Thailand has long been a destination associated with wellness, the country home to some of the world's most sensational spas, holistic retreats and health resorts. After the past few months especially, we're all in need of a little rest and relaxation, and there's nowhere better than Thailand for it. From therapies incorporating natural ingredients, to the tranquillity of floating in an infinity-edge swimming pool, you'll soon find yourself 'at one' with Thailand's sublime natural beauty.
Traditionally Thai Treatments
Whether you're staying amid the northern jungles, in the heart of bustling Bangkok or down on the beaches in the south, you'll never be far from a top-class spa while in Thailand. Many incorporate traditional Thai healing traditions, using products that embrace the natural bounty of the country - whether fresh local herbs, coconut or bamboo. Doing just this, The Rayavadee Spa at Rayavadee, located along Krabi's Phranang Peninsula, offers an extensive range of therapies that draw on authentic local wellness practices, focusing on a philosophy of well-being that combines body, mind and spirit. Locally inspired treatments include a body scrub that uses as selection of southern Thai herbs and, of course, a traditional Thai massage. Matching the wonderful Thai treatments is the spa's location - situated at the base of a soaring limestone cliff fringed with jungle greenery - while the thoughtfully planned interior reflects these gorgeous natural surroundings.
A feast for the senses, Bangkok is fabulously fast-paced, and a spa treatment is the perfect way to unwind amid the chaos of the capital. Frequently voted among the best in Thailand and beyond, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok's Oriental Spa is nestled on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya River from the main hotel, accessed only by private barge. Step into the century-old Siamese house - think intricately carved teakwood, frangipani trees and wooden shutters - and be greeted by a cooling tea, before a private consultation to ensure the very best, personalised treatment for you. While a huge selection of contemporary, cutting-edge therapies is on offer here, the highlight is the 'Essence of Thailand' collection, offering two rituals that celebrate the natural elements and local culture of the country. The 'Spirit of Isaan' takes you on a journey through Thailand, beginning with a body wrap of black sticky rice, jasmine rice and coarse coffee beans, followed by an ultra-relaxing rhythmic massage using bamboo. Alternatively, choose the 'Lanna Ceremony', which draws inspiration from northern Thai culture. Begin with a footbath infused with miang leaves (a popular healing herb), before a green tea body scrub and body wrap using fang, yet another local ingredient used to refresh the skin. A Lanna massage finishes this experience, during which your body is tapped rhythmically with a stick made from the bark of a tamarind tree.
Cutting-edge Wellness Experiences
Along with treatments that celebrate the wellness heritage of the country, many Thai spas have innovated even further, offering truly cutting-edge wellness experiences, programmes and rituals. Leading the way in this field is Amanpuri, nestled on a private and picturesque Phuket peninsula, home to the exclusive Aman Spa and Medical Centre which - along with more traditional massages and facials - offers a variety of personalised multi-day wellness immersions for different goals. Designed to promote profound change with the support of healthcare professionals and a dedicated wellness chef, these carefully calibrated and individually tailored programmes include weight management, detox & cleansing, mindfulness & stress management and more.
For relaxation and rejuvenation on the shores of Phang Nga Bay, Six Senses Yao Noi is home to a superb Six Senses Spa, flaunting ten treatment rooms, a meditation room, juice bar, alchemy bar, several relaxation areas and more! Super smart, non-invasive technology analyses your body's wellness, helping the experts to design a bespoke multi-day programme that is specific to your exact needs. Achieve a healthy, balanced body and mind with the varied fad-free programmes on offer - from yoga and detox to improved sleep and fitness.
Wellness Screening at Six Senses Yao Noi
Amanpuri Thai Herbal Massage
Tai Chi on the Beach at Amanpuri
Food for Thought
Thanks to organic, local produce and a farm-to-plate approach to dining, Thai food lends itself effortlessly to wellness cuisine. The tropical climate grows an abundance of fruit and veg, while the cuisine is often naturally free of several allergens. Clean cooking methods - such as wok-frying, steaming and boiling - ensure that the fresh ingredients are used to create nutrient-dense and nourishing dishes, without ever compromising on taste.
Even the oldest Asian healing philosophies have always looked to food as the medicine of choice. At Kamalaya Koh Samui, this ancient philosophy combines with current medical research, offering a renewed approach to healing with food and curated dining menus focus on creative cuisine that is low in fat, sugar, sodium, allergens and, often, plant based. Each month brings different delights as the food on offer changes with the seasons. Fresh juices, signature tonics and herbal teas are bursting with nutrients, medicinal properties and taste-bud tempting goodness, while the Detox Cuisine dispels the myth that ridding your body of toxins means depriving yourself of delicious dishes.
Along with a truly exceptional Six Senses Spa nestled within the Koh Kood island's wild jungle foliage (which offers locally inspired treatments, traditional rituals, cutting-edge wellness screening and yoga programmes) Soneva Kiri's incredible cuisine aims to delight your tastebuds, while keeping your health in focus. The unique 'Colours of the Garden' experience invites you to embark on a journey throughout the four culinary regions of Thailand, dining on seven seriously delicious plant-based dishes that use traditional local ingredients and organic fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in the onsite gardens, cooked using healthy Nordic methods. If you're after traditional Thai cuisine, head to Tuk's Kitchen, where the 'no-menu' dining concept celebrates the very best ingredients grown on Koh Kood, Koh Chang, and seafood caught by local fishermen.