From the tops of Machu Picchu, to the rose-red rock of Petra’s canyon-like Siq, to the divinely-inspired churches of northern Ethiopia, there are plenty of places on earth that inspire. If you’re looking for a holiday with a spiritual element, here are a few suggestions:

Korean retreat
Live like a monk at the Lotus Lantern International Meditation Centre. Located two hours from Seoul, this 12-year-old Buddhist temple was designed for foreigners looking to study the religious philosophy of Zen Buddhism. Visitors sleep on traditional Korean cots, wake up at the crack of dawn (3:45 a.m., to be exact), slip into itchy grey training suits, eat simple food, wash their own dishes and meditate many times a day.

Sun rise in Namibia
Bordering South Africa and Botswana, Namibia is where the Atlantic Ocean meets the desert, and where rich wildlife and traditional African culture meet some of the world’s most stunning sunrises. A popular tourist activity is climbing up Dune 45, one of Namibia’s many natural sand castles. The hike along the ridge isn’t easy, but it’s all worthwhile when you see the sun’s warm, orange light illuminate the 80-million-year-old Namib Desert.

Get enlightened in India
Rishikesh, a holy city in northern India, is a place many travellers go to find themselves. It’s a wildly popular spot on the banks of the Ganges River that draws Hindu pilgrims, new-age hippies, young Israeli backpackers and wise Babas who spend their days in the lotus position. Located some 200 kilometres from Delhi, this self-proclaimed yoga capital of the world is packed with meditation centres, ash­rams, Ayurvedic massage parlours, vegetarian rest­aurants and spiritual communities. With its nightly ceremonies along the river and vibe of collective spirituality, there’s something magical about Rishikesh.

Fountain of youth
For a look at the cradle of Incan civilization and a taste of her sacred waters, head to Isla del Sol on the shores of Bolivia’s sacred Lake Titicaca. On the south end of the island, walk up 200 steps to a sacred spring that’s said to be the fountain of youth. A sip of the water is not only refreshing, it’s an important part of Incan tradition. Lake Titicaca is also the highest navigable body of water in world — which means you may have difficulty differentiating between your own spiritual enlightenment and good old-fashion altitude sickness.

By Julia Dimon

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