Amanda Byram Finds Inner Peace at Chiva Som, Thailand
There is something about the traditional Thai salutation I find mesmerising. Upon crossing someones’ path, you smile and greet them with warm eye contact and gently bow your head with your hands pressed together as though in prayer. It acknowledges others respectfully and nudges you to abandon the million-and-one other thoughts coursing through your synapses. In many ways it’s exactly like Chiva Som.
Situated on a long beach in Hua Hin district, this holiday resort-come-health spa makes you acknowledge your surroundings, live in the present, slow down and smell the lotus flowers. Be prepared to abandon your mobile, disown your laptop and shun your camera. Even tablets and kindles are kindly forbidden in communal areas, so I had been warned.
At first, panic set in. What? No images to upload to Instagram? No timeline of my daily events to be posted on Facebook? No bikini selfies or in-depth description of the (seriously delicious.. we’ll get to that) food to be tweeted? I felt my thumbs clambering for something to do. But within no time at all I was eternally grateful to the powers that be at Chiva Som for enforcing this gadget free space. upon me. It had been a long time since I hadn’t concerned myself with emails, tweets, timelines or whether to use X-Pro II, Amaro or Low Fi on my instagram posts.
This gem of a hotel would have to be experienced in the NOW. With my very own eyes, not the eye of the lens. A taste of freedom from a selfie obsessed digital parallel universe we all seem to be engrossed in. Chiva Som is an escape in every sense of the word.
What do you get when you cross a 5 star spa and a 5 star hospital? You get Chiva Som’s incredible spa facilities. In fact, Chiva Som IS a registered hospital, but cleverly disguised beneath a beautiful painted veil. Upon arrival, an invitation was extended to meet with a member of the spa team, ensuring I would be “getting the most” from my time at the resort.
After relaxing on one of the heated waterbeds and sipping Chiva Som’s signature drink of lemongrass tea, it was time to meet my consultant. The consultation seemed quite clinical, but it made sense once I discovered that here, they focus on your greater well-being, with programmes and treatments for everyone from weight management, detoxification, optimal fitness and stress reduction to skin rejuvenation and longevity.
The packages are many, i wanted them all, so help in choosing which one is right for you, is appreciated. A lengthy questionnaire revealed my short and long term needs, for me it was a 5 day “Inner Peace” programme. With over 150 treatments and specialist practitioners that include doctors, nurses, US-trained dermatologists, plastic surgeons, naturopaths and therapists, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but not for long. The softly spoken staff mesmerise you into a warm cocoon of serenity.
No matter which programme you choose, there are 3 complimentary treatments – try the Stress therapy release, the Flotation Tank, Signature Massage – during which my therapist Pim rectified 41 years worth of aches and pains…