Feel the warmth of the sand beneath your feet as we tip-toe through some of Thailand's more secluded island retreats
I like many others, have always dreamt of stumbling across an undiscovered desert island where I could live a simple existence for a while, a hermit's life in paradise. No stressing phone calls, no emails, nothing. Just myself and the blazing sunshine, the powdery white sand and a sea clear enough to reveal all the aquatic life within it.
I have journeyed many times in Thailand and I could never have imagined that I would discover the island of my dreams in a country whose stunning beauty spots are becoming ever more crowded.
In fact, the southern coast of Thailand still offers discerning visitors a few tranquil hideaways and unique, secluded spa experiences. For aspiring Robinson Crusoes, seeking a little bit of luxury, the bountiful islands in Southwest Thailand offer hidden paradises and sumptuous spa retreats. And, not far from the well-trodden streets and shores of Phuket lie a few secret havens still waiting to be discovered. When you do though, just don't tell too many of your friends.Phuket
Evason Resort & Spa: One enters the world of the 70's-style redesigned Evason Resort & Spa through a bright tunnel, which opens up into a lush garden of tropical trees and flora. The secluded Resort offers its guests all the privacy they need to replenish and rejuvenate themselves. I thoroughly enjoyed lounging around under the shade of the trees lining my own private pool, which offered stunning views of the Andaman Sea. Five minutes boat ride away on Bon Island, guests can relax on their own private beach, where they can experience a range of treatments at the six senses spa and its private suite spa rooms. Coming soon, a meditation room and juice spa. (www.evasonphuket.com)
Amanpuri: Nestled in a generous coconut grove on the beach, the Amanpuri Resort will appeal to those seeking the utmost privacy. The exclusive Amanpuri villas come equipped with all the finest amenities seasoned travellers would expect from a self-styled home-away-from-home resort. Discreetly concealed amongst the lush foliage lie the private pavilions spa and its cheerful masseurs. It is there that guests can enjoy a range of treatments tailored individually to their needs. My individualised assessment was followed by a soothing meditation, body-limbering yoga session and a delicious herbal drink packed with vitamins and minerals, served to me on the fountain terrace, before I returned refreshed to my private villa and garden. (www.amanpuri.com)
Le Meridien Yacht Club Resort & Spa: Considered one of the world's finest luxury hotels and honeymoon resorts, the Meridien Yacht Club actually comes with a seal of approval - it received the Royal Seal in acknowledgement of its distinctive and sophisticated Royal Suites. The Yacht Club welcomed the first King's Cup Regatta in 1987, today one of Asia's premier yachting events, for the 60th HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's birthday. On my visit, I spent some time at the recently opened Royal Spa and stayed in one of the Luxury Suites. Here guests can enjoy some of the best treatments available in this luxurious setting. The Royal Indulgence package comes highly recommended and promises to transport guest into a state of supreme well-being. (www.lemeridien.com)Koh Samui
Tamarind Springs: Despite it becoming more popular - perhaps a little too popular for some people's tastes - Tamarind Springs is the best natural island spa on Koh Samui and still one of the most original. The blend of traditional Thai beach huts, rock-lined coconut groves and natural fall springs are all conducive to a natural rebalancing of mind, body and soul. Tamarinds Retreat shirks uniformity, instead giving each luxury villa its own unique design and feel. Guests can match their mood, be that at the shady and secluded Tamarind Suite, the Monika's Ocean View, the Japanese-style Pond House. For guests seeking a longer stay, the good news is, all the villas are available for long-term lease of anything up to 30 years. (www.tamarindretreat.com)
Pansea Samui Resort & Spa: This boutique-style hotel is located on the exclusive northern rim of Koh Samui. For sporting and outdoor enthusiasts, Pansea Samui Resort & Spa is conveniently located next to the island's first golf course and one of its most important marine national parks. There are only a few luxury cottages here, making this secluded village a perfect hideaway for those seeking both sporty and spiritual relief. Concealed by lines of palm & coconut trees along the beautiful beach of Maenam, guests can indulge themselves in a wide range of strictly personal traditional Thai treatments. (www.pansea.com)
Khao Lak / Similan Islands
Sofitel Magic Lagoon Resort and Spa Khao Lak: The sheer scale of this elegant resort will take your breath away. The Sofitel Magic Lagoon Resort only opened to the public on May 1, and is the nearest gateway to the 51 secret Similan Islands, and some of the most spectacular coral reefs in Thailand. Guests can easily lose themselves here in the many different landscapes of this resort, as they can in the biggest lagoon-style swimming pool in the world. The Spa Khao Lak offers a relaxing and a rich environment for guests to cultivate mind, body and soul. The luxurious Spa and Fitness Centre features special VIP treatment rooms, its own pool and hidden courtyard, where guests can relax breathing in the delicious aromas of lemongrass and cardamom. (www.accorhotels-asia.com)
The Racha: Thirty-minute boat ride from Phuket lies one of Thailand's best kept secret destinations, The Racha. This wonderful, quiet private shelter once belonged to the famous Sanctuary Resorts. The design is distinctly minimalist and refined, the private sea view villas the utmost in luxury, and the seductive courtyard offers some of the best views of the Andaman I have ever seen. Coming soon is The Racha special treatment Spa, which is to be set up in the same image of this haven of peace. All of this within a couple of steps from the new diving school. (www.sanctuaryresorts.com/racha)
Pimalai Resort & Spa: Tucked away among the trees, Pimalai Resort & Spa inspires calm and serenity. Guests can indulge themselves with many body-pampering, soul-enriching, reinvigorating spa experiences in one of the seven dedicated treatment huts. The "salas" offer some of the finest traditions in Thai healing massage as well as a wonderful insight into the local culture. All of the private villas are set within landscaped gardens. (www.pimalai.com)
Sri Lanta Resort & Spa: The Sri Lanta Resort & Spa offers a break in a sober but charming setting, complete with a range of elegant wooden and straw huts set on the otherwise untouched beach. Following ancient Feng Shui wisdom, the Sri Lanta Resort & Spa has prioritised atmosphere over luxury, preffering to focus on enhancing the natural positive energy for its guests. This Island is undoubtedly one of the best kept secrets in Asia. The open-area Spa combines traditional Thai treatments with water and earth natural therapies to offer a range of individualised treatments. (www.srilanta.com)
Koa Yao Island Resort: Koh Yao consists of two main islands, Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai and is located in Phna Ngan Bay to the east of Phuket. Mainly comprising of rocks and forest, this natural hideaway is endowed with unspoilt virgin coral reefs and beautiful pristine beaches. The exclusive villas of Koayao Island resort border lush tropical gardens which cover an area of over 514 square metres. The outdoor spa prides itself on using strictly natural herbal treatments in all of its therapies, offering visitors all of the amenities they would naturally expect for a complete yet simple regeneration. (www.koyao.com)
THAI MASSAGE'S SECRETS
Its roots lying in the Indian subcontinent, Thai Massage is considered to be one of the most complete experiences for the enhancement of the body and soul. The ancestral art of Thai massage not only stems from Indian Ayurvedic medicine but also shares many features with Yoga and Shiatsu.
Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha is believed to be the legendary originator of this art. He was a famous doctor originating from Northern India and a contemporary of Buddha, over 2,500 years ago. The natural healing techniques that inspired Thai Massage presumably attained the Ancient Kingdom of Siam at the same time as Buddhism in the 3rd or 2nd century BC. Since then, this tradition has been carefully passed on orally from master to student in temples (and in recent times, the teaching has been extended in a few Thai Massage schools) to preserve all the skills of one of the most famous Thai cultural heritages.
Far away from a simple kneading of muscles, Thai Massage mainly works on energy lines of the body, called "Sen". The massage aims to release your energetic potential through a methodical approach to the body. Starting at the feet and progressing up to the head, the masseur exerts pressure on the Meridians with their palms, thumbs, elbows and feet to release the stress energy and blocks. This practice is a deeply relaxing experience helping to prevent the build up of stress in our daily lives and to enhance the physical and emotional aspects of the body and soul.
Thai Massage is performed on a mat or on the floor to enhance the balancing weight and pressure of the practitioner and to give the massage the most intensity and strength. Enhanced by stretching movements, Thai massage also attempts to increase flexibility of the body.
Before the start of a session, a consultation will be performed by the practitioner to assess the client-specific needs. A Thai massage session should last between 90 minutes and 3 hours.
No oils or lotions are used during the massage and the best option for maximum enjoyment is to wear loose fitting clothing and relax. Melt under the pressure of your agile masseur, try to liberate your mind and let him lead you on the way of enlightenment. A perfect session should ending with a perfect detoxification of the body, an elevation of the soul and a tremendous feeling of full re-energisation for both the giver and the receiver.Source Reference : Asiaspa.com