Vivienne Tang knows wellness. The founder of wellness and luxury travel platform Destination Deluxe, she is a woman always on the move, and yet always in tune with herself. To learn her secrets, we caught up with the mistress of zen, who was named one of Hong Kong’s 2018 “Top 10 Luxury Lifestyle Influencers” by Marketing Magazine, on a recent trip to Koh Samui.
Here, Vivienne tells us all about her experiences in Koh Samui, its wellness scene, and how to keep sane and balanced on the road and at home.
What is wellness to you and how did you get started on your own wellness journey and ultimately start Destination Deluxe?
For me, it’s important that wellness is approached on many levels. I believe we must address, mind, body and spirit to feel whole.
I embarked on my wellness journey many years ago. When I was 16, I had my first Reiki session, and I’ve been active in this field ever since. My wellness journey unfolded organically, from studying astrology and reflexology, researching and writing about wellness for my first website, The Source Asia, learning to meditate and gain greater psychic awareness, practising holistic therapies such as kinesiology and hands-on healing, to running a wellness centre, The Sanctuary, in Hong Kong, and launching Destination Deluxe. I’ve been in publishing my entire career, so it just seemed natural to fuse my passion for wellness with publishing.
What are some simple changes people can make to remain well in their everyday lives?
To create a regular meditation practice is always my #1 piece of advice. Having this daily ritual helps you to return to yourself and to be present in the moment. In our fast-paced lives, we’re constantly running around, chasing something, pleasing others, and often forgetting about our own needs and feelings. Having this quiet time to create and further our self-connection is vital for our personal growth and our wellbeing.
Of course, I also recommend a regular workout practice. I take barre classes and go hiking in nature when I’m in Hong Kong, and I’ve also started an at-home HIIT practice with a fit band.
How about when we’re travelling? What can we do to remain balanced?
That’s where regular meditation practice is so important, even if it’s just 10 minutes in the morning to set the day, or 10 minutes in the evening to process everything that has happened that day. This will help you to feel more centred and grounded, despite all the flying around, and different time zones that you have to adapt to.
I also try to get some workouts in while travelling, so the HIIT workouts are great to do in a hotel room, and I also try to attend some yoga classes depending on the destination and resort.
You recently spent some time in Samui. How was your trip?
It was great. I stayed at The View and attended a wellness retreat after that. The stays were very different though. I love the freedom that comes with staying at a private villa. Having a whole day without any concrete plans is very liberating. We live in such a fast-paced world that it’s nice to kick back sometimes and not have to do anything. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t have emails waiting for me, ha!
I also like attending retreats, as you receive a schedule, which allows you to participate in yoga and meditation classes etc., but without having to make any major decisions. I think that’s why retreats are so popular. People are always forced to be “on”, and if you attend a retreat, they do everything for you. You show up and receive all the wellness benefits, from healthy food to holistic practices.
It seems like you travel around Thailand quite a lot, how does Koh Samui compare to the rest of the country?
I was in Chiang Mai before I went to Samui. I love Samui foremost because of its accessibility. You get direct flights from Hong Kong, plus the airport in Koh Samui is basically the coolest airport in the world. There is only one conveyor belt!
I also love Koh Samui for its fabulous weather and beaches, as well as all the wellness offerings.
You mentioned you stayed at The View in Samui. How was it?
It was an absolute dream! Waking up to that breathtaking view every morning was something very magical. And that shower inside the master bedroom is simply one of a kind. I would love to return with a group of friends for a special event such as a birthday party, or even just to vacay together. I think it offers the perfect setting for a relaxing holiday where at least five families can stay there and spend quality time together.
In one of your Instagram posts during the trip, you called The View one of the most epic you’ve ever seen – What makes it special?
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One of the most epic villas I’ve ever seen! @theviewsamui Check out my Stories for the complete 6-bedroom villa tour ? You can book this stunning place over at @theluxenomad Link in Stories ? #TheLuxeNomad #ThatVillaLife #TheViewSamui #DestinationDeluxe @DestinationDeluxe #kohsamui #luxurytravel
It’s definitely the view. Waking up to 180-degree panoramic vistas of sky and ocean is just so very soothing. And those sunsets! Every evening I would open up the sliding doors in the bedroom and just lay on the bed and take in the sunset. It was pretty mesmerising. I also like the fact that two of the bedrooms aren’t in the main building. So it feels spacious and expansive. I really felt like it automatically created more space in my mind.
We’re so glad you loved The View. If you had to choose 3 of your favourite spots at the Villa, what would they be?
The master bedroom with the in-room shower. Epic! The pool area is pretty cool too; the reflection of the sky looks stunning. I also like the balcony of room #3. You’re surrounded by lush green foliage, but you can also see the beach from there, and it almost feels like you’re in a completely different villa.
What type of wellness activities did you get up to in Samui and what do you recommend?
I attended the Women’s Holistic Health retreat at Absolute Sanctuary, a new programme they’ve just launched. They offer daily Pilates classes, as well as one-on-ones. It’s perfect for someone who wants to enjoy wellness but also work on their fitness and strength at the same time. I also love Kamalaya, another wellness retreat, which offers a stunning environment, as well as a range of holistic treatments to support you on your wellness journey. They also have some of the best sunsets I’ve experienced on the island. The place is pretty magical; I’ve had some great emotional and mental transformations there.
At The View, The Luxe Nomad organised a private yoga class for me. My teacher, Eranur Shahda, showed up at the villa, and we did an hour of al fresco yoga on the terrace, and after that, she left again. I was able to fit it perfectly into my schedule, something I will definitely recommend to clients and friends who are staying at a villa together. Why not organise an in-villa group yoga class?
How’s Koh Samui’s wellness scene overall?
Even though Koh Samui has been on people’s radar for a long time, I still feel that wellness continues to grow here. The retreats are coming up with new and exciting programmes; for example, I attended a Sleep Retreat at Kamalaya last time I was here. It was an amazing experience to learn about evening rituals before bedtime, the appropriate supplements and so on.
I also love what is happening in the yoga scene here, and the people who are involved and contributing to it. For example, Eranur Shahda, my yoga teacher who came to The View… I love what she’s doing with Shahda Yoga, located in the Fisherman’s Village, and her involvement with Greenlight Café & Bar, an organic flexitarian restaurant, and Elysia Boutique Resort, which all offer yoga classes.
Where is your ultimate wellness destination? What’s so special about it?
Not sure if you could call it wellness per se, but now that “remote destinations” and “immersing in nature” are defined as wellness, I’d say Raja Ampat in Indonesia. I believe that nature is our medicine, and I love being in the water, and so that particular region, which is a protected area, offers such a diverse and thriving marine world. Currently, it’s still very untouched, and Wi-Fi is sparse (think digital detox), so I’m recommending it to people who need a break and would like to get away from it all for a few weeks. I love it there, and I keep returning for more.