7 Fantastic Wellness Vacations Around The World To Take In 2023

Life can be rather full-on, whether you are working or have already retired. There is

Life can be rather full-on, whether you are working or have already retired. There is always somebody who wants something from you, and more often than not, they are demanding your immediate attention. Me-time is at a premium. However, the old saying ”A change is as good as a rest” can be used to your advantage to disconnect from day-to-day demands.

It does not matter whether you take time out in an environment that is utterly alien to you, such as the desert. Go for a complete wellness overhaul or simply connect with nature. You can push your body to its fitness limits or simply say “Om” in a retreat far away from home. You could even embark on a trip that is out of your normal comfort zone but completely disconnects from your normal life, offering a change in pace and routine.

Here are some ideas that allow you to leave your daily life behind for a while and switch off from daily worries. You will be gathering strength, wellness, fitness, and new impressions, ready for your normal life to have you back with a vengeance.

Sunset at Undara

Photo credit: Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey

1. Camping In The Australian Outback

Not Your Normal Vacation

As I was driving more and more miles inland from the Northern Queensland Coast, I was beginning to wonder what would await me. Surrounded by lava tubes, volcanic craters, and endless bushland, the Undara Experience offers an experience you would never get in cities such as Sydney or Melbourne, and I was out of my comfort zone.

I can be a little spoiled when it comes to travel, with a nice hotel, spa, and fine-dining restaurants. But this time, I was going to stay in a Wi-Fi-free disused train carriage, with shared bathrooms a short walk away. Breakfast is not served, instead, you have to toast your bread over an open fire, while the coffee (toe-curlingly strong) brews in a billy can, a tin can suspended above the flames. Kangaroos watched me sitting on a log nibbling my toast, and kookaburras tried (and on one occasion succeeded) to steal it by swooping down, while local countryside walks came complete with sunsets and countless bats.

While I would have liked an en-suite toilet rather than having to brave the Australian outdoors when needing to visit the bathroom in the middle of the night, after a couple of days, I felt like a new woman. This is a reset of lifestyle which does you good.

Pro Tip: In case you are panicking, you don’t have to go and see the bats, so don’t worry. However, the wildlife walks are very much part of the experience.

palm trees at dusk

Sunset at Palapon in Thailand

Photo credit: Palapon Fitness Camp

2. Reboot Your Fitness In Thailand

Aimed At The 60+ Crowd

A friend of mine took herself off to Thailand for three weeks and came back healthier, fitter, and trimmer. The secret was that she did not go on vacation as such but had booked herself into a boot camp. In a beautiful setting, surrounded by like-minded people who either want to work on their fitness or their weight, this can be done under expert supervision, with a gentle, or sometimes not-so-gentle push to overcome your demons, and with good healthy food. Palapon is a camp at the beach resort of Hua Hin. It is about 125 miles south of Bangkok and offers, among other options, a specific camp for the over 60s, who want to work on their fitness and general well-being. You can stay in an apartment or a bungalow and the scheduled itinerary and group sessions make it perfect for solo travelers.

Pro Tip: This retreat is perfect for a city break in Bangkok on the way for a bit of culture and shopping, getting the most out of beautiful Thailand.

hot tub and pool at mountain hotel

Armancette Hotel pool views

Photo credit: Armancette Hotel, Chalets & Spa / The Leading Hotels of the World

3. Address Your Inner And Outer Beauty In France

Wellness Hotel In The French Alps

A visit to France does not have to be all about Paris or Provence, sightseeing, or lying on the beach. Instead, you could seclude yourself away from the world’s hustle and bustle and stay in the mountains to get pampered and overhauled inside and out. From massages and scrubs to manicures and hair treatments, L’Armancette Hôtel, Chalets & Spa – The Leading Hotels of the World in Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France offers luxury and indulgence, all in a beautiful setting. Once you are sick of having daily treatments, you can always either do yoga or maybe go skiing on the nearby slopes.

 Either way, this is a setting and hotel where you can disconnect from your normal routine (even though there is Wi-Fi and TV, you can try and ignore those). You will come back refreshed, relaxed, and after all the beauty treatments, maybe even with a new hair color and overall glow. Personally, although I’m more of a seaside person, I found just sitting quietly looking at mountains (Mont Blanc is just there!) seems to be food for the soul. Add pampering and you’ve got a perfect disconnect.

Pro Tip: Auvergne is famous for its culinary delights and excellent food is good for the soul as well, right? Don’t forget to stop over in nearby Lyon while you’re there.

aerial view of serene looking Zulal Wellness Resort Qatar

Zulal Wellness Resort Qatar

Photo credit: Zulal Wellness Resort

4. A Complete Wellness Overhaul In Qatar

Mental And Physical Assessments And Treatments

I am not one for sitting still for very long, but reclining onto the heated, tiled bed surrounded by orange-hued walls made from Himalayan salt bricks, I relaxed as I have never relaxed before. It was a prescription from my initial assessment, which stated that I was too stressed and work-focused, and needed to learn to breathe. The Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som assesses all newcomers and tells them probably exactly what they do not want to hear. 

You have to leave your phone, laptop, and earthly clothes behind. Then get into the spirit of mindful well-being and into the provided pajama-type clothing. The resort, with a garden that is 90 percent edible and medicinal, a library of more than 4,000 books, and restaurants that count calories and nutrition, promises to release you in much better shape than before, mentally as well as physically. After the little time I spent there, I believe them.

Pro Tip: This is a total retreat from the outside world. A digital and modern life detox that is perfect for solo travelers. Zulal also has a separate section for families.

woman sitting by a tree on the bank in the woods

Forest Bathing walk in Wicklow

Photo credit: Forest Bathing Wicklow

5. Forest Bathing Retreat In Ireland

Get Back To Nature

Originating in Japan, forest bathing is an easy way of reconnecting with nature by simply walking through a forest and allowing the quietness, the dappled light, the smells, and the surroundings to calm you down. It is scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure. stress, and boost your immune system. While you can participate in experiences in places such as Japan and France, why not try Forest Bathing Walks in County Wicklow? Ireland is not known as the Green Isle for nothing. The forests around Wicklow are simply lovely. You can sample the experience through 2.5-hour-long walks.  If you like it, explore further with yoga sessions or sound baths in the forest.

Pro Tip: Ireland is a road trip country and Wicklow is just south of Dublin along the coastal route toward Wexford, so why not stop off and give it a try?

looking out at the desert from a pool

Desert views from Al Maha Resort & Spa

Photo credit: Al Maha Resort Alonna Nesto

6. Luxuriate In The Desert In UAE

Utter Privacy In A Desert Nature Reserve

Retreat into the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to not only disconnect from city life but also to learn about traditional Bedouin life in the desert. Experience walks in the seemingly endless dunes and see some of the exquisite desert dwellers in the wild, such as the Oryx, which is thought to have given rise to the legend of the unicorn. 

The luxury Al Maha Resort and Spa, only a 40-minute drive outside of Dubai, yet feeling a million miles from civilization, offers individual villas with desert views, which are meditative in themselves. I have sat on a terrace looking out onto the dunes for hours without getting bored — it’s not unlike watching the ocean. So tranquil. You can add a bit of excitement with nature walks accompanied by local guides and activities such as camel trekking and falconry. You will come back to your daily life with a whole new outlook on the magic of desert living.

Pro Tip: When in the UAE, don’t miss a trip to the camel races nearby. It is a race like no other, and something very typical for the region.

mountain in the distance behind valley of green treetops

The stunning scenery around Kandy

Photo credit: Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey

7. Yoga Retreats In Sri Lanka

Find Your Inner Calm

Arriving in Kandy, you immediately feel calmer. It is, after all, called “The Heart of Sri Lanka” and is a famous pilgrimage site. Here, you’ll find history, tea, endless countryside, and there is wellness in the form of Ayurveda spas and yoga retreats. I stayed at Amaya Hills Resort and enjoyed a sprinkling of traditional Ayurvedic spa traditional treatments and walks in the lush countryside. However, you can also book yourself in for yoga-retreats nearby, such as in the Polwaththa Eco Lodge, where you not only hone your inner calmness and flexibility but can also enjoy cooking local dishes or bird watching while trekking through Kandy’s jungle surroundings.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss out on the scenic train journey between Kandy and Ella through the lush countryside with stunning views. You can do the return trip in a day.