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Asia’s best detox destinations

Where to find the perfect heartbreak hotels, burnout repairs and soul cleanses

By Mihika Pai  March 3rd, 2016

For Astro Aid: Dwarika’s Resort, Dhulikhel, Nepal

Just an hour outside Kathmandu, and set amidst the jaw-dropping grandeur of the Himalayas, Dwarika’s programs align with the region’s history and healing practices. Soak up the good energy in the cosmologically sound Garden of Nine Planets (maybe consult the in-house astrologer?), restore your inner balance at the Chakra Sound Therapy Chamber or start your day in the sun-soaked Meditation Maze, surrounded by 84 shiva lingas. Packages start at Rs 2,00,000 for 10 nights.

For Natural Beauty: Vana Malsi Estate, Dehradun

This five-star ashram and wellness retreat is home to 50 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools, four yoga pavilions, and mango and lychee orchards. Vana’s all-round commitment to comfy wellness trickles into its contemporary suites, bespoke experiences like Sufi singing and mindful tea rituals. Their 10-night Beauty and Relaxation retreat offers full-throttle indulgence in the form of synchronised massages, Watsu (aquatic therapy) and deep cleansing facials, using the all-natural (and available to buy) in-house spa range, Vanaveda. Single rooms start at Rs 25,000 per night.

For Healthy Qi: Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia

Tucked into Bali’s dense jungles, Como Shambhala’s invigorating detox plans offer the gamut from Ayurvedic healing to stress management to basic fitness. Their three-night Oriental medicine program balances mental and physical energy systems through acupuncture, massage and Qigong. Drink up from their range of fresh juices; Liven Up Your Liver, a delicious blend of apple, spinach, cauliflower, garlic, ginger and turmeric could wean you off coffee for good. The Oriental Medicine package starts at Rs 1,00,000 per night.

For Medical Help: Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort, Beruwala, Sri Lanka

If you’re looking to target specific medical complaints from recurring migraines to hypertension, Barberyn fits the bill. Here you’ll really get to know your doshas — an Ayurvedic map of your constitution — and learn to pick up on your body’s calls for help. An Ayurvedic physician consults in the dining hall at mealtimes to help you understand what foods work best for you, and customised treatments, yoga and meditation round off your recovery plan. The Ayurvedic health plan starts at Rs 11,400 per night.

For strong cores: Ananda in the Himalayas, Rishikesh

When it comes to spa retreats, Ananda firmly holds on to its exalted position with a stellar treatment menu, unbeatable location and a stunning property (it was once a palace). The newest addition to their repertoire is the Ananda Active Program, which focuses on building cardiovascular and muscular endurance through yoga, treks, boot camps, white water rafting and good old gym sessions. Luckily, it’s not all heavy lifting; the program is complemented with post-workout Abhyanga massages. The five-day Ananda Active Program starts at Rs 22,000 per night.

For water therapy: Song Saa Private Island, Shanoukville, Cambodia

Situated on the far-flung Koh Ouen island (there’s nothing around for miles), Song Saa’s three wellness programs — Revive, Refresh and Rejuvenate — are designed to reflect a spirit of sustainable luxury. Their rustic villas are constructed with driftwood and recycled boats that look on to lush forests and turquoise waters. Try something unusual from their list of healing programs, like paddle-board yoga or underwater meditation, where you dive into the shallow depths of the sea and gaze up at a fiery sunset. Packages start at  Rs 60,000 for five nights.

For fresh starts: Kalari Kovilakom, Palakkad

A stay at this Ayurverdic haven housed in the understated luxury of a former royal residence is a right treat. Kalari offers four programs (for detox, weight loss, healthy aging and stress-busting) with strict guidelines: sparse meals, no leather, no alcohol, no caffeine and no social media. The Panch Karma program is the most sought-after treatment here and even though the elimination processes (colon cleanses, enemas, even bloodletting with leeches) sound drastic, they are said to leave you feeling reborn. The 28-day Panch Karma program costs Rs 7,44,500.

For sweaty nirvana: Phuket Cleanse, Phuket, Thailand

If sweating it out is a must, you may as well do it in a tropical paradise. Phuket Cleanse, a beachside villa, employs an intensive fitness program and raw vegan diet (don’t balk just yet, the chef’s supposed to be kind of a genius) for a complete toxin purge. A typical day begins with a healthy liquid breakfast and includes three 90-minute workouts like hot yoga, Muay Thai, aerial aerobics, TRX and Pilates. Every Tuesday, a day trip is organised to the nearby Thanayapura, a world-class training facility with tennis courts, an Olympic-sized pool and track. Packages start at Rs 1,20,000 for three nights.

For creative calm: Andretta Pottery, Kangra Valley

he focus and patience required to create something from scratch is the most potent form of meditation — and pottery demands both. Another Himalayan gem, the Andretta Pottery School is run by Mansimran ‘Mini’ Singh, son of renowned potter Gurcharan Singh. Enjoy the pace of life in a charming hamlet as you learn to find the wheel’s centre, and your own. A three-month course is required to master the wheel, and costs Rs 90,000.

For silent treatments: Tushita Meditation Centre, Mcleodganj

Escape to the hills above Dharamshala, the seat of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, for a introduction to Buddhism. The centre offers a 10-day course for beginners. Most of the time is spent in silence, with two meditation sessions, yoga and two discourses daily that elaborate on the mainstays of the faith, such as karma, reincarnation, happiness, mindfulness and enlightenment. The centre accepts donations starting Rs 6,000 for the 10-day course. 

For ascetic bliss: Ulpotha, Dambulla, Sri Lanka

This Sri Lankan village opens its doors to visitors for six months in the year (November-March and June-August). Ulpotha helps the city-weary reconnect with nature using a combination of Ayurveda and yoga and genuinely rustic living. Guests live in wooden huts without solid doors, eat farm-to-table meals in an open pavilion and are visited by some of the greatest yoga gurus in the world. There is no pool here; instead you swim in a lily pond. You’ll leave with the glow of good karma — all revenue is used to support the local community. Packages start from Rs 1,97,700 for 14 days.

For pressure tests: The farm at San Benito, Philippines

This medi-spa, nestled in tropical wilderness, is known for their weight loss, detox and skincare programs that blend Eastern and Western wellness techniques, to offer treatments ranging from Ventosa cupping (hot suction cups used on the back) to the oddly-therapeutic art of flower arranging. Burnout victims can pick the stress-management program that uses craniosacral therapy, psychoemotional clearing, reiki and colon hydrotherapy. Bonus: a well-loved organic menu that offers treats like raw-chocolate desserts. You’ve earned that halo. Rooms start at Rs 13,000 per night. Rate does not include therapy packages.

For love fixes: Mae Hia, Thailand

Founded by English couple, Chrissy Richman and Alex Gunn, the Life Change People combine counselling sessions with holiday therapy to tackle the knotty issues of adulthood. If you need to repair a worn-out relationship, sign up for their Couples Therapy Retreat. Motivational psychologist Richman will meet you for a total of 20-24 counselling hours, held daily, either with your partner or individually, in Chiang Mai’s beautiful Puripunn Boutique Hotel. These are interspersed with cooking lessons, trips to the elephant camp, hikes and spa sessions. They also offer a kind of after-sales service, three months of counselling support after you leave. The seven-night Couples Therapy Retreat costs Rs 1,20,400.

For mind control: Kamalaya, Koh Samui, Thailand

This Koh Samui spa retreat is built around a cave formerly used for chanting by Buddhist monks, which is probably why it still exudes an aura of deep calm. Apart from the usual wellness, detox and Ayurveda sessions, the ‘Embracing Change’ program helps you cope with loss, heartbreak and anxiety through consultations with the in-house experts, meditation and fitness sessions and an introduction to Chinese medicine. All this with the added charm of a beach vacation. The five-night Embracing Change package costs Rs 88,000.

For holistic healing: Soukya, Bangalore

The vision of Dr Isaac Mathai, one of India’s leading holistic experts, Soukya is the Sanskrit word for well-being. Spiritual leaders, rockstars and royalty (Dalai Lama, Sting, Tina Turner, Prince Charles and Camilla) swear by Soukya’s holistic healing program that’s a blend of Ayurveda, homeopathy and naturopathy, complemented with an organic diet, meditation and yoga. The lush surroundings, gurgling fountains and organic farms do hasten along the healing process nicely. Packages start at ` 10,000 per night. Rate does not include accommodation.