Getting constant updates on what your friends are up to and knowing they are just a text away are great perks in the digital world we live in today. But sometimes, the constant bombardment of updates can be a source of stress.
While it’s not easy being totally invisible and under the radar in today’s extremely connected world, there are trips you can take to give yourself a momentary breather to recharge.
Secluded jungles and deserts surely come to mind when you first think of a digital detox trip, but you may be surprised to find hidden gems in developed cities where you too, can cut yourself off from first-world connections – here are 10 places perfect for a mini off-the-grid escape.
Image credit: Taiwan.net
Cycling culture is strong in Taiwan, so it’s no surprise to see an abundance of dedicated roads for cyclists. Starting at Songshan Railway Station in Taipei City, there is a 968 km round-Taiwan cycling route covering some of the island’s most beautiful sights that experienced cyclists can complete in about 7 to 9 days. For the recreational cyclist, Taitung has many easier routes that hug the eastern coast of Taiwan.
Image credit: Fumay
Embrace the exhilarating freedom as you explore the foreign land, and reward yourself with a nice dip in one of Taiwan’s many natural hot springs after a long day of cycling.
Taitung is also notably festive during the summer months from July – August. That’s when you get to see dozens of unusual and colourful hot air balloons being hoisted up in the air, while adventurous paragliders leap off the cliffs of Luye Gaotai against the beautiful grasslands.
Where to stay: Inn by the Village, from S$113 per night via Expedia
Read also: 4D3N Taipei Itinerary: Insider guide to exploring Taipei and its outskirts like a local
Image credit: shreetirupati Toursntravels
There’s no better way to be disconnected than to be away from land. In Kerala, India, there are big houseboats (kettuvallam) for hire that provide day tours and overnight trips while cruising along the backwaters between Kochi and Kollam.
A waterway traditionally used only by locals, the Kerala Backwaters is a tranquil off-the-beaten-path tourist destination that is growing in popularity.
With almost no data connection, you are forced to ditch all mobile devices and just be one with nature. You can expect to be rewarded with beautiful paddy fields, as well as mesmerising sunrises and sunsets as you cruise along.
Image credit: cocohouseboatkerala
Rates on the houseboats vary, as there are basic to luxurious boat options. Meals are served on board, and some even come with air-conditioned rooms.
Image credit: rooms5
In comparison to the highly developed Eastern cities of Sydney and Melbourne, Western Australia is more laid-back. With plenty of land allocated for farm use, some of them have been turned into accommodation facilities for visitors who want to experience farm stays.
Image credit: Bullara Station
Escape the hectic lifestyle of Singapore with just a five-hour flight to Perth, and head to Margaret River. Wake up to the calling of animals, and recharge with each deep breath of the fresh morning air.
Also, we hear the Internet connection Down Under can be a bit laggy – just the perfect excuse to use if your boss asks why you aren’t contactable.
Where to stay: Margaret River Hideaway, from S$186 per night via Expedia
Image credit: BBC Travel
Inner Mongolia is a popular travel destination among adventurous travellers. With experiences such as horse riding in the vast scenic plains of Hohhot, or staying with a Mongol family, it’s the perfect place to disconnect with your technology and connect with your surroundings instead.
Image credit: sohu
Join in a jolly folk song and dance, while exciting your palates with Mongolian roast lamb and milk tea.
Where to stay: Inner Mongolia Jinjiang Intl., from S$106 per night via Expedia
Image credit: hdwallsource
Another destination that’s gaining traction is the Swiss Alps, where one can enjoy extreme winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and skydiving against the whitest backdrop.
Throw caution to the wind, and unwind by dipping into a warm cheese fondue. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the spectacular views of the snow-capped alpine mountains in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.
Image credit: Nassima Rothacker
Visit Jungfraujoch, the Top of Europe, and surround yourself with nothing but glaciers and snow. Not an extreme-sport lover? There are other snow activities such as sledding, tobogganing, and zip-lining in Kleine Scheidegg and Grindelwald for everyone!
Where to stay: Hotel Caprice, from S$145 per night via Expedia
Image credit: Meagan Wright Pinterest
The Maldives is probably the best place to escape the hectic and chaotic city life. Retreat into one of the luxury resorts, chill out at the private beach, and go for a rejuvenating massage to totally unwind.
Image credit: kuoni
If you’re one who cannot stay still for too long, there are many adventures that await you too, such as snorkelling, surfing, or even parasailing!
Where to stay: Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, from S$659 per night via Expedia
Image credit: koreanconvention.org
Boasting the fastest Internet connection speed in the world, it’s hard to imagine what’s life like being cut off from all digital connectivity within South Korea. Yet, if you want to give yourself a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of modern life, I’d recommend a temple stay in South Korea. Join meditation sessions carried out by monks to free up your mind and find your inner peace.
Image credit: Expedia
Through the appreciation of the things around you without any other distractions, you’ll learn to find simple joys in things. Embrace nature and experience the traditional lifestyle before the digital world came about.
Where to stay: 2-Day Buddhist Temple Stay, from S$389 per night via Expedia
Read also: Lesser Known Charming Places in South Korea
Image credit: pcwallart
A dream destination for many, Iceland is another great place if you are looking for a holiday to relax and take things slow. While you may not always get a chance to view the Northern Lights, the famed Blue Lagoon is a definite must-visit.
Slap on a silica mud mask for a self-indulgent spa experience, while soaking yourself in the mineral-rich milky blue geothermal water that is said to cure skin ailments and improve skin conditions.
Where to stay: Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, from S$180 per night via Expedia
Interested for a getaway to Iceland but not know where to start? Check out Hendric’s Iceland Winter Itinerary for some ideas.
Machu Picchu has been on my bucket list since I knew about the mysterious ancient wonder. Hike the Inca trail, which starts from Chillca to Machu Picchu, and bless your eyes with the most awe-inspiring views of natural and old-world charms.
There are several trails to Machu Picchu, and the hikes can take up to 3-7 days. IG and FB updates can wait while you take in breath-taking views with your eyes.
Image credit: Incaworldperu
Where to stay: Casa Verde Hotel Ecologico, from S$105 per night via Expedia
Image credit: Sun Safaris
Escaping into the wilderness is a great way for a digital detox. Ultimately, it’s a place where mobile networks aren’t readily available. Forget about the major cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town. Instead, explore national parks and safaris in South Africa. At the famous Kruger National Park, one can encounter wild animals such as lions, elephants, giraffes, and buffalos you would normally only see caged up in zoos running free.
Image credit: andbeyond.com
If you want to opt for complete isolation, check into a wilderness camp where you can take a night’s rest in an electricity-free tent. So, sing Hakuna Matata out loud while you enjoy the peace and serenity among wildlife and nature during your digital detox trip.
Where to stay: Aha Bongani Mountain Lodge, from S$545 per night via Expedia
1) Use Paper Maps
To fully experience an unplugged holiday, you may want to go a little more extreme and use paper maps instead of Google Map, or simply ask locals for directions along the way.
2) Limit your 3G/Wi-Fi usage to Five Minutes a Day
Switch your phone to Airplane mode to prevent incoming notifications from distracting you. However, it’s okay to allow yourself a data or Wi-Fi connection of about five minutes per day, so you can let loved ones know you’re safe.
3) Capture Moments with Polaroid or Film Cameras
Cultivate a new interest in film photography, and start appreciating non-filtered photographs that were the norm before digital photography and Photoshop came about.
Kicking the habit of being overly reliant on digital gadgets forces us to interact with other people and be more aware of our surroundings. Then, we will learn to live in the moment while discovering more about ourselves, and the beautiful world around us.