October 6, 2017
If there’s anywhere on Earth that’s going to have the best in wellness options, it’s Thailand. China may have the best in “alternative” medicines, yes, and India may have all manner of yogic master, but it’s the combination of sun, sand, and spirituality that give Thai wellness that extra special touch.
For the healthy and the hungover alike, the array of wellness options in the Lands of Smiles runs the gamut from beach spas in Phuket to jungle yoga getaways.
Located on Koh Samui’s quieter, southern Laem Set, Kamalaya – laid out around a cave that once served as a monk meditation area – offers authentically styled villas with contemporary interiors. Named for the eponymous lotus realm as a symbol of growth and the unfolding of the spirit, Kamalaya seeks to ensure life-enriching, healthy holidays. Wellness at Kamalaya involves yoga, Thai massage, and fitness encompassed the resort’s award-winning holistic health programs.
“Asian Bliss” is a treatment that combines holistic Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Thai therapies to rebalance modern maladies such as stress and burnout. For epicurean nights, the Chawang and Lamai restaurants and nightclubs are not far away.
The island of Koh Phangan is renowned for its wild Full Moon Party, bringing thousands of rowdy kids for their monthly music and booze-fueled sloberknocker of a party. The Sanctuary, however, is just the opposite – a quiet haven hidden in the tiny bay of Haad Tien beach, accessible only by longtail boat.
The Sanctuary practices a holistic approach to self-awareness and well-being through relaxation, detox diets, and nature. Tucked into the jungle hillside above a beachside pescetarian restaurant, Thai-style hardwood cottages and multi-level stilt-houses create an inviting ambiance for a long stay of healing – or hangover penitence. Hedonist or holist alike indulge in a range of body treatments and Thai massage packages, from papaya scrubs and oil treatments to hot stone massages. Yoga, pilates, and workout sessions keep the active fit, and an herbal steam room and beach lazing make for unhurried relaxation.
The definition of a luxury wellness retreat need not only begin with Ayurveda and end with Zen. The Slate, on Phuket’s Nai Yang beach, hosts a selection of lushly landscaped, rustic-modern suites and villas and extravagantly designed reception areas that appeal to honeymooners and families.
The Private Pool Villa, for example, enclosed in its own garden, boasts a steam room, massage beds, and a 24-hour butler service. With several outdoor pools, restaurants, and a private beach, there’s little reason to leave. Nevertheless, the nearby Nai Yang Temple, Phuket town and market (or a round of golf) are on offer.
The Coqoon Spa features true wellness body treatments, massages, and yoga, while action-seekers might opt for Muay Thai courses, workouts, or time on the tennis court.
Not far from bustling Bangkok lies the royal city of Hua Hin – Thailand’s first true beach resort town. It’s also been home to the Chiva-Som Health Resort for over 20 years, garnering several spa travel awards over the last decade. The Thai pavilion-style architecture and tropical gardens on 20 acres offers an eclectic selection of rooms, suites and pavilions – many with sea views.
Chiva-Som has been practicing wellness before it was even dubbed wellness, with 72 treatment rooms and an array of water therapy pools. From holistic healing and yoga to physiotherapy and Tai Chi, Chiva-Som’s program encompasses 150 treatments. From health retreat to city respite, Hua Hin city – popular with Thai royalty – has a cosmopolitan feel, several palaces, and a resort tradition that goes back to the 1920s.
Unlike its island counterparts, The Pavana sits in mountainous Northern Thailand north of Chiang Mai. The Pavana’s philosophy for wellness employs a holistic approach for the inner and outer transformation by combining The Five Habits to Longevity: cleansing, eating properly, exercising, breathing, and mind-purification. Set in expansive natural surroundings, accommodations range from deluxe rooms to two-storey villas. The resort provides natural products, care of His Majesty the King’s Royal Project, and healthy dining with organic ingredients grown on site.
Header photo: Copyright © by Kamalaya Co.Ltd. Picture by Thomas Zerlauthheader