Founder of Destination Deluxe, an online wellness and travel platform and booking portal, Hong Kong-based Vivienne Tang is an expert on the benefits of yoga and mindfulness, spa and beauty treatments, and the importance of self-care. Having spent the last 18 years in luxury publishing, Tang has made a name for herself as an editor, publisher, and influencer in the wellness space.
Ever curious, Tang has a love for both modern and ancient wellness practices—and yoga in particular. She recognizes the intrinsic value found in flowing physical movements and mindfulness for nourishing body and mind. In the course of her search for the ultimate wellness retreat, Tang discovered Fivelements Retreat Bali, a physical and spiritual retreat that harmonizes the best of modern amenities like chromotherapy lighting and advanced nutrition with ancient healing Balinese wellness rituals. By spending time in the tranquil space of the retreat, Tang was able to immerse herself in a new level of spiritual wellness. Epitomized by the retreat’s innovative “Watsu” water therapy that blends supported movement in the water with the guidance of a trained therapist, Fivelements Retreat Bali takes the weight off travelers, allowing them to surrender to a new way of mindful living. For Tang, the retreat is unlike anything else she’s experienced in her many years of travel, fostering wellness on a spiritual level.
Why are travel and wellness important things for people to experience? Are they intrinsically connected?
Wellness has become such a huge part of our lives that it automatically has to be incorporated when we travel. Almost every hotel has given their spa and wellness offering an overhaul and now promote wellness programs and packages, because we want wellness to be part of our holiday, as our day-to-day lifestyle is already so much healthier and more conscious than before. If we are used to avocado toast for breakfast, lunchtime yoga classes, and Impossible Burgers for dinner, how can we vacation somewhere and give up the wellness routine that we work so hard to maintain? Travelers have become much more demanding because of this, and hotels are listening and responding with healthier options.
Do you see any new trends developing within wellness travel? Is there anything you’re particularly excited or curious about?
Eco, socially conscious, and conservation travel, as well as unique remote experiences, and immersing in local culture, are all interlinked now. The Global Wellness Institute states that wellness tourism is now addressing over-tourism, by creating an antidote, introducing people to unique, remote places, and tailor-made itineraries. There is a movement and a desire toward “traveling where the wifi is weak.” Travelers are encouraged to recharge in nature, along the lines of “forest bathing,” shinrin yoku, which has become hugely popular over the years.
In overcrowded destinations, like Boracay, overtourism has already led to its closure due to a dire need to preserve it. Phi Phi Island, made famous by the movie The Beach, was closed indefinitely so the ecosystem could be revived. Luckily the efforts at Maya Bay are working, with the regrowth of coral and blacktip reef sharks sighted again. If it’s not too late, entire areas will become protected zones, and we will work with the environment to preserve a destination, which again can become the attraction in itself.
What makes Fivelements Retreat Bali different from other wellness retreats you’ve visited?
Fivelements Retreat Bali’s uniqueness is that it works with Balinese healers who offer wisdom and knowledge that has been passed down for centuries through their lineage. These practitioners are highly skilled and in tune with nature, the universe, and you. So a healing session with one of their Balinese practitioners can be extremely profound. I’ve had some amazing shifts during these sessions.
Are there long-lasting benefits from visiting Fivelements? Does the experience stay with you when you return home?
For a long time, stressed-out urbanites would go on wellness retreats and return to their day-to-day lives, simply falling back into their old habits. Nowadays, we still try to get away from it all once in a while, but we bring back more of the tools and exercises we’ve learned, and we integrate them into our daily routines. Fivelements Retreat Bali is great in that it plants many seeds in our minds of living a healthier, happier life. We get a taste of what it means to be completely in tune with ourselves and our surroundings.
Luckily, city wellness centers and studios are booming, and places like Fivelements Habitat, which just opened in one of the densest areas of Hong Kong, is helping people to maintain the kind of wellness they’ve experienced at Fivelements Retreat Bali, so people can continue on their wellness journey when they return home. Fivelements is a great example in that it is offering a support system when we’re retreating, but also when we are back home working long hours and we need to recharge in a safe environment. The same is happening in many other countries, and in fact, Fivelements plans to take this city wellness concept to many other destinations around the world.