Looking to plan a vacation that includes plenty of pampering? Thailand may be the perfect place to go. With no shortage of sprawling white sand beaches, temperate weather year-round, scenic landscapes and all-natural, organic cuisine, the only feature that eclipses Thailand‘s culture and natural beauty are the luxurious, affordable amenities and beauty treatments.
This idyllic vacation spot is the perfect place to treat your mind, body and soul. Here are 10 great reasons to book that flight ASAP:
1. The best and cheapest massages the world over. Thai massages are no ordinary rub downs. A combination of acupressure techniques mixed with assisted yoga postures, this ancient healing massage will leave your body feeling limber and renewed. If you feel sore in any particular spot, massages can be tailored to treat pre-existing injuries. There are tons of great massage parlors to choose from, so finding a seasoned, exceptional masseuse is no problem.
Price: $5-10 per hour session
2. A few days in the sun will boost your mood. One of the most crucial nutrients, that we often fail to get enough of especially during winter months, is vitamin D. A simple cure? Spending a little time exploring Thailand‘s pristine beaches (while wearing SPF 30 and occasionally dipping under that shady umbrella, of course). Kata Beach, Patong Beach and Karon Beach in Phuket are the most accessible options, while neighboring islands like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Ko Lanta are more exotic options for those with time on their side.
3. In The West, we label fresh, local fruits and vegetables “organic.” In the East, that’s the norm. Fruit and vegetable vendors are impossible to miss—whether you decide to travel to the sprawling city of Bangkok, or visit more remote villages and islands. There are various types of mangoes to choose from, all picked fresh and perfectly ripe. Adventurous foodies can try options that are hard to find in America including: rombuton, longkong, durian (where Juicy Fruit gets its delicious flavor), mangosteen, lychee and pomelo.
Price: About half the cost of American produce
4. Thai cuisine features spices, herbs and vegetables all rich in nutrients and flavors. Thai food not only tastes great, but it’s also good for you! Thailand‘s famous curries, though they may have varying ingredients, have medicinal properties that are even frequently used in Thai herbal remedies. From turmeric—which stimulates digestion and detoxifies the body—to fresh chili peppers that are rich in vitamins A and C and detoxifying garlic, there is no reason to doubt Thai food does the body wonders.
Price: $2-$4 per dish
5. Get your imperfections nipped and tucked for half the buck. Bangkok is known as a world hub for cosmetic surgery, offering procedures at a fraction of the cost in hospitals that are accredited, safe, and specialized. Laser teeth whitening can cost around $200 in Thailand as opposed to $600-$1200 in the United States. Breast augmentation is more pricey, but many clinics come highly recommended. Expect to see prices in the $4,000 range in Bangkok. Big disclaimer, of course: Do your due diligence ahead of time and find surgeons that are licensed and have a stellar reputation. Just like in any country, plastic surgery comes with big risks, and the language barrier can make things a little trickier.
Price: Varies per procedure
6. Affordable yoga or Thai Chi classes and retreats. It’s true there’s yoga in the U.S. But how often can you bridge pose while listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean or rustling leaves along a mountainous countryside? Thailand yoga retreats offer secluded practices that focus on posture and meditation. As is often quoted from the Bhagavad Gita, “there are as many yogas as there are people,” and Thailand is no exception. Let it be known, yoga in the East is a different beast.
Price: About $120 per day (retreat)
7. Get toned while learning Muy Thai. There are several Muy Thai training camps offering classes paired with accommodations for days, weeks and even months at a time. Most of the facilities are world class with fighters coming from all over the globe to train and even fight. There’s a good chance you’ll walk away with a fighter’s body after the typical grueling two hours of training two times a day, which includes a 5k run, jump roping, technique training, and sparring. Thailand‘s Muy Thai camps even offer meal plans that include delicious American food or Thai dishes.
Price: Average $100 per week for classes and $200-$300 per week for accommodation
8. The scenery is a runner’s dream. The scenic mountains, hills and beaches of Thailand offer a runner the most unique backdrop. In addition to the varying terrain and tropical climate, much of the aforementioned fresh fruit is bound to be sold along whatever route you choose. Forget Gatorade—grab yourself a cold coconut or chilled watermelon as you tour resort towns or local villages in your cross trainers. And there’s nothing quite like finishing a scenic run with a splashdown at the beach.
Price: Free, save for whatever refreshments you purchase along the way.
9. Stress-free zone. Thailand‘s laid back vibe and culture is infectious and it’s not hard to see why. Smiling comes naturally when everyone else is sharing your smile. In Thailand you are encouraged to relax. The locals are very pleasant and accommodating and that hospitality translates into a very calming experience whether you are vacationing at a resort and spa or backpacking from town to town.
10. Breathe clean. Much of Thailand sports an air quality index under 30, with places like Phuket boasting scores deep in the green (that’s good.) Add the revitalizing sea breeze blowing in off the water in coastal areas and you’ll quickly find taking in deep breaths rarely feels so good. Thailand‘s clean air is a boon not to be dismissed.