Asia, a continent rich in history, culture, and traditions, might not be the first destination that springs to mind when one thinks of naturist retreats. Yet, amidst its vast landscapes, from the pristine beaches of Bali to the mountainous terrains of Chiang Mai, a growing number of resorts are emerging that cater to those seeking a clothing-optional environment. This rise of nude resorts in Asia is not just a testament to the region’s evolving tourism sector but also a reflection of a subtle shift in societal perceptions about the human body and liberation.
Naturism, at its core, celebrates the idea of returning to nature, embracing one’s natural state, and fostering a sense of community without the barriers of clothing. In Western nations, this concept has long been celebrated with a plethora of nude beaches and resorts. In contrast, many Asian cultures, often rooted in deep-seated traditions and values, have generally been more conservative when it comes to public displays of nudity. However, as the continent becomes increasingly globalized and influenced by diverse perspectives, there’s a budding acceptance and curiosity surrounding the naturist lifestyle.
Bali Au Naturel – Bali, Indonesia
Bali Au Naturel is located on the northern coast of Bali, in the Tejakula area. Unlike the often bustling and touristy southern coast, the northern part of Bali is known for its serene landscapes, untouched beaches, and a slower pace of life, making it an ideal setting for a naturist resort.
Bali Au Naturel was among the pioneers in establishing a naturist-friendly environment in Indonesia. While Indonesia has predominantly conservative norms about nudity, this resort has positioned itself as a sanctuary for those looking to experience naturism in a tropical paradise. The resort embodies the philosophy of returning to nature, promoting body positivity, and encouraging guests to embrace themselves fully without the barriers of clothing.
While Bali Au Naturel is a haven for naturists, it’s essential to understand the broader cultural context. Bali, though known for its open-mindedness and hospitality, is rooted in tradition. As such, the resort ensures a level of discretion to respect the local customs. Naturist activities are confined within the boundaries of the property, and guests are encouraged to dress conventionally when venturing outside or interacting with the local communities.
Amenities & Activities
The resort boasts a range of accommodation options, from traditional Balinese cottages to modern rooms, catering to various preferences and budgets. Many of the accommodations offer sea views, allowing guests to wake up to the sights and sounds of the ocean.
Amenities include two swimming pools, beautifully landscaped gardens, a spa offering traditional Balinese massages, and a beachfront that gives guests direct access to the sea. There’s also a restaurant on-site, offering a blend of local and international cuisines crafted to cater to diverse palates.
Beyond relaxation, Bali Au Naturel offers various activities to keep guests engaged. Water sports like snorkeling and diving are popular, given the resort’s proximity to some of Bali’s pristine coral reefs. For those looking to explore the local culture, the resort organizes trips to nearby villages, temples, and waterfalls. Additionally, yoga and meditation sessions are frequently held, aligning with the resort’s ethos of holistic well-being.
How to get there
If you are coming by car or taxi from Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport) in Bali:
- From Ngurah Rai International Airport, head north following signs for the main road to Singaraja.
- Once you pass through the Bedugul highlands, continue towards the town of Singaraja.
- Before entering Singaraja, you’ll take a turn towards Tejakula, which is located to the east of Singaraja.
- Follow the signs or directions to Bali Au Naturel from there. The drive usually takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on traffic conditions.
For a hassle-free transportation, Bali Au Naturel may offer airport pick-up services for guests. You’d need to arrange this service with the resort in advance. There might be a fee associated with this, but it ensures direct transportation to the resort without any hiccups.
Chan Resort – Pattaya, Thailand
Located in Pattaya, Chan Resort is one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations known for its vibrant nightlife, sprawling beaches, and diverse cultural attractions. Situated somewhat away from the bustling main streets, Chan Resort offers a tranquil escape within the heart of the city.
It’s crucial to highlight the cultural backdrop of Thailand. Despite its reputation as a tourist-friendly destination, Thailand’s local culture is rooted in traditions and certain conservative values. Chan Resort has carved out a niche for itself by providing a space for naturism within these cultural confines. While the resort promotes and encourages naturism within its boundaries, guests are reminded to be respectful and adhere to clothing norms when venturing outside the resort.
Amenities & Activities
Designed with a touch of Thai elegance, Chan Resort offers a range of accommodation choices, from deluxe rooms to spacious suites, ensuring comfort for all its guests. The rooms and suites have modern amenities, and some even offer pool views or direct pool access.
Central to the resort is its sizable swimming pool, which serves as a hub for relaxation and socialization. Around the pool, you’ll find sun loungers, ensuring guests can soak up the sun in their preferred state of undress. The property is adorned with tropical plants, adding to the overall serene atmosphere. For culinary needs, the resort boasts a restaurant that serves a mix of Thai delicacies and international dishes, catering to various palates.
While many guests at Chan Resort prefer to spend their days lounging by the pool, the resort’s location in Pattaya means there’s a plethora of activities to indulge in. There are trips to the nearby beaches, visits to local attractions like temples and markets, and even golfing opportunities for enthusiasts. The resort occasionally organizes events and activities specifically for its guests, fostering a sense of community among its naturist visitors.
How to get there
Chan Resort might offer such services for its guests, especially if you’re coming from the airport. Make sure to inquire and book this service in advance if it’s available. However, if you plan to go by yourself from either of Bangkok’s primary international airports (Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang Airport), here’s a general guide:
By Car or Taxi:
- From Suvarnabhumi Airport: It’s approximately a 1.5 to 2-hour drive to Pattaya. Taxis or car hires are readily available at the airport. Ensure you agree on a fare before starting the journey, or ensure the meter is turned on.
- From Don Mueang Airport: The drive might be slightly longer, typically around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on traffic.
- From Suvarnabhumi Airport: There’s a direct bus service from the airport to Pattaya. The bus terminal is on the 1st floor of the airport, and the journey to Pattaya usually takes around 2 hours.
- From Don Mueang Airport: You would first need to get to the Ekkamai Bus Terminal or the Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok. From either terminal, you can catch a bus to Pattaya. Buses are frequent, and the journey takes about 2 hours.
Once in Pattaya:
If you’re in central Pattaya or arriving at the bus terminal, you can take a Songthaew (a shared taxi, which is a converted pickup truck) or a local taxi to Chan Resort. Ensure you have the resort’s address and possibly a map or directions on hand to show the driver.
Barefeet Naturist Resort – Bangkok, Thailand
Situated in the heart of Bangkok, Barefeet Naturist Resort is an oasis amidst the urban sprawl. The resort offers an unconventional naturist experience by blending the comfort of urban amenities with the ethos of naturism. For those seeking a unique, clothing-free retreat without leaving the city, Barefeet provides an ideal respite.
Amenities & Activities
Accommodation at Barefeet Naturist Resort ranges from spacious deluxe rooms, replete with contemporary amenities, to cozier standard rooms designed for solo travelers or shorter stays. Every room is thoughtfully equipped, featuring comforts like air conditioning, soft bedding, and a stocked minibar.
One of the most inviting features of the resort is its swimming pool. Not only does it serve as a refreshing retreat from Bangkok’s heat, but it’s also a communal hub where guests can relax, swim, or engage in friendly conversations. Complementing this space, the resort offers traditional Thai massage services—a perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of exploring the city.
For gastronomic delights, the resort boasts a restaurant that masterfully blends Thai with international cuisines, catering to a wide variety of palates. Adjacent to the dining area, guests can find a bar, ideal for winding down in the evening with a drink and perhaps making new acquaintances.
How to get there
Accessibility to the resort is fairly straightforward. Whether arriving from Suvarnabhumi Airport or Don Mueang Airport, one can opt for a taxi or use Bangkok’s efficient BTS Skytrain, followed by a brief taxi or motorbike taxi journey to reach Barefeet’s doorstep.
Oriental Beach Village – Phuket, Thailand
Nestled on the serene Koh Kho Khao Island, just a stone’s throw north of Phuket, Thailand, the Oriental Beach Village offers a unique naturist haven. This tranquil resort is one of the select few places in Thailand where guests can embrace a clothing-optional lifestyle amidst the picturesque backdrop of sandy beaches and clear waters.
Though its proximity to Phuket often leads people to associate it with the famed tourist hub, Oriental Beach Village enjoys a peaceful location in an almost untouched paradise. Reaching the resort involves a delightful boat ride from Phuket, positioning guests comfortably away from the mainstream hustle yet not too distant from modern conveniences.
Amenities & Activities
Accommodations at the Oriental Beach Village are thoughtfully designed to cater to varying preferences. Guests can indulge in the luxury of beachfront villas, which stand as private units facing the vast expanse of the ocean, offering undisturbed views and an intimate setting. Those who prefer being at the heart of the action might opt for pool villas strategically positioned around the resort’s shimmering pool. Additionally, the resort houses standard and deluxe rooms within its main complex, ensuring every guest experiences comfort and the signature hospitality the village is known for.
A highlight of the resort is its array of facilities. Two pristine swimming pools beckon guests – one perched on the rooftop, providing panoramic views, and the other nestled on the ground level, surrounded by lush greenery. Dining at the resort is a delightful affair, with its restaurant whipping up a mix of traditional Thai delicacies and international favorites. Adjacent to it, a well-stocked bar ensures evenings are as spirited as the days.
Beyond relaxation, the Oriental Beach Village promotes exploration. The island’s local villages are a window into traditional Thai life, while the azure waters around are a playground for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts, offering a glimpse of vibrant marine ecosystems.
How to get there
For those journeying to Oriental Beach Village, the adventure typically begins at Phuket or the nearby Phang Nga. A scenic drive to the pier, followed by the boat journey to Koh Kho Khao, seamlessly integrates into the resort experience, especially as the resort often assists in coordinating these transfers.
Traditional Practices Where Nudity is Accepted in Asia
Some countries also have various practices where nudity is not just accepted but celebrated as a part of communal activities. While the western world often perceives nudism through the lens of recreational nakedness at designated beaches or resorts, in many parts of Asia, nudity finds its place in everyday rituals and wellness practices.
Onsen – Japan
While not a nudist resort per se, Japan has a rich tradition of communal bathing in onsens (hot springs). Bathing in onsens is done without clothing, and while it’s not about nudism in the Western sense, it’s a cultural experience where nudity is normalized. Onsens are segregated by gender. However, there are a few mixed-gender (konyoku) onsens remaining.
Japan’s volcanic landscape is the reason for its abundant hot springs. Every region in the country boasts its unique onsen, each with distinct mineral compositions and therapeutic properties. Some are located in scenic mountain terrains, while others sit by the coast, offering ocean views. Cities and towns often grow around these hot spring areas, known as “onsen towns.”
Many onsens are part of larger establishments known as “ryokan” or traditional Japanese inns. These provide an immersive experience, allowing guests to wear “yukata” (casual summer kimono), dine on multi-course “kaiseki” meals, and sleep on “futon” bedding laid out on tatami mats.
Onsen etiquette is crucial to ensure a harmonious experience for everyone. Here are some of the core practices:
- Pre-Bathing Ritual: Before entering the onsen, bathers must wash and rinse their bodies thoroughly at the provided washing stations. This ritual purifies the bather and ensures the onsen water remains clean for everyone.
- Nudity: Swimwear is not allowed in traditional onsens. Bathing is done entirely nude. However, gender separation is standard, with separate baths for men and women. There are a few mixed-gender onsens (konyoku), but these are increasingly rare, and participants might use a modesty towel or garment.
- Towels: While bathers are nude in the water, they typically bring a small towel with them. This towel can be used to cover oneself when walking around discreetly but should never be submerged in the onsen water. It’s common to fold the towel and place it atop one’s head while soaking.
Jjimjilbang – South Korea
Similar to Japanese onsens but more comprehensive, Jjimjilbangs, translating to “heated room”, are large public bathhouses. They offer various saunas, hot baths, and relaxation areas. While the sauna and bath areas are gender-segregated and nudity is expected, the common relaxation areas are coed and require specialized uniforms (often a t-shirt and shorts).
Some Jjimjilbangs, particularly in larger cities, operate 24/7 and offer sleeping arrangements, making them a unique and affordable accommodation option for travelers. Sleeping can be communal, with patrons resting on mats in large rooms or more private, with partitioned-off sleeping zones.
Visiting a Jjimjilbang is more than just a spa experience; it’s an immersion into South Korean culture. It provides a unique opportunity to observe local customs, interact with residents, and partake in a shared ritual of relaxation and rejuvenation.
A typical Jjimjilbang is a multi-storied establishment featuring various facilities:
- Bathing Areas: Separate for men and women, these areas house hot tubs, showers, cold pools, and steam rooms. Bathing in these zones is typically done nude.
- Sauna Rooms: What makes Jjimjilbang stand out are its diverse sauna rooms. Each is designed with different temperatures, materials, and therapeutic elements, such as clay, jade, salt, or ice.
- Relaxation Areas: These communal spaces, often found in the coed sections, are equipped with heated floors and offer spots to relax, watch TV, or nap.
- Other Amenities: Modern Jjimjilbangs might also feature snack bars, entertainment rooms, fitness areas, and massage or beauty services.