Thailand is the ideal destination for anybody seeking a health and wellness holiday. Whether you’re looking for a detox for mind or body or want to pamper yourself at a luxury spa, Thailand is a welcoming destination. With a healthy combination of warm weather, lush landscapes, fabulous food and wonderful Thai hospitality, Thailand offers the perfect environment to gently ease away any physical or emotional stress.
The diverse landscapes of Thailand help to make the country an outstanding choice for a wellness holiday. Enjoy a revitalising mountain retreat in north Thailand or unwind on the idyllic beaches in south Thailand. Luxuriate in quiet hideaways on the east coast and discover calm amidst the urban bustle of Bangkok. We’ve highlighted some ideas for you below, but wherever you decide to travel in Thailand there are an abundance of options for you to choose from.
“Holistic and spiritual healing are part and parcel of Thai life, so it’s easy to see why so many weary Westerners have been seeking wellness solutions for decades in this ancient Asian kingdom”.– Frances Geoghegan founder of Healing Holidays
Although Bangkok may not be the first place you think of when it comes to serenity, the Thai capital is home to a number of world-class spas and wellness centres. Find tranquillity in the city at The Peninsula with their “Life Lived Best” wellness philosophy. The holistic approach offers you a personalised retreat programme based on four elements: healthy food, exercise, sleep and mindfulness.
At the gorgeous Spa Botanica, treatments vary according to the season and the availability of fruits and other natural ingredients used. The spa is part of The Sukhothai, one of the most delightful hotels in the Thai capital. A short stroll from The Sukhothai, the equally salubrious Banyan Tree offers a panoramic view of the Bangkok skyline and the chance to indulge yourself with one of the Banyan Tree Spa’s signature treatments using fresh and natural ingredients.
Opened in December 2021, RAKxa Wellness delivers bespoke healthcare in a relaxing environment on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. RAKxa is located on Bang Krachao, an island which is often referred to as the ‘Green Lung of Bangkok’ and provides a wonderful setting for RAKxa’s unique wellness programmes which blend advanced medical science with holistic, traditional treatments.
Check out the various spa and wellness treatments at Anantara Siam. The luxury Bangkok hotel has also introduced VIVID by Verita Health where you can choose from a host of treatments and therapies for a revitalising pick-me-up with booster shots and IV pushes which help reduce the signs of ageing, refresh the skin and flush out toxins.
For anybody interested in traditional Thai massage, a visit to Wat Pho is a must. Home to the famous Reclining Buddha, the temple is also the spiritual home of traditional Thai medicine and massage and an excellent location to experience the benefits of a traditional Thai massage. What is regarded as Thailand’s first university was established here in the temple grounds and Wat Pho continues to preserve and teach traditional Thai medicine and massage.
Traditional Thai massage
For many Thai people, a traditional Thai massage is part of their regular wellness routine. If you’ve never experienced a traditional Thai massage before, think of it as yoga for the mind and body. There are many health benefits to this ancient form of massage which is one of the core components in traditional Thai medicine along with herbal medicine, a balanced diet and meditation. Traditional Thai medicine takes a preventative approach and it’s believed that massage helps the positive flow of energy throughout the body which in turn helps prevent illness.
Pak Chong, Khao Yai
Located in north-east Thailand, Khao Yai National Park is the country’s oldest national park. Spanning four provinces (Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachinburi and Saraburi) the park is home to a host of wildlife including elephants. The park has long been popular with weekend visitors from Bangkok who come here to escape the city and unwind amidst the natural surroundings. For travellers from Bangkok, the park is best reached via Pak Chong in Nakhon Ratchasima province. This is an area which enjoys a growing focus on health and wellness with luxury hotels, outstanding spa facilities, organic food and farmers’ markets.
One of the best places to stay in Pak Chong is the elaborate Movenpick Resort Khao Yai. Enjoy the mountain backdrop and fresh air and take the opportunity to receive a full health check-up at the resort’s Panacée Wellness Centre where the focus is on preventative treatment and tests to diagnose any potential health problems.
East Coast Thailand
If you are travelling to Thailand’s east coast, look out for a unique spa experience in Trat. At the Spa de Chong in Ban Chang Thun, you can experience the ‘spa sum gai’ – the ‘chicken coop spa’. As the name suggests, the inspiration for the spa are the bamboo cages that are normally used for roosters, but which have been adapted for human use to become personal steam rooms. Covered with insulation and with a hole cut out for a person’s head to poke through, steamed herbs are fed through to provide a unique mini-spa.
From the Trat mainland, hop over to the lovely island of Ko Chang where you can relax on tropical beaches and hike into the island’s green interior. For a chance to detox, visit The Spa Koh Chang Resort. Locally sourced fresh fruits and vegetables complement the seafood from the nearby Salak Khok fishing village. Ease away tensions at the steam room where blends of Thai herbs are used. Healthy outdoor activities are also encouraged here with visitors given the opportunity to explore hiking trails or go kayaking.
Chiang Mai enjoys a reputation for health and wellness experiences with the northern province home to yoga schools, world class spas and massage treatments.
Situated around 10 miles from Chiang Mai city centre, the village of Baan Rai Kong Khing has established an award-winning education centre which helps preserve traditional medicine and promotes organic herbal products. One of the community leaders sums up the healthy approach of the villagers; “We use food as medicine. When your heart is well, you are not stressed”. Baan Rai Kong Khing is a fantastic place to visit if you’re interested in responsible tourism and also gives you a chance to experience the unique yam khang fire massage.
Award-winning Fah Lanna Spa has earned praise not just for the quality of the massage treatments, but also for their proactive approach to responsible tourism and the way they promote traditional Lanna (northern Thai) culture both within the spa and the wider community. One of the signature local treatments is the tok sen massage where a special wooden ‘hammer’ is used to gently tap away on the meridian lines. The physical tapping motions and the sound vibrations created combine to ease muscle tension and clear energy blockages in the body.
Relax amidst the scenic Chiang Mai countryside at the Panviman Resort in Mae Rim. Panviman’s ‘East Meets West’ spa treatments combine ancient local wisdom with daily yoga and meditation classes. Enjoy all the resort has to offer by staying here overnight or visit Panviman Spa on a day visit to try their recommended detoxifying treatments that help rejuvenate the body.
With a convenient city centre close to the Ping River, the Rarinjinda Wellness Spa Resort is a great choice for a wellness break in Chiang Mai. Benefit from the resort’s spa, hydrotherapy treatments, yoga and fitness programmes.
Southern Thailand (Andaman Coast)
If you’re looking for a beach holiday that incorporates wellness experiences, look no further than Southern Thailand.
Ko Yao Noi
Ko Yao Noi is a wonderfully relaxed island to visit. The pace of life here is slow and cycling around the quiet roads and simply enjoying the laidback lifestyle is the perfect antidote to a busy lifestyle. For a truly memorable experience, stay at the superb Six Senses where in-house wellness experts will tailor-make treatments for you to help boost your immunity, detox and improve your sleep. And with the added bonus of stunning views of Phang Nga Bay, Six Senses is a memorable place to stay.
Layana Resort & Spa is an ideal place to revive body and soul. With a spectacular beachfront location on the laidback island of Ko Lanta, the wellness treatments at Layana are designed to lower your stress levels and improve your mental and physical health. Practice yoga, benefit from meditation, enjoy healthy food, and destress at the Linger Longer Spa.
Thailand’s largest island is home to some truly outstanding health and wellness experiences. Stay at Amanpuri to benefit from their wellness programmes which are tailored to meet your specific circumstances and needs. Learn how to deal with stress, undergo a medical detox, and find out how to manage a healthy weight.
Sitting at the tip of a cape with views out towards Phang Nga Bay, Shambhala Retreat at COMO Point Yamu is a gorgeous location to unwind/destress. The luxury Phuket wellness retreat offers a range of holistic treatments designed to improve mental and physical health. Ease away tensions with traditional Thai massage and a daily schedule of activities including yoga and Pilates which help to complement your wellness experience.
A secluded location on the southern tip of Phuket adds to the feeling of privacy and calm at Amatara Wellness Resort. Luxurious suites and villas are the perfect place to relax as you enjoy the range of holistic treatments and activities to help you revitalise mind and body.
Southern Thailand (Gulf Coast)
Thailand’s original seaside resort, Hua Hin, is where you will find the internationally renowned Chiva-Som. The World Spa Awards (UK) voted Chiva-Som as ‘Asia’s Best Wellness Retreat 2020’. The treatments here are all inspired by the philosophy that for a person to transform their health, the body, mind, and spirit, must be given equal care and attention. To help achieve this, one of Chiva-Som’s expert health and wellness advisors will listen to your needs and then work out the best way to achieve your personal goals.
An hour north of Hua Hin, the Golden Turbine Spa (Kang Hun Tong) in Phetchaburi province, makes good use of local products. This area is famous for its sea salt production and visitors can enjoy a range of salt therapies.
Ko Pha Ngan
With a well-established health and wellness scene, the island of Ko Pha Ngan is a wonderful location to recharge your batteries and launch the new you.
Stay at The Sanctuary, an aptly named retreat nestled in picturesque Haad Tien Bay. With the sea on one side and jungle on the other this is a fabulous location to connect with nature and soothe your mind and body. Take part in daily yoga classes, attend healing workshops and cleanse your body with a detox.
If you watched the BBC/Netflix series, The Retreat you’ll already be familiar with Orion Healing Centre on Ko Pha Ngan. This is where Nick Knowles and friends visited for a month-long detox and yoga retreat in 2016. The British TV presenter was reported to be sceptical at first, but said the experience changed his life in a positive way. The aim of Orion is to make you healthier, happier, and more energetic. With a garden setting adjacent to the beach, Orion Healing Centre offers the chance for you to transform your life.
A short boat ride away from Ko Pha Ngan is the bigger and more famous island of Ko Samui where you can find plenty more options for health and wellness experiences.
Situated in the north-east corner of Samui between the beaches of Chaweng and Choeng Mon, Absolute Sanctuary adopts a holistic approach to wellness. Maybe you’re looking for a complete change of lifestyle or maybe you just need to destress or detox. Whatever is important to you for a wellness break, Absolute Sanctuary will focus on your specific needs.
For yoga lovers, Samahita Retreat is heaven. Regarded as one of the top locations in the world for a yoga holiday, the Samui retreat is also a great place to visit for aspiring yoga teachers.
At the fabulous Kamalaya you will receive all the guidance you need to achieve a healthy lifestyle. And when you return home from your holiday, Kamalaya can help provide you with online support if required. Located on the quiet southern part of Ko Samui, the luxury health resort is a great choice for a wellness holiday.
The northern tip of the island is the location for the sublime Six Senses Ko Samui. Relax in the serene environment with views over the Gulf of Thailand. Choose from a range of treatments designed to boost your immunity, improve sleep, and reduce stress.
Discover more about Thailand health and wellness holidays
In the words of Frances Geoghegan, the founder of the specialist tour company Healing Holidays, “Holistic and spiritual healing are part and parcel of Thai life, so it’s easy to see why so many weary Westerners have been seeking wellness solutions for decades in this ancient Asian kingdom”. As frequent visitors to Thailand, Frances and her dedicated team of experts offer unrivalled insider knowledge for anybody seeking a wellness holiday.
Find out more from Healing Holidays
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