With many people eager to spread their wings once travel restrictions are lifted, we take a look at some of Asia’s most off-grid, spacious and private properties, which promise a safe haven to get away from it all and reunite with loved ones.
From an expansive Maldivian island villa to a secluded tea bungalow in Sri Lanka’s remote hill country, these are our top picks for those looking for a relaxing Asian getaway.
Nihi Sumba, Indonesia
Nihi Sumba is a remote hideaway on Sumba Island, Indonesia – twice the size of Bali and just an hour’s flight away, yet totally undiscovered by mass tourism. Sumba is known as the lost-world island, offering a magically pristine mix of beaches, tropical scenery and a fascinating tribal culture. Nihi Sumba is a private estate clinging to a hillside on Sumba’s south-west coast, surrounded by acres of lush tropical forest, unspoilt valleys and rugged coastline. For a seriously off-grid experience, guests can add on the new Villa Rahasia experience, instead of staying in one of the property’s 28 villas.
The journey to this remote villa begins with a sunrise trek across Sumba’s dramatic west coast and through rice paddies to the secluded Nihi Oka Valley. Staff await bearing scented towels, fresh coconuts and a bush-cooked breakfast served in a tree house. The remote set-up is castaway, the villa is tropical chic and the scenery raw, wild and removed from civilisation. On arrival, guests are shown to their own private bale, which boasts expansive views of the coastline and crashing waves of the Indian Ocean.
Here, guests can enjoy unlimited spa treatments, with the line-up ranging from facials – with ingredients harvested from the island, such as coconut oil, mint leaves, green tea and red rice – to treatments, such as reflexology, deep tissue massage and Indonesian ‘Lulur’ body exfoliations, which are regarded as traditional medicine. There is a freshwater pool, a private cove and a spa sanctuary, which comes with a daybed made up with cool green and white cottons. The Sumbanese-inspired one-bedroom tree house villa overlooks the Indian Ocean and allows guests to totally switch off in the wilderness.
Rates at Villa Rahasia start from approx. £1,590 per night based on two people sharing on a full board basis including all spa treatments. Sumba is a one-hour flight from Bali and there are daily flights from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar.
Milaidhoo Island, Maldives
Maldivian owned, Milaidhoo Island Maldives aims to introduce guests to local island traditions by curating a bespoke selection of experiences and their stand-out Maldivian designed accommodation. Water babies can opt for the breathtaking 475sqm Ocean Residence – an incredibly spacious and elegant but authentically designed, thatched-roof villa, on stilts with unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean. There is even a ‘secret’ loft deck hidden inside the roof of the villa, which is the perfect place for guests to chill out with a glass of wine, taking in the views at the end of the over-water jetty.
The completely private sundeck comes with a swing chair, sun loungers, huge freshwater and infinity swimming pool, with steps straight into the sea, allowing guests to explore Milaidhoo’s spectacular house-reef. Guests of the Maidhood Residences receive a number of benefits during their stay, including a dedicated, 24-hour butler, Champagne on arrival, a dedicated chef to personalise all meals according to preference, a pop-up cinema experience on the deck of their villa, one private half-day boat excursion during their stay and lots more.
Milaidhoo Island Maldives is a private island set over 13 acres atop the Baa Atoll’s beautiful UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is the ultimate Maldivian escape for stylish travellers.
Starting price for an Ocean Residence is approx. $4,693 per night (currently approx. £3,585) on a half board basis including taxes.
Nine Skies, Sri Lanka
The latest addition to Teardrop Hotels’ portfolio of boutique Sri Lankan hotels, Nine Skies, is located near the remote hippy hangout of Ella and is best approached by train. While the journey takes almost six hours from Kandy, it is one of the world’s most scenic train rides, which has graced the mountains of Sri Lanka since the 1800s, transporting tea and people between Colombo and the hill stations. Teetering on top of the tea-clad mountains, this train weaves its way slowly through some of Sri Lanka’s most incredible landscapes, offering breathtaking views that travellers can’t view from the road.
Arriving into Demodera Railway Station near Ella, guests will be picked up via tuk-tuk and transported up to Nine Skies, which stands just minutes away. Nine Skies offers guests far-reaching hill country views, with just five bedrooms perched on a tea-fringed hill. Dating back to the colonial era, the bungalow epitomises its legacy, yet indulges discerning guests with contemporary facilities and high-end personalised service. Be pampered by butlers, feast on gourmet food and dip into a garden pool with stunning views across the valley and famous Demodera Loop. Nearby Ella is a mountain village, revered for its waterfalls, landmark walks, far-reaching views and the legendary Ramayana mythology.
Rates at Nine Skies start from US$495 / approx. £370 per room per night based on double occupancy and on an all-inclusive basis.
Six Senses Krabey Island, Cambodia
Located in southern Cambodia, Six Senses Krabey Island, which opened in March last year, promises a tropical hideaway for families and couples alike looking for a slice of private island living as well as being available for exclusive-use takeovers. Each of the secluded 40 villas are spread across 30 acres and include a private plunge pool and decking, ideal for sunbathing and al fresco dining, while some also feature outdoor rain showers. When it comes to dining, the resort is home to two unique restaurants with menus focused on quality local produce and seasonality, much of it grown at the resort’s own 40,000 sq ft organic market farm and herb gardens.
Dishes offer a contemporary twist on traditional Khmer cuisine as well as a creative interpretation of South east Asian and international favourites. For pre or post-dinner cocktails, head to the Sunset Bar, furnished with comfy sofas and lazy hammocks offering stunning views over the Gulf of Thailand. An ice cream parlour serves up more than 15 flavours daily on a complimentary basis for guests. For some R and R, head to the Six Senses Spa which features a Six Senses speciality menu as well as several ancient Cambodian healing traditions and multi-day rejuvenation journeys, detox programs, yoga sessions and workshops.
Like at all Six Senses properties, sustainability is at the heart of the resort. Six Senses Krabey Island has its own water bottling plant with reusable glass bottles, Earth Lab and coral propagation program. In addition to this, the resort supports school programs in nearby villages and introduces sustainable practices within the local Khmer communities. Experiences abound at Six Senses Krabey Island from a range of under and over-water activities that include snorkelling, diving and kayaking. Cinema Paradiso is a poolside, outdoor cinema showing classic movies to be enjoyed beneath a blanket of starlight.
Rates at Six Senses Krabey Island start from $537 (currently approx. £466) per night in a Hideaway Pool Villa Suite on a B&B basis.
Naadam Festival experience, Mongolia
Get away from the common tourist trail on this 10-day Mongolian adventure to experience Naadam Festival, Mongolia’s largest traditional festival showcasing competitions in three sports of wrestling, horse racing and archery over three days. With Scott Dunn’s expert guides, guests will discover the spectacular and varied landscape of the Gobi Desert including lush valleys, fiery-red desert cliffs, sand dunes and rocky mountains. Travellers will learn about Nomadic culture and day to day life in the Mongolian countryside as well as spot wild horses in Hustain Nuruu National Park.
Guests will stay at a remote ger camp in the Orkhon Valley, offering spectacular views and a taste of rural nomadic life. With its roots in the ancient customs of the Mongol armies of centuries past, the Naadam Festival has a place at the heart of Mongolian culture. Celebrated once a year in July, Ulaanbaatar’s Naadam Festival is the biggest and most impressive of these thrilling displays of sporting prowess, played out over two days at the national Naadam stadium. Expect colourful national dress, traditional folk dances and songs, local delicacies and a celebratory atmosphere, as the skilled competitors vie for the winners’ podium across the three sports.
Scott Dunn offers a nine-night trip to Mongolia for Naadam Festival for £9,300pp. This is based on two people travelling and includes international flights, private transfers, incredible experiences, private guide and driver.
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Situated in the remote Anambas Islands, Indonesia, 160 nautical miles from Singapore, Bawah Reserve is made up of six tropical islands, 13 white sand beaches and two crystal clear lagoons and is only accessible by private seaplane. In addition to its current 36 lodges (including some of the only over-water bungalows in Indonesia), Bawah is launching six brand new cliffside lodges on a previously untouched island named Elang later this year. Further enhancing the reserve’s private island experience, guests over 18 can opt to book the entire island – the perfect escape for those looking to reconnect with family or close friends.
They will have exclusive access to the island’s own clubhouse, which has been carefully designed around a rock formation and inspired by tribal communal houses in Indonesia as well as a beachside restaurant and bar, spa, private beach and salt water infinity pool, created from a natural hollow and refreshed with every tidal change, complete with a water slide. Guests of Elang can take part in the plethora of activities included in the all-inclusive rate, in addition to full board dining experiences and daily spa treatments.
Bawah Reserve is set to re-open in summer. Rates to hire the island of Elang start from from $21,000 USD (approx. £17,478) per night. Rates include full board, daily spa treatments, laundry, in-room minibar and a host of land and water-based activities.