest Resort, Thailand
Thailand’s Rain Forest Resort might be unassuming in name, but the resort easily impresses with its well-designed cottages, decked out in all the modern comforts you may require. Plus, its unique location makes for a great base to visit the world-famous Sukhothai and Sri Satchanalai Historical Parks, as well as the spectacular Kangsong Waterfall, which is just minutes away on foot. You’ll also find an organic farm here, next to a fascinating four-storey tree-house restaurant that serves delicious Thai and Chinese specialities, and locally grown coffee.
Permai Rainforest Resort, Borneo
If you’ve always wanted to try living in a treehouse, look no further than the Permai Rainforest Resort, just north of Kuching. With each of its 10 air-conditioned units built some 20 feet above the ground, you’ll be sleeping high up within the forest canopy and waking to the chirping of birds (and occasionally insects) and calm waves, seeing as the resort faces the South China Sea. And no, you won’t have to climb down just to use the bathroom – each unit is well-furnished and comes with an ensuite toilet. Activities here include jungle trekking and overnight trips into the forest to high ropes courses, sea kayaking, and even dolphin watching.
Top Image: Rain Forest Resort