What does silence sounds like? Living in the city means we are constantly exposed to environmental noises. Normal conversations at 60 decibels (dB), moving trains at 95dB, electronic dance music concert go as high as 140dB. Over time, our urban lifestyle, in spite of the conveniences, are causing us to feel stress out and mentally overload.
Maybe you are just bored of the sound of the city. And when a 2D1N luxurious staycation with a rooftop infinity pool or a swift getaway to the nearest beach resort doesn’t help, then the only cure is to venture into the unknown, a brand-new set of playlist awaits you to reclaim your inner bliss and a sense of wonder.
So… where to?
We picked out 4 unique places ranging from rustic to exotic, above the ground and on the sea, that are totally worth all the hyperbole in this digital-default world. These accommodations are more than just a place to lay your head, they prove to be a destination in its own right.
1Junk Cruise, Halong Bay, Vietnam
Image by utien_onleeh via Instagram.
There is no denying that Halong Bay is Vietnam’s top sight. In the day, there are boatloads of tourists cruising in the emerald waters to marvel at the spectacular karst formations that make up the UNESCO-listed Halong Bay. Legend has it that the thousands of limestone islets rising from the sea are actually dragons, no wonder there is a lingering air of mystery and otherworldliness surrounding the dramatic landscape.
In fact, Halong Bay literally means bay of descending dragons, and interestingly, the geographical shape of Vietnam is like the letter ‘S’, which reinforces the myth of dragons, which are symbolic creatures in Vietnamese folklore.
Image by catbrudreamtravel via Instagram.
Can’t get enough of the staggeringly beautiful Halong Bay in the day? Consider spending a night there on a luxury boat with top tier amenities and cuisine. Climb aboard Junk Cruise by Indochina (it’s a beautiful boat by the way). There is never a dull moment on Junk Cruise when the deck is your land and the sky is an ever-changing art. After the sun has set, starlit skies await you.
2Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Ever heard of this adage ‘it’s about the journey, not the destination’, well, that just doesn’t apply here. Sleeping in a gigantic floating sphere among the treetops is the strangest yet peaceful experience of a lifetime. Yes, you will be gently swaying in time with the trees.
Image by kengbretch via Instagram.
We guarantee this makes for an unforgettable “glamping” experience in Vancouver Island, the biggest island on the west coast of North America. You get the best of both worlds – close to nature and in the thick of it, and steps from sandy beaches, but still given the comforts of home. Not to worry, you won’t be living like Tarzan, there is WiFi on-site and each sphere is equipped with basic amenities like room heater, freshwater, couches and beds. You simply only need to bring along your toiletries and precooked meals. There is a shared cookhouse equipped with a microwave and a barbeque pit.
3Kumbuk River Resort, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
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Ever thought of sleeping in a guesthouse that looks like a giant elephant? We know this probably sounds crazy, but it is possible in Sri Lanka. Meet the 40-foot elephant made of wood and straw in the midst of the Sri Lankan jungle created by the award-winning eco-lodge, Kumbuk River Resort.
We know tourism can have a significant impact on developing countries, but what if we thought about tourism as more than just taking a vacation? What if it is a way to support the local community, and at the same time, we can minimise our environmental impact. We’ve seen eco-tourism’s increasing popularity, and even more so when there is also “instagrammability” in the destination.
The elephant villa is an architectural feat. It has successfully place Yala National Park on the map and inspires positive aspects of eco-tourism like environmental conservation efforts by both guests and locals.
Image by sw33t_jan3 via Instagram.
Kumbuk River Resort is located on the banks of a lively river that separates Yala National Park from civilisation. There are four types of accommodations ranging from rustic to luxurious. But do not come here expecting a modern, 21st century way of living. There isn’t any swimming pool nor spa salon. But you’re welcome to swim in the Kumbuk River, traverse the treetops, or simply just sit under a tree and get some headspace in this peaceful and verdurous location.
With rooms for only ten guests at any one time, privacy and serenity are guaranteed. Apart from the elephant villa, you can choose to stay in a treehouse or a converted truck.
It is truly innovative of Kumbuk River Resort to combine sustainability and recreational activities in Sri Lanka’s premier wildlife reserve, Yala National Park. Save this for your next trip when you are looking for a different experience in Sri Lanka.
4EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
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There is no place like this. A dream destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. Even if you’ve climbed the Alps before, this Chilean national park will take you to new heights. Nestled at the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, sits the award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia – world’s first sustainable geodesic dome hotel. Inspired by the indigenous dwellings of Alacalufe nomads, the domes are sustainably built off the ground for ease of relocation and operate on renewable energy. They do remind us of the Finnish Lapland’s igloo and instead of witnessing the aurora borealis, the lack of light pollution here means that it is ideal for astrophotography at night. Each dome has ceiling windows that are perfect for stargazing. We can guarantee that waking up to towering glaciers, sunsets on the lagoon, snow-capped mountains will be one of the best moments in life, go ahead and caption #adventureofalifetime.
Image by bdwreisen via Instagram.
EcoCamp Patagonia also offers guided excursions around the wild Patagonian plains, but if you wish to relax, you can also join fellow campers for yoga and massage. What about meals? There is a large community dome which is a lively dining hall that serves delicious meals. It is also a place where you’ll find fellow campers exchanging adventure stories.