This year, I boldly went where some people have been before.
For Thailand, cool. And I’ve never had a more enriching travel experience than this.
While the idea of Australians in Thailand may evoke visions of questionable tattoos and Chang-fueled island hopping, the laid-back atmosphere and predominantly Buddhist religious influences make it the ideal place to take a dip in the wellness travel trend, looking to make vacations a reality. Encourages you to reset, relax. and detox.
So starting in Phuket for 10 days in Thailand, only an 8-hour direct flight from Melbourne via Jetstar, I decided to forgo the traditional airport beer to mark the start of the trip, and mocktails by the pool upon arrival. Swap cocktails for
Four of Thailand’s top-tier resorts were central to making the challenge a success: Melia Phuket Mai Khao, Banyan Tree Krabi, Melia Chiang Mai and Banyan Tree Koh Samui. They all had their own unique twists, providing a complete field experience without any spikey FOMO.
And when staying at Hangover Bay, there was certainly no shortage of indulgences, thanks to the multitude of culinary delights Thailand has to offer by world-class chefs at every resort.
Day 1 – 3 Melia in Phuket Mai Khao
After an uninterrupted Jetstar flight from Adelaide to Melbourne (1 hour and 20 minutes) on Phuket (8 hours and 50 minutes), our group of 6 stepped off the plane onto a wall of fragrant, humid air of tropical regions. An instant sense of calm from top to toe. Having not traveled internationally since pre-pandemic times, being in a different country was surreal, not to mention a relief from the bites of winter back home.
arriving late to the vast oasis of Melia ResortWe were escorted to our room by the friendly staff, where a platter of healthy dishes was quickly chewed on before bedtime.
Equipped with an indoor-outdoor shower, a private plunge pool, a large freestanding outdoor bath that made me feel like I was in an herbal essences commercial, and a spacious, cloud-like bed, it set the bar high for travel luxury accommodations. done.
Waking up to the patter-patters of tropical rain, it was time for breakfast at the insanely well-stocked buffet, traditional Thai and Western dishes and coffee strong enough to be seen, including a visit to the local buffalo farm and sand Is. Crab at Mai Khao Beach.
Back at the resort, we were treated to an in-house cooking lesson, where we had sand crabs (sadly) for lunch, before a Thai boxing lesson on the beach with multi-talented instructor Aum. That’s not caught by us) was fried.
Given my eagerness to soak up Melia’s wellness ethos as much as I could, it was time to head to the spa for a massage before dinner.
If you’ve never had a Thai massage, be prepared to be presented with a set of white pajamas before being folded, tugged, and opposite as before, and try not to spend the whole time laughing like I did.
Feeling soft and floppy after requesting my massage “extra hard,” dinner at the Gaia restaurant was accompanied by a tangy ginger mocktail (my favorite of the trip) and another incredible meal.
The second day began with Yoga with Aum, followed by another delicious, healthy lunch at the main restaurant and farewell to the Melia team before moving on to destination number two.
Banyan Tree Krabi. on day 3 – 6
If you have never traveled to Thailand, Krabi should be at the top of your list of destinations. The beautiful coastal city of Andaman is like stepping into a postcard in itself, and Banyan Tree The resort, with its majestic architectural design inspired by Thai folklore and the glass-like sea view of the surrounding islands, is nothing short of stunning.
Here, my room comes complete with an uninterrupted ocean view from a marshmallow of a private infinity pool and a king bed. We all know it’s infinitely better to sleep without alcohol, but a quiet sleep in one of these rooms? life changing.
After taking a dip in the infinity pool, it was at the beach bar for a virgin mojito at sunset. Dinner in a private room in the resort’s sophisticated Naga Kitchen was a multi-course Western-fusion extravaganza.
After eight hours of blissful bliss in my marshmallow bed, I woke up early for a walk on the beach with monitor lizards and the rising sun, then gleefully hit up a new breakfast buffet.
This morning, we were taken by longboat to Hong Island, where a truce up several flights of steep stairs provided panoramic views of the impossibly still ocean, treetops and crisp, powdery sand.
Around the bend in the nearby lagoon, diving straight from the boat to swim under the limestone cliffs was a highlight (but watch out for jellyfish lurking secrets!).
Tip: It’s a good idea to leave early for a day trip to the limestone islands away from Krabi. The area is often packed with tourists hoping to get the perfect shot for the Instagram grid, which can result in longboat traffic jams.
With wind-swept hair, sandy feet and salty skin we headed back to the resort, fresh coconut and pineapple in hand, to prepare for the next activity: another massage. difficult life.
The day ends with a traditional Thai dinner at the resort’s pristine stretch of sandy beach, then early to bed the next day at a nearby rescue sanctuary with the promise of elephants bathing in an unforgettable adventure.
Onang Elephant SanctuaryWhich is home to only four elephants rescued by its enthusiastic handlers, is an absolute must for kids if you are visiting Krabi.
Committed to caring for and nurturing these gentle giants, there are no controversial elephant rides here. Instead, you’ll feed, pet, and bathe wondrous creatures in mud and water under the watchful eye of their mahout – a 24-hour trainer and caregiver assigned to each animal with whom they form an unbreakable bond.
Truly a humble experience and a great organization.
Back at the Banyan Tree, the afternoon included a relaxing poolside retreat, then a hilarious-retro water aerobics class organized by ardent fitness guru Badi.
From tote bags to carry to the pool, to daily incense to kindle in your room, the attention to detail at this resort is something to behold.
I inadvertently synced my phone alarm to the Bluetooth system, which was a pleasant surprise when I woke up to gentle music coming from the bedside clock instead of the jittery trill of my iPhone. (I was convinced this was the first time I had a ghost, but I was convinced that the banyan tree was completely ghost-free).
Days 6 – 8 in Melia Chiang Mai
Boasting seaside speed, the next stop was a city vacation in Bangkok’s less chaotic little sister Chiang Mai.
As the largest religion in Thailand, Buddhism is practiced by 93 percent of the population, and Chiang Mai is a major spiritual center. While there is lots of good shopping, incredible food and a bustling bar scene, there is an ethereal air to Chiang Mai that radiates from the streets you share with the practice of monks receiving offerings each morning.
For your temple fix, visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (about 40 minutes from town) with a guide in tow to learn the rich history of the ornate Golden Temple and the importance of the area. If you are open to an immersive excursion, you may be blessed by monks who will tie a string around your wrist for luck, and provide you with an ancient prophecy.
Mine, number 13, translated: “It is a lucky number, the person who gets this number will be prosperous and full of wealth, dignity and success. When asked about the illness, she has already recovered from the disease. As for the baby inside, it will definitely be a male.
(I’m certainly not expecting a baby, but my ardent daily hit of breakfast buffets made the gender of my meal baby all the more hilarious).
For a little indulgence, an after-dinner (watery) drink at the city’s drag bar is a fun way to end the night. Even without alcohol, it’s impossible not to sway at one of these bars with upbeat travelers and friendly locals. Like all drag, the artistry of the queen’s costumes, makeup and spirited routine will leave you in awe and grin from ear to ear.
For me, the real standout of Chiang Mai was the food.
On a tour of the area’s best dining spots you’ll find $1 laksa-type chicken in a broth called Khao Soi that will blow your socks off, spicy grilled river fish, and various pork and chicken curries cooked in small, simple local restaurants. goes .
Days 8 – 10 in Koh Samui
This is where my transition from forever frazzled journal to zenned-out resort pig was completed.
Situated on the mountains of Lamai Beach, banyan tree koh samui Might be the most beautiful accommodation I’ll have the pleasure of experiencing in the rest of my life.
A spacious private villa was my home for the next two nights, with direct views from the pool to the calm sandy beach through leafy canopy from the many trees of the lush grounds.
There’s a reason Banyan Tree considers Koh Samui one of the best Thailand resorts, and it’s safe to say that by this point of the trip, my Instagram followers were beyond Thailand’s spam.
Apart from being breathtakingly beautiful, it is the ideal retreat for a laid-back traveller.
Health and vitality are important to the banyan tree, with each site dedicated to helping its guests find a sense of clarity and balance during their stay. The resort has enlisted a number of experts to offer a range of mindfulness and activity options to get your body moving in between lazy days by the pool.
A particularly spectacular and unusual feature of this resort is the hydrotherapy rainforest, which is designed to inspire a sense of calm through various water techniques as the user progresses through each level. From splashing “rains” to pools with a tipping bucket of water, steam rooms, and jets of different styles, you’ll feel refreshed if you’re a little wrinkled from getting all wet.
I giggled the pool jet immensely, which made me (again) laugh, so I must apologize to my travel mates for disturbing the peace.
Pilates, yoga, sleep meditation and breathing exercises in between more sumptuous meals, a dip in the ocean and suntanning in my special mini paradise made for a truly magical introduction to Thailand.
Despite an action-packed 10 days of sightseeing, exercise, and borderline competitive eating, I’m still left feeling more relaxed (and a little rounder) than any vacation I’ve had before, and believe me. That’s because alcohol was taken out of the equation.
Without alcohol and cocktails, I slept more well than usual, and waking up hangover-free gave me the energy to participate in every activity on offer, plus the extra sightseeing I had time to squeeze in for the day. was.
So if you’ve ever wondered whether taking a quiet trip is worthwhile, if it’s actually possible, it certainly is, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.