This year I boldly went where few people have been before.
Sober in Thailand. And I have never had a more enriching travel experience.
While the thought of Australians in Thailand can bring on visions of questionable tattoos and island hopping powered by Chang, the calming environment and predominantly Buddhist religious influences make it the perfect place to jump into the wellness travel trend that encourages vacationers to truly reset, unwind . and detox.
So, over the course of 10 days in Thailand, starting in Phuket, just an 8-hour direct flight from Melbourne via Jetstar, I decided to ditch the traditional beer at the airport to mark the start of the trip, and swap cocktails for non-alcoholic cocktails by the pool upon arrival.
Four top-notch resorts in Thailand have played a key role in the success: Melia Phuket Mai Khao, Banyan Tree Krabi, Melia Chiang Mai and Banyan Tree Koh Samui. Each of them had their own unique features to offer an all-encompassing experience of the area without a hint of drunken FOMO.
And while hangovers remained at bay, there was certainly no shortage of indulgence thanks to the array of culinary delights Thailand has to offer, curated and served by world-class chefs at every resort.
Days 1-3 at Melia Phuket Mai Khao
After a seamless Jetstar flight from Adelaide to Melbourne (1 hour 20 minutes) and then Phuket (8 hours 50 minutes), our group of 6 stepped off the plane onto a wall of treacherous tropical humid air that brings an instant sense of calm from the head. to the feet. Since I hadn’t traveled the world since pre-pandemic times, it was surreal to find myself in another country, not to mention the relief of escaping the winter stings at home.
Arriving late at the sprawling oasis of Melia resort, friendly staff escorted us to our rooms, where we had a quick plate of healthy treats before bed.
Equipped with indoor and outdoor showers, a private plunge pool, a large freestanding outdoor bathtub that made me feel like I was in an Herbal Essences ad, and an oversized cloud-like bed, it set the bar high for luxurious travel experiences.
Waking up to the sound of tropical rain, it’s time for breakfast at an extremely rich buffet that boasts traditional Thai and Western dishes and coffee strong enough to start a morning of sightseeing, including a trip to a local buffalo farm and sandy beaches. Crab fishing at Mai Khao beach.
Back at the resort, we were treated to a home cooking class where we grilled sand crabs (unfortunately not caught by us) for lunch, before a Thai boxing lesson on the beach with talented instructor Aum.
Given my desire to imbibe the spirit of Melia’s health as well as possible, I…