This wellness startup wants Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong to go ‘Om’

J. Angelo Racoma

With a curated wellness travel experience, Om & Away aims to help clients relax and de-stress

More than 60 percent of Singaporeans complain of heavy workload and stress at the workplace, according to a recent JobsCentral survey — perhaps it is something common across cultures and work environments. What’s a better way to destress and relax than by escaping it all?

Wellness startup Om & Away has just the solution, and it is on soft launch in Singapore, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), offering 70 kinds of wellness and holistic travel experiences across 17 countries, in partnership with 21 travel providers.

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Such experiences include health, fitness, adventure, spa & beauty, healthy eating, spiritual, and personal growth. According to Charlyn Ding, Founder and ‘Chief Om Goddess’ at Om & Away, the idea to launch a wellness startup stemmed from a recent travel experience that left her wanting for more.

“Om & Away was an idea born when I returned from my first yoga retreat last year,” she told e27. “I went on the most divine retreat in Lambognan in Bali. It was five days of pure bliss. We did yoga everyday, meditated, surfed, hiked, and had spa and massage treatments daily, as well! My body, mind and heart were well pampered. I came back and was literally glowing from the whole experience. I wanted to share this experience with all my friends, for them to feel the same! I was floating on clouds for quite a few days even after I returned.”

One concern, however, was curating the travel experience. Ding said that friends’ recommendations are often the best way to find the best travel options.

“The only thing is, with retreats, you would usually go to one through a recommendation from a friend. It was not easy to search for a retreat to go on — all of the sites on Google were individually focused. That’s why, after a couple of conversations, we decided to just set up a one stop info retreat portal for wellness focussed people to get together and browse through awesome retreats.”

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Ding adds that the search for wellness is actually a rising trend worldwide, which means there is a gap that needs to be addressed, in terms of finding the right retreats for the people who need it most.

Om and Away Yoga

“Wellness tourism represent the intersection of a powerful lifestyle trend and a growing global industry. The increase in stressors in our daily lives has caused many more people have a paradigm shift in travel. More trips are made that are more wellness centric than before,” she adds.

“The rise of the global middle class – and the basic contemporary human need to rest, de-stress, and experience other places and cultures – continues to fuel an industry whose worldwide growth has surpassed other industries.”

Ding adds that SRI International has forecast a 13.4 per cent annual increase in wellness travel expenditure for the next five years in the Asia Pacific region — perhaps a rising trend as more people try to deal with the stresses in their daily professional lives. However, even as wellness-focused travel is available, the idea behind Om & Away is to curate the experience, rather than offer as many retreats as possible.

“There are other similar agencies in Europe and North America, but they are chock full of retreats. They are not very easy to navigate and are sometimes rather crowded. We intend to bring only retreats that have the best reviews. So essentially its a word-of-mouth recommendation, but online. Through Om & Away, one would be able to compare, book, and review. Our customers can earn ‘om-points’ which not only gets them discounts with us, but can also be used for massages, barre classes and more!”

The ‘Chief Om Goddess’ adds that Om & Away is planning a launch event in early 2017, although it is currently in soft launch in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Hong Kong.

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Image Credits: Om & Away

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