Lose yourself in the Cambodian wilderness at this remote overwater river escape, deep within the virgin forest of the Cardamom Mountains. Wake to the serenade of howling gibbons in your floating, tented villa as the last wisps of mist rise from the Tatai River and the jungle roars to life.
Each of the 12 villas takes its inspiration from the safari tents of African game parks, with luxury fittings, mini-bar and even a TV for those evenings when you’re feeling a little disconnected from the real world.
During the day, kayak down the river and enjoy a ‘hydro massage’ courtesy of the Tatai Waterfalls, go fishing with the locals or try your luck spotting the rare Javan rhinoceros, Indochinese tiger and Asian elephant. From your balcony, dangle your feet in the water – sunset cocktail in hand – then enjoy Khmer cuisine matched with fine wines before retiring to your heavenly king-size bed.
Welcome to the other side of Africa, away from the dusty savannahs and endless plains dotted by baobab trees. The Okavango Delta is a floodplain, alive with wildlife of the sort usually observed as part of a David Attenborough documentary. Not only do you have the opportunity to experience this delta; you can stay here, at Jacana Camp.
Jacana’s five tents and its main lodge, with elevated dining platform, lounge area and plunge pool, are situated on an island in the delta. Surprisingly, you don’t need to stray far to get an eyeful of the amazing animals that live in the neighbourhood. Elephants and hippos play in the water below the camp, wildebeest and deer graze on the lush growth, and the birdlife – from long- legged waterbirds to rare species like Pel’s fishing owl – is ridiculously abundant.
During the day, glide silently through the water in a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) or check out far-flung channels in one of Jacana’s motorboats. Land safaris take place in sturdy, open-sided 4WDs, and there’s even some basic fishing gear if you fancy throwing in a line.
Journey to Ulpotha and unwind with the traditional art of Ayurveda. A site of pilgrimage for thousands of years, the Sri Lankan village welcomes guests from around the globe who hope the hands of Dr Srilal Mudunkothge can balance their body’s energy. He’ll massage you with oils, slather on herbal pastes and douse you with a milk rice poultice. Wash the balms away in steamy herbal baths before graduating to the next step: elimination. Ulpotha’s program is light on the more challenging traditional excretions associated with Ayurveda, like vomiting, enemas and bloodletting, but you’ll partake in inhalation: a pleasant process of sniffing fragrant steam.
Practise yoga by the lotus-ringed lake and embrace the mantra that indulging in leisure and rest leads to a balanced life. The retreat runs an organic farm and reforestation program, and the Ayurvedic clinic treats more than 100 villagers a week, providing healing and medicine free of charge.
There are four boutique properties in the pristine Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, but nothing compares to Nothofagus Hotel, with its striking balance between whimsical design and luxe lodging.
Ensconced in temperate rainforest, Nothofagus resembles an inverted cone of spiralling wood and glass that emerges from the forest like a tree sprite version of the Guggenheim. In keeping with the natural aesthetic, the hotel is accessed via wooden walkways elevated above the rainforest floor, and the interior is built around a large nothofagus beech tree.
The cosy, wood-panelled rooms are a perfect base for exploring the lush, unspoiled reserve, and the hotel also includes a top-notch spa where you can unwind after a long day of trekking and bird-watching.