RAKxa Wellness & Medical Retreat, Thailand: ‘I left lighter, fitter, calmer and more centred’
Where is it?
Just an easy 40 minutes from Bangkok airport lies the RAKxa, a retreat on leafy Bang Krachao Island, considered the green lung of Bangkok, looking at the capital across the wide Chao Phraya River.
Ten years in the making, an enormous number of trees and shrubs have been planted here to create a botanical landscape.
One of the first in Asia to combine medical treatments with holistic practices or blend East with West, RAKxa has a three-pronged approach to what it offers. It is also the result of three different partners, bringing together Thai hospitality giant, Minor, MK Real Estate, and VitalLife Scientific Wellness Centre. The latter is part of highly respected Bumrungrad International Hospital.
Three separate buildings represent RAKxa’s three pillars. There is RAKxa JAI, which has more than 200 holistic and alternative medicine treatments to choose from, drawing on traditional Thai and Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda.
While RAKxa Gaya, a medical gym, is where you start with a functional fitness test which provides training programmes in corrective exercise, performance rehabilitation, and neuromuscular training on cutting-edge equipment like Keiserm InBody and Technogym.
Lastly, there is VitaLife at RAKxa, which offers tailor-made treatment programmes to deal with anti-ageing and aesthetics.
The combination of these three mean you can have DNA testing, hormone screening, and laser therapy in between singing bowl healing, acupuncture, and flotation therapy. A truly broad offering.
What should you choose?
You can choose between four different programmes: Weight Control & Detox, Rebalance Body & Mind, Wellbeing & Recovery, and Advanced Aesthetics. Those short on time can have a teaser — Discover RAKxa, which is just three nights and serves as an introduction to their wellness journey as well as undertaking an in-depth analysis of your health. Within the programmes, you can opt for de-stress, gut balance, sleep improvement, and more.
There were many impressive treatments that I had (I noticed for example, that here they give you a probiotic after a colonic irrigation) and the doctors impressed me, too, as did James in the gym, who actually made exercising enjoyable.
Crossing cultural and medical borders gave me a fascinating insight into the different ways the same problem is treated. I enjoyed my metabolism booster and laser therapy but what I was most excited by was the window you could open in the cryotherapy chamber — perfect for claustrophobes like me.
For those who are on a fitness mission, there can be few better places to stay. There is a lot of serious equipment in the gym, including pilates reformers, chairs and more.
There is an indoor pool with a hydrotherapy circuit in RAKxa Jai, and an outdoor pool near the restaurant, which is probably one of the loveliest pools I have ever swum in. It is an essay in green with the many surrounding trees reflected in the pool which is lined with glossy green tiles. An extremely peaceful place to swim, it always seemed to be empty.
Bikes are used to get around, with one per guest parked outside each guest villa. There are weekly activities available to all guests, from Fitball to fascia release.
One of the most important things, when you are stuck on a weight-loss programme, is ironically the food. Of course, it needs to be low-calorie and small in quantity, but it is so wonderful when it tastes good as well.
Here, it ticks both those boxes whilst also following an anti-inflammatory philosophy that aims to eliminate toxins and rebalance the gut. Seriously talented chef Bansani delivers dishes that both delight and dazzle. All meals start with homemade kombucha, except breakfast, which starts with a choice of cold-pressed juices. For breakfast, try the avocado on sourdough with chia chilli jam. Otherwise, try the scallops with mango salsa or the pan-seared duck breast with massaman curry and do not miss the pineapple crème brulée with coconut milk.
There is a tea lounge with a huge range of teas from across the world and afternoon tea, with snacks, is served every day.
There are 40 garden villas and 20 pool villas, the latter being slightly larger in size. Interiors are luxurious, with vast beds, generous desks, and separate living areas.
Everything is designed to offer a restful stay, with thick blackout curtains and peaceful, muted, interiors. The villas’ pools are a decent size, enabling a swim first thing in the morning, when the birds are at their loudest. They villas are clad in glossy green tiles and surrounded by verdant, lush foliage.
Feeling lighter, fitter, calmer, and more centred. Here, you have all the tools you could possibly need to learn, health-wise, what you need to prioritise and how to slip back into the daily grind, mindful of carving out time for yourself. A perfect place to take stock and reset.
A three night stay at RAKxa on the three-night Discover RAKxa programme, inclusive of treatments, activities, and all meals, costs from £2,750 pp double/twin occupancy of a room or from £3,270 pp for single occupancy. To access exclusive special offers, including free treatments and room upgrades, contact specialist wellness travel company Wellbeing Escapes or visit firstname.lastname@example.org