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Best for ancient cultures

September 7, 2020 - Exploring ancient cultures brings it home that our lives are just a tiny drop in the ocean of civilization that dates back for millennia! Here are our top destinations that reward your curiosity with discovery.

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Connecting with cultures past and present fosters an open mind, better understanding, and a deeper connection with our own cultural identity too. Put on your best sturdy shoes and let’s go!

Wander through wonders

Six Senses Kaplankaya offers a private and secluded setting on Turkey’s glorious Aegean coast. The region is also rich in beauty and archeology, with traditional villages and ancient wonders to explore.

Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was the most important commercial center of the region due to its strategic location on a very fertile valley. Dating back to the 10th century BCE, it was the trade center of the ancient world, and a religious center for early Christianity. It is said that the Virgin Mary lived her last years in a small cottage near here. Incidentally, the city was once a port but is now 6 miles from the sea.

We also offer a half-day tour of Didyma, the Temple of Apollo, which is just to our north, along with the ancient theatre Miletus. We’ll also take in Priene, a 2,500-year-old Ionian city once rich in Hellenistic art and architecture: its town planners also knew a thing or two about street grid systems long before Paris or New York. To make this experience even more thrilling, you can take in all three sights by helicopter, giving you a bird’s eye view of the Mediterranean coastline along the way.

To our south towards Bodrum, a half-day journey back in time to Etrim mountain village introduces you to authentic Anatolian village life in a nomadic mountain village. The villagers still hold traditional occupations based on farming, animal breeding and carpet weaving.

Old Istanbul by boat

As part of our special two-stop stay offer in Turkey, you can also head to the former capital. Six Senses Kocatas Mansions is located in the leafy Sariyer district of Istanbul’s European side. Away from the city center, our “Pearl of Bosphorus” offers airy guestrooms with high ceilings, gracious Ottoman-era styling and a prime location to visit Old Istanbul. With its abundant treasures, this peerless cultural melting pot of a city, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, served as the imperial capital for 16 centuries until 1923.

An optional boat ride takes you along the Shores of the Golden Horn. This trip will include a visit to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar.

There’s no better way to taste Turkish culture than through its coffee. Pick up a cezve and discover the origins of coffee-making and how it has been ground, blended and brewed throughout the years.  

If you’re looking to stay with us before the end of the year, check out our special Reopening Offer rates too.

Traditional Cambodia

If you’re yearning for winter sun, our back-to-nature Six Senses Krabey Island features just 40 private pool villas. The spa takes inspiration from the sacred Kbal Spean River, which is also known as the “River of a Thousand Lingas” due to the impressive carvings that line the riverbed paying homage to the Hindu deity Shiva. We invite you to dive into wellness with Cambodian healing treatments, beginning with a traditional Khmer massage. Pick your fresh and dried ingredients to blend into a bespoke herbal ball, which is wrapped in muslin and then applied to specific pressure points, using gentle and rolling movements.

Wobble out of the spa and into a Khmer Cooking Class to learn time-honored techniques of using a medley of flavors including lemongrass, ginger and turmeric. Talking of spices, the Kampot region is famed for pepper. Join us on a trip along The Spice Trail, which takes you past bright green rice fields and wooden houses on stilts up to one of the area’s most famous plantations. There you’ll enjoy a pepper-infused Khmer lunch with the Bokor Mountain range in the background.

Mighty Tao mountain

Where better than Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain to retrace the footsteps of Marco Polo through Dujiangyan? During a half-day tour, stopping off at fragrant gardens and Taoist temples along the way, you’ll see the oldest and largest surviving irrigation works, built in 256 BCE, that still play an important role today.

You also have the option to stay for a delicious Sichuan dinner and discover the town at night before the excursion continues to the Nan-Qiao Bridge, which is lit up in vibrant colors. From there you can climb up the city wall and take your Insta-photo-op by the ancient city gate.

Anyone with a bucket list will want to join the half-day adventure hike to the home of Tai Chi. On the way up, we’ll stop to visit Jianfu Palace and then reach the Tianshi Cave, the birthplace of Taoism. Reaching the summit of Qing Cheng Mountain rewards you with an incredible panoramic view.

We also invite foodies to come with us on a road less traveled up to a Grandma’s Lunch with a long-lived mountain community that belongs to the Da Qin minority in China. The path winds through fields of fruit trees and blooming Sichuan peppercorn trees, passing ancient ruins and watchtowers. This is a unique chance to taste a recipe that follows its own journey back in time, accompanied by seasonal produce that has been picked fresh for the occasion. With each mouthful comes a discovery, about the family's indigenous farming methods and health benefits of each ingredient.

Discoveries continue in our spa, with Moxibustion, a traditional Chinese treatment that uses moxa (dried plant materials) to stimulate pressure points with the intention to invigorate and balance the flow of qi (energy). For the bold, our Tui Na manipulative hands-on therapy uses Chinese Taoist and martial arts principles to bring the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) into balance. The practitioner will press and rub the areas between each of the joints to get the energy moving in your meridians and muscles – techniques may be gentle or quite firm!

Our Early Booking offers are valid all year round, with some of the best times to visit the Chengdu area (in our humble opinion) during the long and warm spring (March to June) or slightly cooler autumn (September to November).

Dreaming of your next vacation but not ready to travel? Enjoy a 20 percent bonus when you book now and stay later using our Plan Now, Play Later Certificates, valid for three years.

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