6 Stunning Nature Destinations in Asia to Reconnect with Yourself

Travel Therapy: 6 Stunning Nature Destinations in Asia to Recharge & Reconnect With Yourself

Your much-needed soul-stirring escape begins here!

Travel isn’t just about ticking destinations off a list; it’s about self-care in its purest form. Imagine waking up to the symphony of birdsong, swapping your newsfeed for breathtaking landscapes, and replacing screen time with stargazing. Intrigued? Then get ready to unplug and unwind at any of these seven nature destinations in Asia perfect for a digital detox and a reconnection with yourself and the natural world!

Also read: 25 Nature & Hiking Trails in Singapore to Discover on Your Weekends

Most idyllic nature destinations in Asia to find your inner zen

1. Kota Kinabalu — Malaysia

nature destinations asia

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Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo, is a nature lover’s paradise. It’s a city that seamlessly blends urban energy with untamed wilderness. The place offers a unique opportunity for a self-care getaway that nourishes both body and soul thanks to its stunning scenery, diverse wildlife, and abundance of outdoor activities. 

An awesome deal for you: For a limited time only, book your flight ticket departing from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu with AirAsia and enjoy S$20 off flight bookings with min. spend S$250! Only applicable for bookings made on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays using DBS/POSB Cards. T&Cs apply.

Top things to do in Kota Kinabalu

nature destinations asia

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Sabah boasts incredible biodiversity, and Kota Kinabalu provides a springboard to explore it. We recommend you visit the tranquil Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, where you can observe animals such as tigers, monkeys, pygmy elephants, parrots and more in a semi-wild environment. To soak in the blue, try scuba diving and greet the underwater residents and vibrant coral reefs of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

You can’t come to Kota Kinabalu and skip the tranquil Klias river cruise! This is your chance to explore the beauty of Klias Wetlands. Say hi to proboscis monkeys, and witness fireflies dance in the night sky. Know what’s even better? You can get 2% instant cashback capped at S$5 when you book this experience via DBS PayLah!

For a more thrilling adventure, hop on an adrenaline-fuelled white water rafting craze at Padas River. OR, go stand up paddleboarding (SUP) at the scenic Tanjung Aru beach where you can enjoy beginner-friendly waves and an enchanting sunset at once!

Best places to stay in Kota Kinabalu

Rest assured, your nature escape in Kota Kinabalu will be the most memorable yet, with a wide selection of homes away from home in the city. You can unwind at The Palace Hotel Kota Kinabalu featuring luxurious bedrooms with mountain views, a swimming pool, and a complimentary breakfast. Or, spend the night at the Horizon Hotel Kota Kinabalu where you can soak in the stunning city and ocean views from the comfort of your bed!

With Trip.com, you can enjoy S$60 off with min. spend S$500 (for new users) or up to S$100 off (for existing users) when you book your overseas stay by 31 Dec 2024! Simply pay with DBS/POSB Cards at checkout, limited redemptions monthly so fastest fingers first!

2. Krabi — Thailand

nature destinations asia

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Krabi, a province in southern Thailand, is a dream destination for nature enthusiasts seeking a self-care escape. It offers a chance to reconnect with nature, unplug from the daily grind, and focus on your well-being thanks to the stunning beaches fringed with dramatic limestone cliffs, diverse, fun outdoor activities, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Book your much-needed getaway to Krabi with Trip.com and enjoy up to S$50 off your flight ticket with min. spend S$500 (for existing users) when you check out using DBS/POSB Cards. 

Top things to do in Krabi

nature destinations asia

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Imagine yourself basking on the powdery white sand of Railay Beach or Phra Nang Beach, surrounded by turquoise waters and towering cliffs — heavenly! And when the water tempts you, soak in fun with a snorkelling adventure at Hong Island, an islet off the coast of mainland Krabi. The small island features stunning marine life, pristine white beaches, and a spectacular natural lagoon with limestone rocks towering over the blue waters. 

Don’t forget to visit the Thung Teao Forest Natural Park, home to the Emerald Pool, lovely waterfalls, hot springs, and diverse wildlife such as birds, lizards, and small mammals. Want something more thrilling? Try ziplining at Aonang Fiore Resort, where you get to fly among the treetops while taking in the million-dollar vistas of the surrounding peaks and the stunning Ao Nang Beach. Afterwards, let loose and stretch your legs at the Banyan Tree Spa, Krabi’s first award-winning hydrotherapy spa, centred on healing and relaxation!

P.S. You can enjoy all of these fun-filled activities with Klook at S$10 off with min. spend S$150 sitewide using PAYLAH24XXX promo code by 31 Dec 2024! (XXX refers to first 3 alphabets of the month, e.g. In June, enter ‘PAYLAH24JUN)

Best places to stay in Krabi

For a relaxing experience during your trip, stay at Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort & Spa Krabi, nestled on the beautiful shore of Krabi. You can soak in the stunning beach vistas from any of the outdoor pools and enjoy the best massage experience at the hotel’s spa. 

If that’s not enough, how about a stay at The Tubkaak Krabi Boutique Resort? You’ll definitely love this sophisticated resort surrounded by tropical gardens. This is where you get to wake up to spectacular bay views and the crashing sound of the waves!

What’s more, you can get up to 8% off these hotel bookings with Expedia when you pay with your DBS/POSB Cards before the end of 2024. 

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Enjoy two free lounge visits at over 1,500 airport lounges worldwide within each 12-month period of your membership. What a way to make the most of your next nature escape. Plus, you can even earn up to 2.2 miles per S$1 on all your retail spend

Not a DBS Altitude Visa Signature Cardmember yet? Sign up now to get up to 53,000 miles!


3. Hokkaido — Japan

Hokkaido, Japan, is any nature lover’s dream come true. Expect snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, lush forests, and famous hot springs to greet you on your adventure on the country’s northernmost island. It’s also a popular winter destination for skiing and snowboarding thanks to its abundant powder snow. Psst, with DBS/POSB Cards, you can seize 6% off flight bookings from Singapore with China Airlines when you land in Sapporo before exploring more of Hokkaido!

Top things to do in Hokkaido

nature destinations asia

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Kick off your nature getaway in Hokkaido by visiting the ever-enchanting azure-coloured Shirogane Blue Pond, reflecting different shades of blue across all four seasons. Now that you’re here, we recommend you drop by the Shirahige Waterfall, also known as the “White Beard Waterfall” by the locals. This gem is a rarity because the cascading white water turns cobalt blue in the basin. 

Also, make sure to immerse yourself in the unspoiled beauty of Lake Toya in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. FYI, the lake does not freeze even in midwinter, and the lakeshore is dotted with hot spring resorts due to the volcanic activity around it. Other than that, you can explore the charming Hoheikyo Dam, best seen in autumn. All of these experiences combined easily make Hokkaido one of the best nature destinations in Asia that deserve your attention!

Best places to stay in Hokkaido

Just a short drive from the Tomita Farm and Furano Ski Resort is La Vista Furano Hills Natural Hot Spring, blessed with the vistas of the Yūbari Mountains. Plus, its bathhouse comprises gender-segregated saunas and indoor and outdoor tubs filled with natural hot spring water! 

Or, you can spend the night at Stay in Toya in Toyako, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Lake Toya. For those planning to visit the Blue Pond, this charming Ninguruforet Villa nestled in a tranquil forested area is just ten minutes away from your wishlist. 

Worthy deals incoming: Get 18% off all of the above bookings with Agoda when you check out with DBS/POSB Cards by 30 Jun 2024!

Explore the enchanting sights of Hokkaido, Krabi, and Kota Kinabalu and get the most out of your journeys when travelling with a DBS Visa Debit Card and multi-currency account. Easily exchange money ahead of your trip and earn up to 5% cashback this June on your foreign currency spend! 


4. Shanghai — China

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Shanghai might not be the first place that comes to mind for nature lovers, but this bustling metropolis surprisingly offers a great deal of green spaces and natural beauty that can be a perfect form of self-care — trust us! 

Top things to do in Shanghai

Image credit: Tianhao Zhang | Unsplash

Shanghai boasts numerous parks and gardens scattered throughout the city, offering a respite from the urban jungle. You can stroll through the serene Yu Garden, a classical Chinese garden with rockeries, ponds, and pavilions, or relax in the extensive greenery of Fuxing Park. Another park worth visiting is the stunning Gongqing Forest Park, featuring a mini-lakefront water-town and wonderful forest scenery. 

For a more adventurous activity, you can hike the Shanghai Sheshan National Park, blessed with beautiful bamboo forest scenery and a basilica at the top. Also, don’t forget to meet and greet both the cuddly and fierce animals at Shanghai Wild Animal Park. Afterwards, walk through the 168-metre tunnel of Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, boasting beautiful coral reefs, an open ocean, a kelp cave, a shark cove, and diverse marine life — all with S$10 off sitewide bookings with KKday when you pay with DBS/POSB card during checkout. 

Best places to stay in Shanghai

If you want to soak in the green side of Huangpu and plan to visit the Yu Garden, consider staying at Grand Central Hotel Shanghai, offering squeaky clean rooms, an indoor pool, and excellent massage services. For a more budget-friendly choice with top-notch facilities, you may opt for JI Hotel Shanghai The Bund Fuzhou Road, near Nanjing Road and The Bund

Those searching for a serene escape from the bustling Shanghai city can retreat at The Yuluxe Sheshan, Shanghai, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel nestled within the Sheshan National Tourist Resort. Did we mention there are plenty of recreational activities and walking you can do nearby? 

5. Busan — Korea

Fly to Busan, South Korea‘s second-largest city. This gem is one of the most enchanting nature destinations in Asia, offering a beautiful blend of stunning beaches, serene temples, and hiking trails, all perfect for a self-care getaway. So, pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for a nature-filled adventure in this stunning gem!

Top things to do in Busan

Nature lovers coming to Busan should definitely check out the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple. Here, you can relax on the sand, soak up the sun, and listen to the calming sound of waves crashing on the shore. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to ride the iconic Haeundae Sky Capsule, a thrilling experience on a 2.3km elevated railway that offers unparalleled views of Haeundae Beach, leaving you in awe of its beauty.

For some great hiking experiences offering unbeatable natural landscapes, you can try climbing the Geumjeongsan Mountain, holding mysterious legends, or going up the trail of the pleasant Yangsan Mujigae Falls, known for its beautiful rainbow-forming cascading waterfalls. To complete your nature escape, we recommend exploring the straight-out-of-a-movie Ahopsan Forest, a well-preserved bamboo forest that’ll transport you to another realm (not literally) almost immediately!

Not keen on planning your own travel itinerary? It’s time to explore attractive booking tour packages from professional offline tour agencies like Super Travels for the best experience! Book your preferred Korea or Japan tour package and enjoy $S88 off when you pay with DBS/POSB Credit or Debit Cards.

Best places to stay in Busan

You can’t say no to homes with lovely nature views, especially in Busan! Unwind at Haeundae Seacloud Hotel Residence near Haeundae Beach, or spend the night in GRIFFIN BAY HOTEL with stunning sea and city vistas near the city’s famous attractions. Anyone planning to soak in the sun at the beautiful Gwangalli Beach? Then Primavera in BUSAN should be the top choice for your next visit!

6. Phnom Penh — Cambodia

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Make your way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia! The capital’s mix of urban energy and natural beauty makes it another one of the perfect nature destinations in Asia for a self-care getaway. You can spend your days exploring the city’s vibrant culture, and then retreat to a peaceful park or temple to relax and recharge.

Top things to do in Phnom Penh

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Phnom Penh is dotted with parks and gardens, perfect for escaping the city bustle. You can start off by taking a stroll through the verdant Royal Palace Park. Afterwards, rent a bike and explore the scenic riverside of Phnom Penh City Park and cruise along the Mekong River to watch the sunset and the world go by. 

Known as home to numerous Buddhist temples, you should take the chance to visit Wat Phnom, Silver Pagoda, and Wat Botum Park — all surrounded by lush, tranquil gardens.  Or better yet, take a day trip to Kirirom National Park for hiking, waterfalls, and stunning mountain views and visit Bokor National Park, blessed with a cooler climate and breathtaking vistas with 5% off “Things to do”  bookings with Expedia using DBS/POSB Cards!

Best places to stay in Phnom Penh

A perfect escape in Phnom Penh should begin with the best safe haven to retreat to after a long day of exploring! Have a serene stay at The Snowbell Hotel with a stunning river view or stay at The Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, offering elegant bars, an outdoor pool, and a luxe spa. 

Also read: ‘Spring’ in Singapore: 12 Parks & Gardens for a Floral Season Close to Home

And that concludes our top picks for the best nature destinations in Asia that’ll make you wish you had longer holidays! So, ditch the FOMO and embrace the JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) in the digital world by embarking on a journey of self-discovery amidst the rejuvenating embrace of nature. 

Your next travel therapy shouldn’t burden you one bit. Enjoy S$20 off your AirAsia flight tickets, 18% off your Agoda hotel bookings, and up to S$10 off fun-filled activities via Klook for your upcoming getaway. Discover these DBS/POSB Card offers and more, available on the Deals icon on DBS PayLah! homepage.


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About Author

Izzati Haron
Izzati Haron

Izzati is an author to two poem anthologies, a slam poet wannabe, and a full-time nanny to her kitties. She loves dreaming about traveling the world just like most protagonists in the movies, but more often than not, her bank account only permits her to travel to her backyard.