Having spent so much time writhing around in pain, I had to fit a month’s worth of must-do Thailand activities into less than two weeks. So here are a few of my favorites… though I suspect you’ll prefer the post of misadventures coming up next.
Muay Thai Boxing
No sooner had I begun to live again (seriously, only hours after eating real food for the first time in 11 days) than I was punching and kicking in a private Muay Thai boxing lesson at the gorgeous Indigo Pearl hotel (and you can also look up other nearby hotels through Expedia). If I’d learned about Muay Thai on the first day of my visit, I would have signed up for a monthlong class. I just know I’d be roundhouse-kicking people in the face in no time.
The first thing I learned from Khun Tadd, my mega-ripped yet mega-friendly instructor, was that Muay Thai means, “The Science of Eight Limbs.” I soon found out what he meant when we began sparring and his faster-than-lightning arms and legs cut and jabbed me from all sides. How did I defend myself against his swings? By shrieking, naturally.
I’ve never had an instructor of anything laugh at me so heartily (and Lord knows I’ve deserved it -Bev. B anyone?) but then again, Khun Tadd said he’s never had anyone scream bloody murder every time they blocked a punch. By the end of the session, we had a hilarious little system – he’d punch me, I’d scream and block it, then he’d scream just like me and we’d both crack up until kicked me in the shin and I screamed all over again.
This one’s a given. Sore? Time for a massage. Bored? Get a massage. Sleepy? Have a massage while napping. Hungry? Eh, I don’t like Thai food anyways. To the spa!
Best massage in Thailand? Check out The Pavilions Phuket
The ridiculous cheapness of massages & other spa treatments in SE Asia is my No. 1 reason for going back (if I ever do.) My back has been in a sad state ever since I left.
I waffled for weeks over whether or not to do this, in part out of safety for myself and in part because I wanted to be sure the place I chose had a reputation for treating its elephants humanely. After reading about some recent deadly tramplings, I properly scared myself to death just in time to climb onboard Cindy, a 30-year-old elephant living with her mahout outside Phuket. I have to confess… I only rode for 15 minutes, and I would’ve been happy with 3 – just long enough to snap a few pictures.
I didn’t so much enjoy riding Cindy. Elephants are quite bumpy, especially as I was perched precariously in a bench strapped onto padding on top of her back. I was sure every grunt from her trunk was a warning that she was about to chuck me off her back and kick me straight in the mouth. Cindy was obviously a veteran; she never batted an eyelash of course… though I was wigging out as we wandered through the forest and into the lake.
Up next… The Misadventures