It is believed that spending some time in nature can help you release stress and feel refreshed. The Greek physician and occasional philosopher Hippocrates, known as the ‘Father of Medicine’ put it best: “Nature itself is the best physician”. Although he wrote these words some 2,400 years ago, they have arguably never been truer than today. Even without a global pandemic, our fast-paced urban lives often disconnect us from the planet we inhabit.
But as we gradually recover from Covid, we can take the time to reconnect with nature – and with it find a sense of purpose and peace, benefitting both the body and mind. A growing body of evidence suggests that spending time outdoors can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate.
So whether it’s swimming waters teeming with life or hiking peaks, the only question is which of these brilliant outdoor escapes to choose to help you re-set and relax like never before.
Snorkel in the Andaman Sea’s crystal-clear waters
The tropical paradise of Krabi in Thailand is home to Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve resort that lets you discover Hong Island, Paradise Island and Pak Bia Island by traditional longtail boat. This island-hopping excursion to visit some of the Andaman Sea’s best-kept secrets provides secluded havens for swimming in crystal-clear lagoons that teem with wildlife. Back at the Phulay Bay resort, guests can relax further in the stunning natural beauty of Krabi that surrounds them, be that exploring the surrounding virgin rainforests, glistening beaches and majestic waterfalls where the only timepiece you’ll need is the sun.
When you stay at Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, Koh Samui, you’ll enjoy a complimentary round-trip boat excursion to Koh Madsum, better known as Pig Island. The tiny spot takes its name from the pigs that roam freely on the sand and in the jungled clad interior. It’s an idyllic environment in which to enjoy the perfect white sand beach, bathe in the clear blue ocean and marvel at the underwater world. The resort’s convenient location also makes it the perfect base to explore Koh Samui’s surprising and diverse landscapes and seascapes.
Bali’s waterfalls and rice terraces
Bali is renowned as one of the most spiritual destinations anywhere, as well as an island of extraordinary natural diversity. The Westin Resort & Spa Ubud, Bali sits in the historical royal capital, nestled in stunning tropical terraces lush green hillside and picturesque rice paddle fields. As if that wasn’t already enough, then abundant natural beauty can also be seen at Ubud Monkey Forest and Campuhan Ridge Walk, a free and easy nature trek which takes you through temples, bridges, shrines and rice paddies. Other easily accessible outdoor adventures include mountain biking, rafting and ecotours.
Located in Nusa Dua, The Ritz-Carlton, Bali is set on 12.7 hectares of expansive and beautifully manicured beachfront and cliff-top land. This expansive property is already a natural wonder in its own right, thanks to unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean and its dramatic location along the sweeping coastline. The luxury resort reinforces The Ritz-Carlton’s commitment to inspiring life’s most meaningful journeys, including in Nusa Dua’s lush volcanic mountains and verdant rice paddies. These experiences highlight and reinforce the healing power of nature – but guests are also encouraged to discover why Bali is a destination where people seek peace and quiet in every sense of life.
Hiking Hong Kong’s Trails
As a densely populated city with literally thousands of skyscrapers, it’s easy to forget that Hong Kong is also a natural wonderland, with countless trails, beaches, mountains and parks to keep even the most experienced hiker busy for a lifetime. The newly opened Sheraton Hong Kong Tung Chung Hotel, situated in picturesque Tung Chung on Lantau Island, could not be better positioned to let you explore. The iconic Ngong Ping trail, Big Buddha and the challenging – but truly breathtaking – Sunset Peak are all right on your doorstep.
Over on the south side of Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is another green urban retreat from the city center, which reinforces the stunning diversity of the city’s landscapes. Connecting with nature doesn’t get easier as beautiful Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay are minutes away, while picture-perfect hiking and jogging trails lead through some of Hong Kong’s finest coastlines and country parks. Don’t miss the splendid coastal views of Sham Wan, Ap Lei Chau and Lamma Island, all while breathing in the fresh country air.