Reboot Vacay: My Thai Cleansing Getaway

May 22, 2014 by

Reboot Vacay: My Thai Cleansing Getaway

As told to by Shradha Shah

Vacations are usually where you let yourself go to relax and indulge in the pleasures of what life has to offer, but then there are the vacations that allow you to rejuvenate to help you embrace the rest of your life.

That’s what Shradha Shah was searching for when her brother turned her onto Spa Village in Koh Samui (165 Moo 4 Huay Say, Mae Rim, Chaing Mai, +66 (7) 723-0855, , in Thailand.

Located on the island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand more than 400 miles (700 kilometers) south of Bangkok it is known for its beaches, three million coconut trees, and resorts that offer everything from late night parties to peaceful get-back-to-yourself retreats and everything in between.

Samui, as locals call Thailand’s third largest island in the province of Surat Thani, is also surrounded by other islands that offer a variety of activities. Koh Tao is known as Asia’s top diving destination. Angthong National Marine Park, which offers a variety of outdoor adventures from camping, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling and more. Koh Phangan is known for its Full Moon Party and hundreds of other smaller islands offering a variety of adventures or simply remote escapes.

Travelers can fly into the island via Bangkok Airways landing at its airport, which has been noted as one of the “most beautiful and exotic airports in the world,” according to

Thailand Rejuvenate Me

Shradha and her friend were looking for a detox vacation to completely reboot their mental and physical well-being and they found it at the Spa Village’s Spa Samui Mountain Retreat in February.

The retreat is one of two of the Spa Village’s resorts. Built in 2002, the mountain retreat is nestled in the Lamai Valley set on Samui Rock formations overlooking Lamai Beach. It is a sanctuary away from the parties, shopping and other distractions, unlike The Spa Samui Beach Resort, the original resort built nearly 20 years ago, which is on the beachfront of the Gulf of Thailand.

The resort that touts itself as “Thailand’s first destination-health spa,” offers detox and fitness classes and retreats, spa therapies, raw food cooking classes, raw food restaurant and more.

Shradha's cottage at the Spa Village’s Spa Samui Mountain Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

Shradha’s cottage at the Spa Village’s Spa Samui Mountain Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

The two women selected the mountain resort for its simplicity and its recluses so they wouldn’t be distracted from the reason why they were there.

“It’s not on the beach side. The beach side has a lot more action. It’s kind of next to a strip of bars so you can hear disco music. It’s a different vibe all together,” says Shradha.

“The hillside one was very serene, peaceful it was not crowded while we were there,” she adds. “It was pretty incredible. This place was really beautiful.”

The family-run resort is popular among its guests and staff who have worked there for a couple of generations. While it wasn’t crowded, Shradha says, she was a newbie compared to other guests who were returning for up to their seventh visit at the retreat.

Brotherly Influence

Her brother didn’t steer her wrong. A year or so ago after her brother and his wife returned from the retreat he told her that he wanted to take her to the Spa Village.

“He felt like more than anything it changed his perspective about eating and food,” says Shradha.

Shradha, a 38-year-old emergency room doctor, was searching for a different way to care for her body and herself.

“It wasn’t that he was promising some miracle cure. It’s just about how you eat and or what you eat and recognizing how your body feels after you eat something,” says Shradha.

Still, Shradha wasn’t sure about following her brother’s footsteps on his health retreat, so she did some research and found a variety of options that Thailand offers.

“I looked at other resorts that looked fancier and nicer, certainly newer and had bigger swimming pools or more of a 4-star hotel. They were easily $200 a night without the detox,” says Shradha, about the different types of resorts, including one that was popular with celebrities, available in Thailand.

Many of the resorts offered various levels of assistance along with daily massages, yoga and other services that aided the detox and added to the experience.

Thailand sunset (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

Thailand sunset (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

Yet, the Spa Village in Koh Samui still provided the best experience for a reasonable price, an estimated $40 a night plus the detox program, which normally is about $286 to $1,287 depending on the program and lodging selected.

Shradha and her friend got the You’ve Changed My Life 8 Day Detox Special, which was an all-inclusive package.

The Experience

Shradha found it beneficial to take the time away from her hectic life in San Francisco to spend a week in paradise to simply remove the stress and toxins from her body and pay attention herself when she reintroduced food into her system.

“You don’t have to go to Thailand to do it, but it is nice to do it in a tropical environment because it makes it a lot easier for one thing,” says Shradha, who her friend and she took several days after the detox to enjoy Thailand and reconnect with food.

“When you are fasting [and] when you introduce food in slowly, you really realize how much energy it takes to digest and you see all of the effects food takes on your body because that’s all you are doing,” she says.

Daily she went through a ritual of meditation, yoga, a 30-minute massage and steam room and drank specially crafted cleansing drinks.

Fasting in some ways is meditation for your body. It slows your system down so it can rest, similar to meditation where your mind becomes sharper, your body becomes more alert and aware, says Shradha.

“I think that I never experienced such a sharp clear unburdened mind since I don’t know may be like childhood,” says Shradha. “That was a pretty incredible positive experience: the lightness of the mind.”

She learned through the process that she was a “stress eater” big time.

“We eat more than we need, which was the other revelation,” says Shradha. “Half the time I eat it was stress. I never thought I was a stress eater, but I am. That was cool to learn and live.”

She was exhausted, but excited when she began eating solid food again.

Raw food lasagna from Radiance Restaurant  at the Spa Village’s Spa Samui Mountain Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

Raw food lasagna from Radiance Restaurant at the Spa Village’s Spa Samui Mountain Retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. (Photo: Jessy Mathew)

“They have this amazing raw food chef,” says Shradha, who would smell the food as she passed by the trays every day. “They have this amazing food. Every time you walk by … you’re like, ‘Wow it smells really enticing.’”

She advises taking a few days after to “enjoy the food” and so that you don’t stress out about missing it.

Back home on another shore and mountain and back into her hectic city life, she sometimes recalls the smell of lemon grass in her room after the housekeepers cleaned it and the peaceful, warm and welcoming, clean and simplistic environment.

Tips To Prepare For A Detox Vacay

  1. Do your homework before you arrive
  2. Reduce or cut out alcohol, coffee, dairy products, and sugar from your diet
  3. Reduce or quite smoking
  4. Assess your diet for the past six months to a year
  5. Drink eight glasses of water a day
  6. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

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