The best digital detox destinations to help you unplug
Digital technology? Couldn’t live without it. But wouldn’t it also be nice to just get right away from it, just for a little while? Tune out from all the replying, liking, sharing and scrolling of the digitised modern lifestyle, and sync back into some pure, unbridled nature? It’s nice to know there are places where WiFi doesn’t matter. Sandy beaches way prettier in real life than on Instagram. Cities full of history and culture to explore. Wildlife getaways way off the grid. So avert your gaze from your screen (after you read this), and start plotting your next digital detox.
Luang Prabang - Laos
Misty mountains, a legendary river, an ancient city – Luang Prabang sounds like a fictional place, but the old capital of Laos is no myth. As untouched by big-city pressures as you can imagine any capital past or present, it’s a top contender for a digital detox.
Ways to spend your time without a trace of tech: river cruises along the Mekong; watching monks on their dawn rounds, collecting alms; supporting local artists with a visit to Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre; exploring caves and waterfalls; and climbing the sacred Mount Phousi.
Where to stay: At Avani+ Luang Prabang Hotel you’re within steps of Mount Phousi and the Mekong, with all of Luang Prabang’s old city within wandering distance. Cycle around town for a cultural escapade, day-trip up the river to the Pak Ou Caves, or delve into the city’s folklore and myths told the old-fashioned way: through storytelling and song.
Quy Nhon - Vietnam
If it’s beach days that help you tune out the noise, consider Quy Nhon top-tier therapy. Carefree days of swimming and leisurely beachcombing coupled with fresh air and amazing seafood will help you effortlessly reset. There’s more than beaches to Quy Nhon, too. The nearby Champa ruins give you a day immersed in local history, then there’s golfing, fishing or cycling to make the most of all that coastal air. Or take the old-fashioned approach to detox and sweat it out with a Vo Binh Dinh martial arts class.
Where to stay: Overlooking the harbour, with direct beach access, Avani Quy Nhon Resort makes it easy to ditch the phone. Wake up to morning yoga to set the tone for the day. Chill by the pool, walk along the coastline, dine with your significant other with spectacular ocean views.
Victoria Falls - Zambia
You don’t have to go to extremes to escape technology, but if you did, Victoria Falls is a good place to go. Nature here is truly wild. There’s the world’s largest falls, measuring a cool 1.7km in width. The Zambezi River, for all your white-water rapids-rafting needs (FYI: not phone-friendly). Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, exclusive Zambian home to white rhinos, plus giraffe, zebra, hippos and more. Then there’s the more relaxing screen-free diversions of traditional village visits and romantic dinner cruises.
Where to stay: The falls-side Avani Victoria Falls Resort puts you right in the middle of the action. Like, right in it. Zebra and gazelle saunter through the property, and the falls are only a five-minute walk away. When you’re not marvelling at nature, you’ll be delving into local culture, with a Zambian village dining experience, and traditional boma barbecues happening onsite.
Samui - Thailand
If there’s any place a digital detox seems fitting, it’s a tropical island. Down in the Gulf of Thailand, Samui fits that bill with long, sandy beaches and calm, transparent waters. It is literally a tropical island cliche. Swim, kayak or sail offshore, cycle or hike (or golf) through its hilly interior, or take a longtail boat to the ridiculously beautiful Ang Thong National Marine Park.
While Samui gives you all the nature you need to stay blissfully unplugged, it’s no deserted isle. Along its northern beaches you’ll find waterfront restaurants and bars where you can enjoy a fancy wine or a fresh seafood platter in the most cosmopolitan of company.
Where to stay: The peaceful Avani+ Samui Resort gives you everything required for a thorough digital detox. Waterfront views, private pool villas, healthy gourmet food and an actual deserted island just a longtail boat ride away, where there’s definitely no WiFi signal. On top of that, a spa’s worth of massages, scrubs and healing treatments to make sure your body is feeling good too.