Our Detox in Thailand | The Spa Resorts
So a couple of weeks back we went on detox holiday to The Spa Resorts in Koh Samui, Thailand. This was a trip I had made previously twice before, but the last time my husband was in Koh Samui it was for retoxing, not detoxing.
On my last trip to do The Spa’s 7 day clean me out detox in 2008, I had just completed a 10 day holiday with Pat in Phuket and Bangkok, but as I had more vacation time, and he had no interest in the detox at that time, he headed back home whilst I followed on to Koh Samui.
Undertaking this 7 day cleanse had been on the cards for sometime with Pat, who let me explain is a very open minded, health conscious but still a meat eating Aussie bloke, to-ing and fro-ing as to whether he wanted to actually ‘starve’ himself for 7 days. Pat has had a history of sinus/allergy complaints, mainly since he moved here to the Middle East where we live in AC all year around and there is dust in the air 90% of the time. Having tried so many alternative and conventional remedies and solutions in the past, including the blood type diet, visits to naturopaths, acupuncture, supervised juice fasting etc, he was somewhat open to trying another solution but not overly hopeful this would assist him.
After 8 months of intense distance learning for his masters and breaking for the summer, combined with working full time and being an involved daddy and husband, Pat was ready for a holiday. So we planned to go and finally do the detox, even Pat had been overheard recommending to his friends. Don’t you just love it when you overhear your husband repeating stuff you’ve said to people
The plan was originally for us both to do the detox together, however with me being pregnant now, I couldn’t do the program however The Spa Resorts, has a wonderful restaurant called Radiance, which caters to raw foodies, vegetarians and even has some traditional Thai dishes with some chicken and seafood as well. The menu is massive and they claim to use organic ingredients when possible, from their own farm from their resort in Chang Mai. Also, apparently, Radiance has been named one of the top 50 vegetarian restaurants in the world!
My plan was to stick to 100% raw for the entire 7 days that Pat was detoxing and maybe even more if I felt like it. Oh and not to eat in front of him, which wasn’t too difficult as you’ll find out below.
The Pre Cleanse
As the website recommends here, you need to be as alkaline as possible, only consuming only fruit & vegetables (mostly raw) and plenty of water and 2 liver flush drinks per day in the days leading up to your detox.
As our diet is usually pretty clean anyway, it was no biggie, except Pat was right in the thick of his exams (we left the day after his last exam) and I was trying to feed him only fruit & vegetables which was difficult for him, so I made a big batch of tasty veggie soup – recipe here, and plenty of liver flush drinks and let him still have his meat meals. It was not worth trying to stress him out in an already stressful time. Plus we had extra time at the resort to pre cleanse if Pat was too acidic to begin straight away.
The Spa do recommend you stay for longer than 7 days so you can enjoy the menu post pre and post cleanse from their delicious restaurant. If you are too acidic when you arrive (after you test your saliva on a litmus paper) then you will be advised to not commence your fast until the following day, after consuming more, mostly raw foods and juices. I’ve only had to do that once, and that was after our trip to Phuket and Bangkok where we were boozing it up and enjoying Thai street food. It only took one day of eating all raw to get alkaline again. This is not my recommendation however, I really believe there is benefit in slowly detoxing before you leave home by modifying your diet, to lower your detox symptoms and also to begin getting into the mindframe of the way you will need to eat following the cleanse (and hopefully forever more!)
We arrived into Koh Samui around lunchtime so we hit up the restaurant for a delicious raw lunch.
Top from left: my raw special meal on Bangkok Air, the zucchini pesto, the marinara pizza and the pad thai (all raw).
On the day you are ready to start the cleanse, you head to the detox counter for your 7am betonite clay/psyllium husk drink mixed with fruit juice which doesn’t taste too unpleasant and given your pack of herbal supplements to be taken throughout the day. I believe these herbs are to assist with elimination as is the drink. Drinks are then taken every 3 hours, and the herbs are taken 1 1/2 hours later every 3 hours.
730am there is a complimentary meditation session that is not compulsory and at 830am there is a paid yoga class again, not compulsory.
Then you are pretty much free to do as you please, making sure you come back to the detox counter at 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and lastly at 7pm for your shakes, and remember to take your herbs at 830am, 1130am, 230pm, 530pm then 830pm.
On the first day of the cleanse, you meet with other newbies at 4pm for a demonstration on how to perform your coffee enema (they call it a colema as it’s quite a bit more volume than a standard enema). You watch a video, then you are taken to a guests room to observe a demonstration of set up(don’t worry – it’s just the set up), then you collect your own coffee bucket and head off to your room to perform your first coffee colema. This must be done before 630pm.
Basically every day from Days 2-7 follows the same routine, however from day 2 you do two colemas a day. One in the morning and one in the evening. Sounds gross for the squeamish, however once you get into it, it’s quite easy to do.
You can drink a number of juices and broths (specified in your welcome pack) from the restaurant at any time you wish.
Most people report that during they cleanse they go through feelings of lethargy, euphoria, the blues etc all at different times, but I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to feel hungry. I remember day 3/4 being the toughest for me, and warned Pat about that, but he said 4/5 & 6 were pretty tough and at the time, was complaining that his ‘holiday’ to recover from a high stress load of study/work was more like a prison sentence. I had to laugh at that, as he kept asking, when was his holiday going to begin.
On the morning of Day 7 I asked Pat if he felt like he could keep going and he said ‘for sure’. As I kept reminding him that he could eat tomorrow, he didn’t really seem all that phased about it. And I’ve even met guests in the past that have continued their detox for a whole month more. Once you are in the zone, surrounded by like minded people with no other life distractions it’s quite easy.
Throughout the cleanse, you are not bound to being anywhere at any given time, it is very self driven, and you can be as involved or detached as you want. With plenty of down time, people tend to congregate in the outdoor restaurant for their juices and broths, so it’s very social, especially if you go on your own, like most people do.
There is also a beauty salon, massage sala (even a special abdominal massage to assist with elimination) and free talks every night in the TV room on anything from past life regression to the science of body fat and tea ceremonies. Plenty to keep you busy if you like, or else just chill out by the pool and get some Vitamin D and get through some holiday reading.
I hardly saw Pat as he was often having massages (they wouldn’t massage me at the resort as I was pregnant but I could have gone down the road to have them), doing his colema’s, etc, so for those of you (Pat was one of them) who thinking you are going to be bored, believe me, you won’t. Plus as we were there at the hottest time of year, often I would have a lazy afternoon siesta with Manus for his afternoon nap or else meet Pat down at the pool with Manus.
When Pat finally broke his fast at around 3pm on Day 8 he enjoyed a plate of papaya and a liver flush and felt he could have continued on with his detox but was glad to have his first taste of solid food. I reminded him to slow down and savour it, and he really did think the food tastes so much better than he remembered.
The resort began as a dream of American, Guy, who wanted to make himself then ultimately other people healthy and happy. It took 17 years to materialise and finally in 1992, Guy and his Thai wife Toi, opened The Spa Resort on Lamai beach, Koh Samui with six bungalows.
Since then they have opened another resort in Koh Samui in the Lamai valley “the Village”, The Spa Koh Chang, then finally their newer resort at Chang Mai.
As for accommodation standards, the rooms are very very basic. Clean but basic. They do have AC, but no TV, nor fridge. We really didn’t miss TV although they do offer videos for free to loan in reception which we watched on my laptop some evenings. Most fasters are usually hitting the sack pretty early anyway by choice. No partying going on here!
For families, I wouldn’t say the resort is the best choice even though we did go with Manus, and there was also a family with two kids around 10 & 12, it really doesn’t have any activities for children. If taking an infant or a toddler, I would suggest taking your own pack and play, as we did request a crib but they only provided a cradle so Manus has to share the bed with us.
Plenty of return guests, choose to stay in other resorts (there are plenty close by and within walking distance either by the beach or the road) if they want more luxury and they would still attend the resort to pick up their drinks every 3 hours, use the restaurant for their juices and broths, as well as their private rooms for the colemas.
We stayed at the Koh Samui, Beach resort, I stayed at Koh Samui village in 2008 but much preferred the original beach, however they do have a a free hourly transport between the two as events usually at the beach only.
I’ve only been to both resorts on Koh Samui, so I cannot comment on the others, except to say that anyone i know who has gone to the more luxurious inland Chang Mai, has loved the facilities, as they are new and beautiful, however there isn’t near enough the support available by staff during the fast, nor has it had the atmosphere of all the other fasters, which appeared to have a lower occupancy rate.
When booking the hotel, I had sent numerous emails through the website contact form, and then again afterwards to their direct email, and it wasn’t until I posted something on their facebook wall that someone got back in touch with me. So if you want to book, be persistent, their staff aren’t the greatest at wanting your business.
The are two menus at the restaurant, one if for fasters and breaking their fast and the other, is the entire menu inclusive of raw, vegetarian and cooked Thai and other favourites. Throughout the day the restaurant serves not only resort guests but plenty of other health seekers, both expat residents and other holiday makers. For 100BHT I purchased a copy of both menu’s so I could try and replicate as many dishes as possible when I knew I would be long gone from the resort, and feeling homesick for their food.
Even on the night (post fast and at least 3 days after Pat had broken the fast), when we were wanting some traditional cooked Thai food we ended up staying at the resort as we felt comfortable with the casual surroundings as the staff entertained our super active 16 month old who was all over the restaurant chatting to everyone, to enable us to enjoy our meal!
For me, as I was not fasting, I would start my morning with a massive plate of local fruit, and a green juice (beet greens, kale & spinach),
then for morning snack I’d have some kind of smoothie or juice, Manus either enjoying what i was eating or loving the frozen mango sorbet here.
lunch would be a delicious raw dish like the sushi, pizza or lasagna,
afternoon tea would be a smoothie and an energy ball,
then dinner would usually be the signature Spa Salad (I’ve recreated the dressing here – amazing!). And towards the last couple of days, I would just eat the salad or raw soups for lunch and dinner as i really craved lighter foods, as opposed to the more heavy gourmet raw dishes.
Oh and of course there were plenty of these:
The people I meet every time at the resort always make the experience that much better – some of the gang I met were even doing Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) following their 7am drink for the duration of their fast. Hardcore!
We’ve even discussed meeting up again next year (wouldn’t that be fab!), and enjoyed getting out and about shopping and sighseeing together which was really something.
We checked out a part of Koh Samui neither Pat nor I, had seen before, Bo Phut, which was absolutely stunning, and enjoying some shopping and as everyone had broken their fast by now, a lovely meal on the water.
Some people are quite happy to stay within the resort for the entire duration of their detox, to ensure they are not tempted or distracted, but for those who have iron clad will, there are plenty of island activites and sights to behold. Just check with reception.
Without going into too much detail (the whole cleanse and accomodation costs can be found on their website), when we checked out, our bill worked out at approximately $1500US for 2 weeks accomodation, all the juices and meals we consumed at the resort, remembering Pat didn’t eat any solids for 7 days but did order juices & broths, as well as the cost of the actual detox.
In my opinion that’s pretty cheap and HARD to beat. There are plenty of places all around the world (and even plenty in Thailand) offering similar detoxes however I am not sure you will find it this low in price.
How to get there
Koh Samui airport outdoor lounge
We flew into Bangkok international terminal, then changed to the domestic terminal (same building) and caught a Bangkok Airways flight direct to Koh Samui. I believe you can bus it from Bangkok too, or fly to Surit Thani and boat it from there.
Overall at the end of the day, Pat was really thrilled he had succeeded in completing his 7 day detox cleanse. His sinus problems only cleared up slightly, however on returning to Saudi Arabia and the constant controlled indoor temperatures, his block nose returned completely
We’d love to make it a yearly reboot, however it may be more likely to be every 2 or 3 years, depending on how our vacations look, but Pat certainly thinks he’d like to do it again for a regular ‘oil change’ and I’d love to give it another crack after I have given birth and have also finished breastfeeding.
Oh and random side note, on the last days before we left I was on the hunt for the traditional Thai coconut sticky rice with mango as I had a major craving and couldn’t find it anywhere. Until I reached the Bangkok airport and I couldn’t even wait, I had to enjoy it in the luggage lounge. Have you tried it? It’s pretty amazing! My version recipe is here
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