Holistic Getaway, For A Whole New You
By Barbara Woolsey
Sometimes, it’s impossible to say no to dessert. You know you shouldn’t, but sometimes that spoonful of cheesecake really is the cure to a rough and strenuous day. Thankfully, modern living is all about keeping everything in moderation – enjoy yourself, but don’t forget to work those toxins out later.
Detoxes can be stressful and tiring, especially while trying to juggle work at the same time. So one of the best ways to keep a good balance is going away on a health retreat. It’s become quite easy these days with the wide array of resorts and spas available, all geared towards helping people achieve their health goals through detox, yoga, organic food and more. It’s good for the mind, body and spirit – and let’s face it, it’s a lot easier (and more effective) than being grumpy on a juice cleanse in your everyday life.
Luckily, the Land of Smiles is known to have some of the best health retreats in the world. We have rounded up a list of Thailand’s most outstanding to help you plan your next soul-purifying getaway.
Chiva Som International Health Resort
Hailed as the world’s leading health retreat, Chiva Som is as luxurious as shedding toxins can be. Since opening in 1995, the resort has welcomed Hollywood celebrities and business moguls to its resort on the Gulf of Thailand, taking pride in putting them back on the path to rejuvenation.
Chiva Som’s naturopaths and holistic practitioners are the best in their industry, creating detox programs tailor-made to individual guest needs. It’s a hefty task, considering there are over 200 treatments offered, and packages range from the strictest of system flushes to a non-threatening introductory option. One of the coolest offerings is the daily cooking classes, where guests learn healthy recipes that include fresh produce from Chiva Som’s much-lauded organic garden.
The Sanctuary Thailand
Don’t let Koh Phangan’s party island status fool you, it’s hippie yes, but its holistic side is alive and thriving at The Sanctuary. This is the ultimate low-key “get away from it all” retreat, located in Had Tien, a clandestine bay that’s more easily reached by water than wheels. The Sanctuary offers a wide variety of detox options, including raw food menus, liver, candida and master cleanses and more. Those who don’t want to commit to a program can take all their cues from the restaurant menu, featuring tasty vegetarian Thai and Indian dishes and revitalizing fruit smoothies.
Kamalaya Koh Samui
Kamalaya’s holistic spa and resort is full of good vibrations – after all, it’s located next to a cave where Buddhist monks once made their spiritual retreats. The resort builds on that energy today, offering traditional meditation and wellness programs to meet specific needs – from stress burnout to weight loss. The programs are taken from ancient Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, offering a full mind-body-spirit approach to wellbeing. The rooms are cosy and scenic, nestled between natural rock walls and primeval trees, with the day spa located on top of a cliff. It’s the perfect place for a little quiet and reflection.
This resort on the southern tip of Phuket offers an experience that’s both dreamy and authentic. Days start off with ginger tea in the open-air yoga sala, and end with a traditional wood-burning Thai herbal sauna in the late afternoon. Outdoor gazebos provide the perfect escape for a little contemplation or an afternoon siesta.
Spa treatments include everything from galvanic facials to anti-cellulite body wraps, and the detox programs are packed full of system-boosting goodies like wheatgrass shooters and probiotics. For those who are curious about getting into raw food, the enticing dishes at Atsumi’s Raw Café are bound to make you a believer.
The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
Dhara Dhevi’s five-star spa is structurally jaw dropping, and to say it’s the most beautiful of its kind in Thailand wouldn’t be a stretch. Created in the image of the splendour of a palace in Mandalay, the building took Chiang Mai artisans three years to complete thanks to the elaborate motifs chiselled on the facade. The treatment menu is equally luxurious, featuring homemade scrubs made from rice and herbs and ancient therapies using Ayurvedic oils. The Dhara Dhevi even offers Shirodhara, an intriguing technique from the Indian tradition where warm oil is poured onto the forehead or “third eye” in a steady, continuous stream. It’s said to improve the nervous system’s flow of impulses, while instilling a feeling of being centred.
The Spa Koh Chang Resort
Koh Chang’s most hip and trendy health retreat is all about indulgence of the healthiest kind. A lengthy menu of detox juices and raw foods will leave any guest wanting for nothing, proving that detox definitely isn’t about going hungry. The restaurant menu is also locally sourced, with fresh fruits and vegetables coming from the nearby Doi Kum Royal Project and seafood from the Salak Kok fishing village. Yes, there’s even healthy raw food dessert! Toxins stand zero chance against such detox programs coupled with The Spa’s signature rock cabin, where a recycled old wooden shingle roof holds in a healthy steam of 15 Thai herbs. The resort tries to combine detox with stimulating activity, for example exploring the island by hiking and kayaking.
The Spa Resort Chiang Mai
Whether you’re seeking a healthy retreat or a health boot camp, Spa Resort plays to both sides of the spectrum. They offer relaxing massages, yoga and even a meditative labyrinth walk – on the other side, there’s also the opportunity for jogging, swimming and other vigorous workouts. The resort also has its own 20-acre organic farm, which carries up to 40 different vegetables according to season and cows and ducks that help compost. Guests are encouraged to come and learn about organic farming, and perhaps even take home a few ideas about sustainability.
Samahita is one of the world’s top destinations for a yoga holiday, offering daily programs complemented with detox and cleansing options. Many people come here for their yoga teacher training while also taking advantage of the spa menu and infrared sauna. The rooms boast an eco-friendly design, including solar-powered hot water and structured brickwork that minimizes energy and sound loss. Whether on the sea view or private balcony, there’s no better place to do a few sun salutations and be at peace.
Thai Beach Retreat Krabi
This modest, little retreat in Krabi is all about getting healthy, and giving back to the environment at the same time. It was started by a retired boat captain from Hawaii and his Thai wife, who are always on hand for a friendly hello or a little help.
The resort is home to an impressive 20-acre organic garden, which only a few years ago was wild and untouched jungle brush. Guests can get their hands dirty gardening or orchard keeping, or simply relax and take in the beauty.
Absolute Sanctuary is where your complete lifestyle overhaul is about to begin. The Moroccan-inspired resort on Koh Samui offers signature detox programs in three, five and seven-day stints that include daily lymphatic drainage, colon hydrotherapy, massages and more. For those who need a little more help getting on track, there are even alternative therapies like Chi Nei Tsang (a deep abdominal massage that helps digestion) and holistic Shiatsu. The resort also offers the mother of all detoxes, the “20 Day Detoxer’s Delight” which includes reiki sessions, body wraps and scrubs, unlimited yoga and more. Lounging on bright Marrakesh carpets or next to the pool and eliminating toxins, it’s impossible to leave the Absolute Sanctuary not feeling totally invigorated.