Tourism Insights from ‘The Conversation’

5 Top Spiritual Tourism Destinations & How to Experience Them

[Updated April 3, 2022] We can go to the most religious places in the world, but they will not be spiritual until we turn inward.

Alan Lew
Published in
8 min readMar 17, 2022


Morning alms giving in Luang Prabang, Laos, by Christin Bowman (, CC-BY-SA)

by Jaeyeon Choe and Alan A. Lew

Non-Medium subscribers can access this full article here.

The pandemic has led some people to take a greater interest in religion and spirituality as a way of coping with the unprecedented changes that have taken place. As a result, spiritual tourism is expected to rise significantly post-pandemic.

One of the many definitions of the “spirit” is that it is our inner, nonphysical world, including both our conscious and subconscious minds. Our spiritual self interprets sensory inputs from our outer world and creates our experience of reality. Most people understand this. For example, a survey by the Fetzer Institute in February 2020 (just before the pandemic) found 73% of US adults identified themselves as either moderately or very spiritual.

We usually associate spirituality with practices such as religious worship, meditation, and yoga. But for many, travel can also be a highly spiritual practice because it involves being immersed in an experience different from our normal existence. It is also a “liminal experience” — we are suspended in an unknown setting which opens us to new possibilities.

Spiritual tourism, including wellness tourism, was a rising global trend before the pandemic. That is seen in our popular culture, as well, with the book and Hollywood film Eat Pray Love, for example, drawing tourists to India and Bali (Indonesia) for spiritual solutions to the challenges of modern life.

As the pandemic eases and the world gradually returns to international travel, we expect places known for their spiritual energy and significance will become popular destinations…



Alan Lew
Tourism Geographic

Anything and Everything is Possible in an Infinite Universe — (paywall-free article links)