Day 1 Bangkok – Float your way to wellness
The Global Wellness Institute (yes, such a happiness-inducing organisation does exist!) defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. GWI estimates that travellers took 691 million wellness holidays in 2015, spending more than a whopping USD563 billion.
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.
Grand Centre Point Ratchadamri Hotel is a good choice as a Bangkok base for its central location and easy access to transport and world class shopping malls like Central World. No judgement please – retail therapy is a perfectly legitimate form of treatment!
Day 2 Traditional Thai massage
You saw that one coming didn’t you? But before we get horizontal again channel your inner spirituality while stretching your legs soaking up Thai spirituality at some of Bangkok’s famous temples. Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Saket, which sits at the summit of Golden Mountain and is one of Bangkok’s highest points, are all well worth a visit. Carry a sarong with you to cover up immodest shoulders or legs.
When in Thailand a traditional Thai massage should be top of your list. While you’re at the 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. AUD10 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.
The best recovery for weary legs after such an epic event is to head to Let’s Relax Spa at Mandarin Hotel Samyan for a soothing Thai massage in tranquil surroundings.
Runners have the perfect excuse to eat their body weight in good food. Few do fine Thai cuisine better than Michelin-starred Saneh Jane or uber cool Sala Rattanakosin with an enviable location on Chao Phraya River or Lhong1919 for casual alfresco fare with a historic twist. If you ever get bored with Thai food (shame on you!) try divine Taiwanese dumplings at Din Tai Fung.
Day 4 Phuket – Beach-style wellness
Leave Bangkok behind to fly to Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, known for its dreamy beaches, waterfront restaurants and bars and gorgeous holiday resorts that scream “I’m on a tropical holiday!’
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.
Continuing our daily massage theme (we’re in Thailand after all!), 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
Home to elite sportsmen and women as well as holiday makers keen to improve their health and fitness, Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort is the sort of hotel where lycra is de rigeur – leave your cocktail dress and fancy shoes at home! Don’t be surprised to find yourself training alongside Olympic medalists and world record holders. The Russian swim team were training during our visit.
Book in for an intensive program designed around sports improvement, detox, weight loss or a custom designed program to suit your body and budget.
Thanyupura takes wellness so seriously, it’s perfectly acceptable to turn up for lunch or dinner wearing running shoes teamed with a shoulder-draped towel and post-exercise flush.
Day 6 Break out a sweat at the vegan buffet
Yep, you read that right. Rise before dawn at Thanyapura for an early morning workout in one of Phuket’s most impressive gyms. If you don’t find yourself inspired enough to break out into a sweat in the 900 sqm gym you’re really not trying. 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. You could also sign up to some of gazillion exercise classes.
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
Phuket and its famously hedonistic party precinct is a star attraction for Aussie travellers. But, since we’re on a fitness holiday we’re going to bypass the beachfront bars in favour of some wholesome fun – your liver will thank you, trust us. Lace up your walking shoes and walk or run the entire length of Patong Beach – it’s about 7km return so you’ll get a decent workout.
Yes, you’ll end up all hot and sweaty, but we have a remedy for that at the swanky new Crest Resort & Pool Villas which juts dramatically from the cliffs at the southern end of the beach. Operating under an ethos of ‘where nature heals’, where water heals is more appropriate. Rooms with direct swimming pool access are perfect for water babies, while honeymooners will enjoy the villas with private cantilevered plunge pools. Fitness addicts on the other hand 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. Aaaah, pure relaxed bliss.
Are you ready for fitness and wellness themed holiday in Thailand? Skyscanner Australia has fabulous deals on airfares and hotels in Bangkok and Phuket – with no booking fees!
About the author
Fiona Harper // @travelboatinglifestyle
Fiona Harper is an Australian travel writer who likes to get offroad and offshore. Follow her at Travel Boating Lifestyle. Widely travelled, highly acclaimed and much published, Fiona’s articles & images are published across the globe. When not writing she’s probably running a marathon or exploring the world by foot, bike, kayak, camel or boat: whatever mode of transport she can get her hands on!