Heading to Thailand? This guide covers all your wellness-related queries. By Anita Rao Kashi
For a bird’s eye-view of the entire Chiang Mai area in Thailand, there’s nothing like drifting in a hot-air balloon; the speckled landscape and panoramic views of the ocean make for a memorable experience. For water sports enthusiasts, there’s scuba diving for a surreal look into the underwater world or abseiling on waterfalls. Landlubbers intent on kicking up their adrenaline can choose from zip-lining and rappelling.
Thailand is a foodie’s haven with ubiquitous and regional specialties that can boggle the senses. While street food is simple and fiery, and perhaps not for everyone, there are plenty of places to satiate the palate. Sample the massaman curry at the elegant Blue Elephant, red curry duck with watermelon at Bo Lan, modern Indian food elevated to cult status at Gaggan, pad Thai at Thipsamai and khao maan gai (rice and chicken) at Pratunam3.
As much as Thailand is popular, there are also pockets of unexplored beauty that make for worthwhile visits. Try hiking, biking or waterfall exploration in Khao Yai National Park; cliff climbing and spelunking in Trang; cruising mangroves and snorkeling off remote islands in Trat; waterfall hopping, climbing limestone cliffs or lounging on stunning beaches in Chanthaburi; or taking in the history, heritage and ruins of Sukothai Historical Park.
Revel in luxurious treatments in a forest setting at Tamarind Springs Forest Day Spa in Koh Samui, opt for a romantic couples’ treatment at the adults-only Spa Santuary at Phuket’s Banyan Tree, give yourself to a bespoke spa treatment regimen with luscious ingredients in the beautiful setting of The Slate at Phuket, and check out the unique abdominal release massage to stimulate internal organs at the plush Bamboo Spa in The Pavana Resort in Chiang Mai.
From beach destinations to pampered luxury, there’s a host of accommodation options. Choices include such eclectic ones as the beautiful teak house at 137 Pillars in Bangkok, the jungle magic of Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle at Chiang Rai, Kamalaya at Ko Samui and The Dhara Dhevi at Chiang Mai. However, Phuket has the most vast range of options and includes such places as Chiva-Som Hua Hin, Banyan Tree Kemala and Amatara Wellness Resort.