This yr, I boldly went where by number of have been just before.
To Thailand, sober. And I have hardly ever had a much more enriching journey working experience.
Whilst the thought of Australians in Thailand may evoke visions of questionable tattoos and Chang-fuelled island hopping, the calming environment and predominantly-Buddhist religious influences make it the perfect place to dip into the wellness travel development, which encourages holidaymakers to truly reset, relax and detox.
So for 10 times in Thailand setting up in Phuket, just an 8-hour direct flight from Melbourne by way of Jetstar, I resolved to forego the traditional airport beer to mark the starting of the trip, and swap cocktails for mocktails by the pool on arrival.
4 of Thailand’s top-tier resorts ended up central to building the problem a success: Melia Phuket Mai Khao, Banyan Tree Krabi, Melia Chiang Mai and Banyan Tree Koh Samui. All of them had their have exclusive twists to provide an all-encompassing working experience of the place devoid of a hint of tipsy FOMO.
And even though the hangovers stayed at bay, there was definitely no lack of indulgence thanks to the multitude of culinary delights Thailand has to supply, curated and plated by earth-course chefs at each and every resort.
Times 1 – 3 at Melia Phuket Mai Khao
Soon after a seamless Jetstar flight from Adelaide to Melbourne (1 hour and 20 minutes) then on to Phuket (8 hours and 50 minutes), our team of 6 stepped off the aircraft to a wall of the telltale perfumed, humid air of the tropics that elicits an fast perception of quiet from prime to toe. Obtaining not travelled internationally because pre-pandemic periods, it was surreal to be in a diverse nation, not to mention a aid to escape the winter bite again property.
Arriving late to the sprawling oasis of the Melia resort, we ended up taken to our rooms by the pleasant staff members, exactly where a platter of healthy treats were rapidly gobbled up prior to mattress.
Outfitted with an indoor-out of doors shower, a non-public plunge pool, a massive freestanding outside bathtub that designed me sense like I was in a Organic Essences professional and an huge, cloudlike bed, it established the bar large for the luxury accommodation of the excursion.
Waking to the pitter-patter of tropical rain, it was time for breakfast at the incredibly very well-stocked buffet, boasting standard Thai and Western dishes and coffee potent adequate to kickstart a early morning of sightseeing, like a trip to a local Buffalo farm and sand crabbing at Mai Khao beach.
Again at the vacation resort, we were being dealt with to an in-household cooking lesson, exactly where we fried sand crabs (unfortunately not caught by us) for lunch, right before a Thai boxing lesson on the beach with multi-proficient instructor Aum.
Offered my eagerness to soak up Melia’s wellness ethos as very best I could, it was off to the spa for a therapeutic massage just before dinner.
If you’ve under no circumstances experienced a Thai massage, prepare to be presented with a set of white pajamas before becoming twisted, tugged and contorted like never in advance of, and attempt not to devote the whole time laughing like I did.
Sensation smooth and floppy right after requesting my massage “extra hard”, meal at the Gaia restaurant was accompanied by a tangy ginger mocktail (my favorite of the trip) and an additional incredible food.
Day two began with yoga with Aum in advance of yet another mouth watering, healthful lunch in the major cafe and a befitting farewell from the Melia team prior to heading off to desired destination number two.
Days 3 – 6 at Banyan Tree Krabi
If you’ve never ever travelled to Thailand, Krabi should really top your list of destinations. The stunning Andaman coastal city itself is like stepping into a postcard, and the Banyan Tree resort, with its majestic architectural layout encouraged by Thai folklore and outlooks to the surrounding islands dotting glasslike ocean, is no much less than breathtaking.
Here, my area arrived finish with a personal infinity pool, and an uninterrupted sea look at from a marshmallow of a king bed. We all know sleep with no alcoholic beverages is infinitely much better, but a sober rest in 1 of these rooms? Daily life-transforming.
Just after a dip in the infinity pool, it was down to the beach bar for a virgin mojito as the sun set. Evening meal, established in a personal place at the resort’s advanced Naga Kitchen was a multi-study course western-fusion extravaganza.
After a blissful eight hours in my marshmallow bed, I awoke early for a seashore stroll with the check lizards and the rising sunshine, then down to gleefully strike a new buffet for breakfast.
This morning, we had been taken by longboat to Hong Island, the place a trudge up multiple flights of steep stairs presented panoramic vista sights of the impossibly still ocean, treetops and crisp, powdery sand under.
All over the bend in a close by lagoon, diving right off the boat to float beneath the limestone cliffs was a emphasize (but check out out for lurking jellyfish!)
Tip: It is a good strategy to head off early for a working day excursion to the limestone islands off Krabi. The space is usually brimming with travellers hoping to get the perfect shot for the Instagram grid, which can result in longboat traffic jams.
With windswept hair, sandy toes and salty skin we headed back to the vacation resort, refreshing coconuts and pineapple in hand, to put together for the subsequent activity: yet another massage. Tough life.
A regular Thai supper on the resort’s pristine stretch of sandy beach finished the working day, then early to bed with the promise of an unforgettable journey bathing elephants in mud at a close by rescue sanctuary the following working day.
Aonang Elephant Sanctuary, which properties just 4 elephants rescued by its passionate operators, is an complete ought to-do for kids if you’re heading to Krabi.
Dedicated to care and nurture of these gentle giants, there is no controversial elephant-back using below. In its place, you will feed, pet, and bathe the wondrous creatures in mud and water under the watchful eye of their Mahout — a 24-hour trainer and carer appointed to each and every animal with whom they type an unbreakable bond.
A genuinely humbling working experience and a wonderful group.
Back at the Banyan Tree, the afternoon consisted of lounging lazily by the pool, then a hilariously-retro water aerobics class held by upbeat conditioning guru Badi.
From tote baggage to have down to the pool, to a everyday incense to burn in your area, the interest to detail is a thing to marvel at in this vacation resort.
I even inadvertently synced my mobile phone alarm to the BlueTooth procedure, which was a nice surprise when I awoke to mild songs coming from the bedside clock instead than the jarring trill of my Iphone. (I was persuaded I experienced a ghost the first time this transpired, but was confident the Banyan Tree is totally spectre-free of charge).
Working day 6 – 8 at the Melia Chiang Mai
Upping the seaside pace, future end was a metropolis crack in Chiang Mai, the fewer chaotic young sister of Bangkok.
As the biggest religion in Thailand, Buddhism is practiced by 93 per cent of the populace, and Chiang Mai is a major spiritual hub. Though there’s a good deal of great searching below, remarkable food stuff and a buzzy bar scene, there’s an ethereal air to Chiang Mai which radiates from the streets you are going to share with working towards monks out receiving offerings every early morning.
For your temple deal with, get a vacation to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (all around 40 minutes from the city) with a guide in tow to discover the ornate golden temple’s abundant record and importance to the spot. If you are open to an immersive tour, you can be blessed by monks who will tie a string all over your wrist for luck, and have bestowed upon you an historical prophecy.
Mine, the variety 13, translated to: “This is a fortunate number, the man who receives this amount will be affluent and complete of home, dignity and success. Asking about health issues, it is presently recovered from disease. As for the within toddler, it is definitely be male.”
(I’m absolutely not expecting a baby, but my enthusiastic everyday hitting of the breakfast buffet manufactured the gender expose of my food baby all the much more hilarious).
For a little juxtaposition, an immediately after-evening meal consume (of water) at one of the city’s drag bars is a enjoyable way to conclude a night time. Even without alcoholic beverages, it’s difficult not to be swept up with energized tourists and helpful locals at one particular of these bars. Like all drag, the artistry of the queen’s costumes, make-up and spirited routines will leave you awe-struck and grinning from ear to ear.
For me, the genuine standout of Chiang Mai was the foods.
On a tour via the region’s finest eating places you’ll discover a $1 laksa-form hen in broth named Khao Soi that will blow your socks off, spicy grilled river fish, and numerous pork and hen curries cooked up in tiny, unassuming area eating places.
Days 8 – 10 in Koh Samui
This is where my transition from perpetually frazzled journo to zenned-out vacation resort pig was finish.
Perched on the mountains of Lamai Beach front, Banyan Tree Koh Samui might be the most wonderful accommodation I will at any time have the pleasure of enduring in my complete life.
A massive personal villa was my dwelling for the up coming two evenings, which boasted immediate views from the pool to the quiet sandy beach front by leafy canopies from the many trees of the lush inexperienced grounds.
There is a rationale Banyan Tree Koh Samui is viewed as one of Thailand’s most effective resorts, and it’s harmless to say by this place of the trip, my Instagram followers were being beyond unwell of Thailand spam.
Apart from it staying breathtakingly quite, it is the great retreat for a sober traveler.
Wellness and vitality is critical to the Banyan Tree, with each web page dedicated to aiding its company find a feeling of clarity and harmony throughout their keep. The vacation resort has enlisted a host of professionals to give classes on mindfulness and an array of exercise options to keep your system shifting amongst lazy days by the pool.
1 especially high-class and unusual attribute of this vacation resort is the hydrotherapy rainforest, intended to inspire a feeling of tranquillity by way of distinctive h2o approaches as the consumer moves through just about every degree. From trickling “rain” to a tipping bucket of water, steam area and pool with many types of jets, you’ll leave sensation refreshed, if a little wrinkly from all the soaking.
I discovered pool jets incredibly ticklish which established me off (once more) into a giggle-frenzy, so I have to apologise to my travel companions for disturbing the peace.
Pilates, yoga, rest meditation and breathing training lessons among additional sumptuous foods, ocean dips and suntanning in my unique mini paradise rounded out a really magical introduction to Thailand.
Even with an motion-packed 10 days of sightseeing, exercise and borderline competitive consuming, I however left emotion more calm (and marginally rounder) than any getaway right before, and I’m certain it is because booze was taken out of the equation.
With out wine and cocktails, I slept considerably sounder than regular, and waking up hangover-free of charge gave me the vitality to partake in each and every action on offer, plus excess sightseeing I experienced time to squeeze in for the working day.
So if you have ever puzzled whether touring sober is worthwhile, if in fact doable, it most certainly is, and I can not advise it really plenty of.