Keep on growing - levelling up lockdown skills on your travels
1st April 2021 | by Maria
Last month, we passed the somewhat mind-boggling milestone of 365 days since the first UK lockdown. Apart from daydreaming of the day we can pack our suitcases and travel again, many of us have broken the past year’s on-off lockdown monotony by taking up a new hobby. The Great Yeast Shortage of April 2020 saw sourdough finding fame as an alternative way of filling kitchens with that freshly-baked aroma, and novice banana-bread bakers considered changing their middle names to Paul and Hollywood (or was that just us?). Some who, in the past, never even used to run for a bus, discovered a sudden urge to run a really, really long way, and wild swimming - otherwise known as ‘flinging yourself with gleeful abandon into brain-numbingly cold water’ - has become almost mainstream.
Many of us who didn’t develop a dedicated hobby have still found ourselves doing one thing a whole lot more: walking. Taking a daily wander has become the new going ‘out-out’, although we’re pretty desperate at this point to be able to actually walk to somewhere. Like, the pub, for instance…
Seriously, though, the hobbies and interests we’ve nurtured during our collective confinement have been much-needed silver linings to the heavy Covid cloud. We’re keen to keep that momentum going, especially when we do eventually get to go on holiday - could this be the time to take those new-found skills to the next level? Will you don your walking boots to trek Nepal’s mountain pathways, expand your culinary horizons with classes in Thai cookery, or take your yoga practice up a notch at a Sri Lankan wellness retreat? Hold your newest obsession in your mind as you start to plan your next holiday to Asia. We can’t wait to help you get back out there.
Take the next step in Nepal
It might seem like a big jump from enjoying a leisurely stroll around your local neighbourhood to stomping in the backyard of the world’s most famous mountain, but we’re not suggesting you tackle Everest just yet – baby steps and all that! A base level of fitness is pretty essential, but we’re skilled at adapting trekking holidays in Nepal to your chosen pace. If that feels too intrepid, why not try gentler hikes through Bhutan’s evergreen forests, go off-grid in the jungles of Borneo, or opt for the flatter landscape of rural Laos? Discover more...
Tuck into Thailand
Once you’ve become hooked on delicious home-baked bread, the foodie world is your oyster, and there’s no substitute for getting hands-on experience in a cuisine’s country of origin. Why not let the iconic flavours of Thai food take the limelight? From home-cookery classes in Chiang Mai, learning to create some of northern Thailand’s most comforting dishes, to zipping through Bangkok’s markets eating your fill of freshly-cooked street food, you can get the lowdown on some of Thailand’s best-loved dishes.
Swim free in Indonesia
Open water swimming is quickly catching the national imagination, with hundreds of us loving immersing ourselves in ice-cold seas and rivers. If wild swimming was your best discovery of 2020, there are many opportunities to continue getting those thrills in destinations across Asia (even landlocked Laos!). However, those in Indonesia are second to none. Snorkel with manta rays in Raja Ampat, float among stingless jellyfish in an inland lake, take a dip in the water-filled crater of Lombok’s Mount Rinjani or swim in warm, tropical waters in the shadow of Bali’s Mount Agung, and that’s just for starters…
Blossom bathing in Japan
If your wellbeing has been boosted by getting your garden looking luscious, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, take a leaf out of our Japan Specialist Andrew’s book and engage in hanami, the photogenic springtime celebration of cherry blossom throughout Japan. If you’re visiting during a different season, take a wander through one of Japan’s gorgeous forests and feel the benefit of shinrin yoku, or ‘forest bathing’. Discover more...
Ride out of Honshu at leisure
Offering independence, flexibility and exercise all in one, it’s easy to see why cycling has caught on even more during lockdown, and these qualities also make it a great way to see parts of Asia at your own pace. In the Long Ago Days of 2019, Selective Asia’s founder, Nick, cycled Japan’s famous island-hopping Shimanami Kaido trail from Onomichi to Imabari; read about his experience, and get inspired to pedal across those incredible bridges on your next trip.
Aim straight for Bhutan
Few of us have gardens large enough to have cultivated a love of archery over these past months, but we know plenty of people who have built up their darts arms through the winter! Bhutan’s national pastime might provide the inspiration to take it to the next level. As one of the best places in the world to feel like you’re a million miles away from it all, Bhutan is already onto a winner as a post-lockdown destination, and their enthusiasm for archery is really compelling. Get involved, let a few arrows fly towards their target, and feel the exhilaration hit the spot. Discover more...
Focus your mind in Sri Lanka
Looking after our physical and mental health has felt even more pressing recently, and a break at one of Sri Lanka’s Ayurvedic and wellness-based resorts could extend those healthy habits into the next phase. The welcoming Rukgala Retreat offers yoga with a spiritual focus in sublime surroundings on the shores of the Victoria Lake, while the inimitable Santani promises a fully personalised holistic programme to help maintain, or regain, a healthy balance.