Southeast Asia’s tropical island destinations offer a number of activities that will help you keep your beach body in perfect shape during your stay in paradise.
Many people spend the months leading up to their beach vacations diligently following fitness regime in order to attain an enviably fit looking beach physique. However, if you are visiting culinary hotspots like Thailand or Bali, after a week spent indulging in creamy coconut curries and sweet sticky rice, you perfectly toned abs are likely to lose a little of their dazzling definition.
An increasing number of visitors maintain their holiday fitness by combining exercise with some exploration of the stunning islands and fascinating cultures of Southeast Asia. Islands like Phuket, Koh Samui and Bali also offer a choice of classes and activities that you don’t need to be a fitness fanatic to enjoy.
If you fancy exploring a little more of Bali and Phuket on foot, why not take part in one of the marathons that take place on the islands each year? Bali’s Maybank Marathon usually takes place in June, and leads runners on a spectacular trail past isolated temples and glistening rice terraces. Race categories include a full marathon, half marathon and 10km race over a mixture of sloping and flat terrain. If you are holidaying on Phuket, this year’s Laguna Marathon also takes place in June. The race starts and finishes at the Laguna Phuket resort complex, and offers runners the chance to see a more of the stunning island scenery. Race categories include a full marathon, half marathon, 10.5km run and even a 5km Community Walk. Energetic kids can also have a go at the 2km Kids’ Run.
Visitors keen to feed their bodies and their minds should not leave Asia without trying out a little yoga. Phuket and Koh Samui are home to a generous sprinkling of yoga schools and retreats, most of which offer classes for all levels. However, Bali is perhaps the jewel in Southeast Asia’s crown as far as yoga is concerned. The Yoga Barn, situated in the popular village of Ubud, is a great place for beginners and advanced yoga-practitioners alike to take part in anusara, core flow and even flying yoga.
One of the most attractive features of a private villa in Thailand or Bali is access to your own private swimming pool, which is often located just a few metres from your bedroom door. Unlike running, swimming is a low impact form of exercise, which makes it ideal for visitors that want to keep fit without indulging in too much intense activity in the tropical heat. A sensational sunrise or sunset accompanied by a few laps ain the pool can do wonders for your body and your soul.
Marvellous Martial Arts
While martial arts like karate and Taekwondo have been popular for many years and can be practised in clubs all over the world, an increasing number of health seekers are slipping on their boxing gloves to get in to some Muay Thai (Thai Boxing). This exercise movement has taken the world by storm in recent years and because the art has been passed down through generations, it is also an excellent window on Thai culture.
If you prefer fitness activities with a little culture and elegance attached, trying out traditional dance classes in either Thailand or Bali could be just the thing for you. For anyone fascinated by the colourful sway of Balinese dance moves, the Mekar Bhuana dance troupe in Denpasar, offer lessons or intensive workshops. Holiday-makers on Phuket, meanwhile, can head to the Phenkhae Thai Massage School to try out some local dance moves. The school teaches an array of traditional dances from several parts of Thailand that have been passed down through the ages.
by Wayne Hue