One Woman’s Journey to Thailand
A woman’s work is never done – but somebody’s got to do it.
So there I found myself in Thailand, shovel in hand, digging a hole for one lonely coconut whose mission it will be to grow to maturity and bear fruit. On an island once covered in coconut groves I briefly helped seed a swath of land owned by a local 82-year-old woman who can’t tend the farm anymore. Call it sisterhood.
Not only was I in Thailand proclaiming my coconut love (yes I admit I have a weakness for coconuts) on the day of the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 65th birthday in a community initiative to restore coconut groves on Koh Samui but I was on my own personal quest to seek out first-hand experiences ideal for women jet setters.
I explored one of Asia’s most female-friendly destinations focusing on activities such as health and wellness, shopping, soft adventure, cooking classes and supporting local communities and women’s organizations in Thailand.
Now for a look at Thailand’s unforgettable getaways for the female set:
Elephant Mahout Experience at Patara Elephant Farm
White elephants are sacred royal animals in Thailand. In some north eastern areas of Thailand villagers even include Asian elephants in their family unit as pets. So when the idea of participating in an elephant trainer programme by Patara Elephant Farm was made I was apprehensive. Would these animals be treated ok?
Located 45 minutes south from the northwestern city of Chiang Mia near the Hang Dong valley there I was channeling a Mahout spirit (that’s Thai for caretaker) in a knee deep stream scrubbing an elephant under the spell of a hot Thailand sun.
Since 2001 the Patara Elephant Farm cares for Asian elephants, a species that is smaller than the larger African cousins. The farm combines conservation through its breeding programme along with education and limited tourism. Visitors receive instructions on elephant behaviour and feeding then learn about elephant care from dirt removal to elephant bathing and brushing which culminates in an optional elephant trek if desired. A traditional Thai picnic lunch by a streamside thatched hut is also included.
The magical experience was not only memorable but one of the finest highlights on my Thailand girls getaway trip. For any girl out there who enjoys nature and loves animals, this programme is sure to please. For more information, visit their website.
A girl’s gotta have spa treatments while in Thailand and there are plenty to choose from. The country is synonymous with the spa and has a virtual lock on the market. Find truly affordable luxury and one of the few destinations where 1-hour massages can start as low as $8.
Thailand also has its own specialty: the yoga-moving, ligament pulling, elbow needling traditional Thai massage. Now that might not sound like a pretty picture but the results I assure you have their own rewards. You feel nimble as if you can touch your toes.
For me, there was a secret obsession to find a daily Thai massage fix as I trekked off-the-beaten path in sometimes not the most delightful places but the searching never took long. Within 5-minutes there’s bound to pop up a massage spa of your liking.
Another time, after a morning of bling bazaar shopping in Bangkok, the Elemis Spa at the St. Regis Bangkok had just the antidote: a full Thai massage. The spa is Southeast Asia’s first Elemis facility. Guests enjoy herbal-infused teas, dried fruit and nut nibblies including a hot and cold plunge pool in an interior of cool neutral tones. I liked the salon amenities especially the styling hair mousse which I later managed to purchase at a downtown Watsons store.
Ever imagine indulging in a chocolate body wrap? One day that was my go-to spa fix after an elephant encounter. At the Anantara Chiang Mia, my spa experience starts with a healthy herbal drink and a relaxing foot bath in preparation for a Lanna Ritual which ended in a decadent chocolate body wrap. It was the perfect bookend to the outdoor elephant spa earlier in the day.
A girl sometimes wants to fade into the background, maybe disappear behind the rafters. At the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, the Service 1921 Restaurant and Bar has the ultimate private dining room. Simply push a library wall like in the movies and voila, a secret room appears. The restored venue resides in the old British Consulate which was once considered a hotbed of spy-dom. The restaurant carries an old spy theme throughout the décor and the F+B staff who are known as field agents and top secret chefs. I like the bookshelves of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and wall displays of ballpoint pens and vintage passports.