Spa break, bootcamp, massage school… as I’ve been doing research online to see if there are any mass alms-giving ceremonies coming up in Thailand over the next two months that will give me the opportunity to re-shoot the photo on that holiday that you helped us win, I’ve also been thinking about the kind of break I need. We both need.
If I can’t find a mass event — they’re usually only held on religious holidays or New Years Day — I’ll focus instead on shooting one of the countless alms processions that take place at the crack of dawn every morning in Buddhist countries around Asia. After all, most of you suggested I go in close to capture the human spirit and essence of the event.
I’ve also been looking for other relaxing things we can do — ‘relaxing’ being the keyword here. It’s been such a long time since we’ve taken a break to do nothing that I’m not sure we remember how.
Part of me would love some pampering and would be in absolute bliss if I could indulge in a spa break and enjoy some spa treatments for a couple of days. For some years, I’ve had Chiva Som on my wish list, only I would probably need a whole month there for a complete overhaul.
We first visited Chiva Som when we were updating Dorling Kindersley’s Thailand guidebook a few years ago. People continually tell us that we have dream jobs, but most of the time they don’t feel so dreamy — except that gig. That was heaven.
In addition to having to test out scores of beautiful hotels and restaurants in half of Thailand, I was required to write a brand new section on spas. This meant we had to have treatments every day. On one day, because I’d got sunburnt and had to forgo my treatment, poor Terence actually had to have two! I would have loved to have seen the look on the face of the therapist who asked him “So when was your last treatment?” and he responded, “Um… this morning.”
I’d give anything to re-live that month — without all the planning, hotel inspections, chit-chat, note-taking, drives between different destinations every day, and all the writing.
Then again, the other part of me, the grantourista who is on a mission to inspire you all to travel more experientially would love to do something that is calming yet active and involves learning something new. I like the idea of having meditation, massage or yoga lessons.
Or even going to bootcamp! — because while doing that research, I came across this brilliant site called Wahanda which is a sort of global guide to unwinding, where you can book spa treatments and massages and classes and even ‘healing hotels’ around the world.
The site covers everything from health spa breaks (including retreats and bootcamps) to luxury spa days (with some fun treatment and afternoon tea packages in the UK), as well as pilates and tai chi, and… guess what? I can even book the Thai massage school at Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok. Now, to look for some meditation classes and yoga lessons…
Because no matter how tired I am and how badly I need to bliss out, I still want to learn when I go on holidays, and I guess that’s the beauty of experiential travel.
What do you think I should do? Bliss out, get fit or skill up? Any ideas or tips?