A recent Skyscanner Australia survey found that at least 1 in 10 Aussies plan to take a wellness, health or fitness holiday this year. Mental exhaustion is a key motivator but so too is a desire to get ourselves in better shape, drop old habits and improve our general sense of wellbeing. Travel writer and marathon runner Fiona Harper shares 7 days and 7 ways towards a healthier you in Thailand which she discovered recently following her participation in the Bangkok Marathon.
Day 1 Bangkok – Float your way to wellness
Upon arriving in Bangkok, the crazy traffic and big city smog can be an assault to the senses. We suggest you ease gently into your first day in Thailand with a therapeutic floating session. At the Bangkok Float Centre, first time floaters are guided gently through an introductory session which aims to relieve pain, improve athletic performance and increases endorphin production – the sort of high that runners know so well.
Day 2 Traditional Thai massage
When in Thailand a traditional Thai massage should be top of your list. When you visit the famous Temple of the Reclining Buddha, pop next door into the Watpo Thai Traditional Massage School. Watpo is the spiritual home of Thai healing and wellness, training practitioners who take their skills across the globe. It’s not the sort of place you’d visit for a luxury spa experience. However, Watpo excels in providing an authentic, healing half-hour Thai massage, which for approx. AU$10 is a screaming bargain.
Day 3 Lace up your running shoes
Join 13,000-plus fitness enthusiasts for the Amazing Thailand Marathon Bangkok (held in Feb) for the rare opportunity to run through Bangkok’s notoriously traffic-clogged streets sans-traffic. Starting near Golden Mountain pre-dawn when the roads are closed, runners fly past Victory and King Rama V Monuments before heading over Rama VIII Bridge. Fireworks and ear-blasting doof-doof add to the charged, festival-like atmosphere. Not up for a marathon? Don’t worry, there are a 2.5km family fun run, 10km and 21km runs too.
Day 4 Phuket – Beach-style wellness
Leave Bangkok behind to fly to Phuket, well known by Aussies for its dreamy beaches, waterfront restaurants and bars and gorgeous holiday resorts. Andara Resort & Villas take wellness and fitness to another level with a gym to rival the best. There’s also a comprehensive program of classes led by Personal Trainers from Boot Camp, Muay Thai and Pilates amongst many others. Andara’s Signature Massage involves a combination of intense rubbing to create heat on oiled skin, followed by vigorous cupping and chopping.
Day 5 Fine tune your athleticism
Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort is the sort of hotel where lycra is de rigeur – leave your cocktail dress and fancy shoes at home! Book in for an intensive program designed around sports improvement, detox, weight loss or a custom designed program to suit your body and budget.
Rise before dawn at Thanyapura for an early morning workout in one of Phuket’s most impressive gyms. After your workout head to one of the swimming pools (there’s an 50m Olympic pool and a 25m training pool), the cushioned synthetic running track, tennis courts equivalent to those used at the Australian Open, a football pitch, or perfect your long or high jumps in the athletics precinct.
Day 6 Break out a sweat at the vegan buffet
In between classes, dine at Thanyapura’s vegan buffet lunch bar with its fresh juices, vegetable and grain dishes (who knew quinoa risotto was so delicious?) and oodles of fresh salads. It’s health food that tastes every bit as scrumptious as it looks. Don’t forget that workout towel.
Day 7 Water babies take a deep breath
The swanky new Crest Resort & Pool Villas juts dramatically from the cliffs at the southern end of the beach. Rooms with direct swimming pool access are perfect for water babies. Fitness addicts will find their sweet spot at PRIMA & Holistic Wellness Village with early morning Sun Salutations or Sunset Meditation on the rooftop sky lounge. For a totally decadent treat in preparation for your flight home, ask the Bath Butler to prepare a blend of oils for an aromatic soak.