Connect with nature and authentic cultures of a country by staying at these boho, or unconventional, lodgings in the countryside
By Pamela Chow
Previously, we revealed findings from various travel websites that Singaporeans are becoming more adventurous and choosing lesser-travelled destinations over popular urban experiences.
If you’re one such traveller who’s chasing your next unconventional getaway, take a gander at our selection of some of the best nature retreats in the world, whether in the woodlands, the countryside or mountainside.
The Chai Lai Orchid in Chiang Mai, Thailand, offers packages that include mountain trekking, bamboo rafting, sleeping in a hill tribe hut and even an elephant wedding ceremony.
1. Chiang Mai: Dwell in a tribal hut & save elephants
Do you wish to retreat into nature and experience agrarian culture? This hill tribe stay can provide a calming and inspiring experience for you and your friends or family, even with children.
The Chai Lai Orchid is a mountain retreat in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which practises sustainable tourism and raises money for elephant rescue. It offers several packages that include mountain trekking, bamboo rafting, elephant bathing and feeding and even sleeping in a hill tribe hut.
Its Nature Bungalows are equipped with spacious rooms, air-conditioning, mini-bars, outdoor decks, mosquito nets and views of the river and elephant path.
Also read: Things to do when “glamping” in Bintan
The Chai Lai Orchid even has a package for couples featuring an elephant ceremony on the beautiful river running through the property. The ceremony can be customised to be simple, spiritual or playful, with dancers, music and fireworks.
For more information and bookings, visit chailaiorchid.com.
Live out your childhood dream of staying in a treehouse at Nihiwatu’s eccentric yet luxurious Mamole Tree House, where you can camp amidst the ancient trees of Sumba Island, Indonesia.
2. Sumba Island: Lounge in a luxury tree house
Luxury resort Nihiwatu on Sumba Island, Indonesia, has introduced the whimsical Mamole Tree House, a Sumbanese-styled villa that features traditional Indonesian carvings, antiques, local wood and Ikat — or hand-dyed — prints.
This three-bedroom complex is nestled among ancient trees, calling out to the fun-loving and adventurous child in all of us. The Tree House also offers a view of the resort’s beach, and is connected to a shared infinity pool by a bamboo bridge.
What a way to bask in the serenity of the woods and still remain pampered by all the comforts of modern living.
For more information and bookings, visit www.nihiwatu.com.
At Wolf Lodge in Polar Park, you can meet the resident pack of wolves up close for a personal “Wolf Kiss”. (Photo: Pål Jakobsen)
3. Norwegian Arctic: Walk with wolves
The very first of its kind, Polar Park in Northern Norway has opened a new lodge right next to a pack of Arctic wolves. The Wolf Lodge is a cosy hideout inspired by the modern Norwegian farmhouse. The property overlooks the Northern Norwegian Arctic wilderness and, outside, wolves roam freely.
These wolves are used to human contact and socialising, and are friendly to their caretakers and guests. An expert guide will also bring you out to meet the pack up close for a personal “Wolf Kiss”.
As if that isn’t thrilling enough, the Wolf Lodge also organises a unique Northern Lights experience, in which guests are whisked up Narvik Mountain in a gondola to a stunning lodge to view the Aurora Borealis.
For more information and bookings, visit www.offthemaptravel.co.uk.
Live right next to many of the most dangerous and endangered species on Earth at Canberra’s Jamala Wildlife Lodge. (Photo: Young &Percival / Jamala Wildlife Lodge)
4. Canberra Lodge: Live with wildlife
Australia is known for its award-winning zoos, and you can take it to the next level and spend a night or two in the company of nature’s magnificent beasts. At Jamala Wildlife Lodge in Canberra, you can camp right next to creatures of the National Zoo & Aquarium. These include some of the most dangerous and endangered species on Earth.
The luxury safari lodge is split into different types of rooms adjoining a variety of enclosures throughout the zoo. A glass wall is all that separates you from a pride of lions, cheetahs, tigers or bears if you stay in a Jungle Bungalow.
At the Giraffe Treehouse, you will overlook a friendly herd of giraffes, and even get the chance to feed Hummer the giraffe from either your balcony or in his enclosure — he decides where!
Jamala Wildlife Lodge also has an outdoor pool, African-themed bistros with wildlife views and private zoo tours.
For more information and bookings, visit www.jamalawildlifelodge.com.au.
Live in privacy in a lodge on Aspen Mountain, where you can enjoy skiing and mountain-scapes with a group of friends or family. (Photo: adventurejay.com)
5. Aspen Mountain: Ski in the lap of nature
Aspen Mountain is the dream destination of many a winter lover. The ski area located in Colorado, USA, is a wonderland for those yearning to slalom on the slopes of nature, take in arresting mountain-scapes or just relax with the view over a cup of hot chocolate.
Besides the usual ski resorts and luxury hotels, there are a number of standalone lodges and villas that you can book for a perfectly private getaway with your friends or family. For example, Apartment Aspen Lodge 61 on courchevel.travel overlooks the three valleys of Aspen and can accommodate up to groups of ten people.
Accommodation website vip-chalets.com also offers the Aspen Lodge, which rests in the centre of the village Val d’Isere, about 250m from the ski lifts and nursery slopes.
Take your next adventure a little further and enjoy the natural treasures around the world in these boho destinations!
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 148, March 18 – March 31, 2016, with the headline ‘Best boho country stays around the world’.