Don’t Just Eat-Pray-Love: This is How You Soul-Search in the Tropics

Here's how you actually do it.
by | April 25, 2016

Seeking spiritual nourishment—or maybe just a break from all of the familiar world—need not look like Julia Roberts’ character’s journey in Eat, Pray, Love. It can be simpler, with less of the hassle.

Here are six ways to find yourself in tropical Asia. 


Unplug on a weekend retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand

Book a private paradise in W Retreat in calm and beautiful Koh Samui. The resort offers luxury oases and havens that only you (and your other) will have access to for the length of your stay.

This break is perfect for people who want to detach from the real world and get to know themselves in an isolated location but not without the comforts they enjoy having.

Rooms range from PHP25,000 to PHP160,000 a night, inclusive of amenities and breakfast. Book your soul-searching trip here.

Detox on a week-long retreat in Batangas, Philippines

Eat well, relax and get rid of the bad juju in your system at The Farm at San Benito. The award-winning wellness resort near Tagaytay and the world-famous Taal Volcano offers accommodations, detoxing and rejuvenating treatments like the Filipino massage, hilot.

Head to The Farm if you want some serious pampering. Here, you can find yourself, and feel brand new—ready for whatever life is going to throw at you next.

The minimum stay for the detox retreat is seven days and will cost you a starter rate of PHP9,000++ per night in a room for two. Book your reservations here.

Learn to surf and do some yoga on a week-long retreat in Matara, Sri Lanka

Get the most satisfying stoke on a trip to Talalla Retreat a little over three hours from Colombo by train. The seaside resort caters to yoga practitioners and surfers of any level, no prior experience required.

Take this trip if you want a unique brand of renewal and of course, self-discovery. Who knows—what if you were meant to be a surfer?

The retreat costs around PHP79,000 covering premium meals, a luxury villa, surfing and yoga lessons and workshops, access to amenities and equipment, and even a movie of your trip. Learn more about their packages here.

Go off the grid on a weekend retreat in Camarines Norte, Philippines

Paradise doesn’t have to cost an entire year’s paycheck—not even an entire cutoff’s. Book a trip to the secluded, pristine and cell service-free Calaguas Island in the Pacific Ocean, about two hours off the coast of Vinzons, Camarines Norte.

Take this long but ultimately rewarding journey from the capital city if you want a naturally picturesque getaway from the staid urban person you’ve become. The fine white sand and crystal clear waters will wake up whatever died inside you.

A weekend tour will cost around PHP4,100 including meals, accommodations, and transfers from Manila and back. Read up on tour packages here.

Live and breathe yoga on a 10-day retreat in Uttarakhand, India


It’s going to be hard to top a yoga retreat set in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of the Ganges River. At a 10-day program at Rishikesh Yoga Ashram you’ll wake up before 5am to bathe your soul “in the peace of sacred energies, including those that emanate from nature and those that linger from the timeless healing powers of saints, sages and holy ones.”

Needless to say pilgrimage at the ashram will give your search for self a highly—universally—spiritual framework and it may precisely be what your soul is looking for.

The retreat the Rishikesh ashram—including board and lodging in one of their 1000 rooms—is free but pilgrims are encouraged to offer donations. For more info, click here.

Meditate on a 60-day retreat in Hse Main Gon, Burma

Apply to this annual meditation event at the Panditarama Forest Meditation Center, 45 miles north of the Burmese capital, Yangon, and follow a strict, ascetic schedule from December 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. You’ll wake up at 3am, eat breakfast, and then meditate in different poses for most of the day until 10pm.

This will be a great reprieve for practicing yogis. If you feel like the 60-day program is too hardcore, you can also apply for the round-the-year 10-day program, assisted by a senior monk.

The program including board and lodging is free, but the center depends entirely on donations, thus attendees are encouraged to donate before and after a program.


Find yourself in Asia:

Reversing Destiny in Gifu, Japan
Biking at Bangkok’s Green Lungs
Inside Kampong Phluk, Cambodia
Myanmar: Exploring Roads Less Traveled

Jozza Alegre Palaganas prefers staying in one place for long-ish periods of time when she travels. Partly because she likes to pretend she's local, but mostly because she's sentimental.

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