It was King Rama Vll of Siam who discovered Hua Hin, bestowing a royal status on this once sleepy fishing village. Today it’s a thriving destination, just under three hours from Bangkok where powdery beaches edge its coastline along the Gulf of Thailand, temples gleam in the sunshine and a hidden wellness sanctuary lies in wait on its outskirts.
Hua Hin became Thailand’s first beach resort after a train line was laid in the 1920s to provide access from Bangkok and where the King established his summer retreat. It is also here where the first standard 9-hole golf course in Thailand was constructed and the King inaugurated the Royal Hua Hin Golf Course in 1924.
Holidays can be immersive experiences especially in a culture so colourful. Gold, ornate temples, sacred and peaceful are places to add to the itinerary. Wat Hua Hin in the centre is the most popular while Khao Takiab, 7km away, features a huge statue of a standing Buddha on the hilltop. Thai dancing showcases the graceful moves of stylized storytelling to mystical melodies veiled in elaborate costumes. While, in contrast, the bustling night markets come alive in a dazzle of cultural experiences – skewers of street food and huge lobsters line up next to fake designer handbags, T-shirts draped close to carved soap flowers and wooden elephants.
East meets West
Reservedly located on the outskirts of Hua Hin is Chiva-Som, the place where western skills and eastern philosophies have joined forces to revitalise the mind, body and spirit. Set in seven acres of gardens, this pioneering health and wellness sanctuary racks up awards year after year. Tailored for each guest, this internationally renowned luxury haven specialises in 15 retreat programmes and around 200 treatments in an environment that exudes zen and tranquillity.
The Age-Well Programme
We can‘t turn back the age clock but we can, to some extent, control premature aging. Chiva-Som’s Age-Well programme focuses on health preservation embracing diet, exercise and lifestyle choices. With a minimum of five nights stay, a personally created schedule includes one-to-one sessions in areas such as spine mobilisation, for those of us spending too much time bending over laptops or gardening and refunctional exercise for core stability to prevent falls. As joints and bone density decrease with age, strengthening and retraining movements are also in focus.
As well as a personal trainer session, a naturopathy consultation and daily therapeutic massages add to the day’s activities, such as the Chi Nei Tsang massage (Taoist Therapeutic Massage) which exerts attention on the abdomen for those with digestion issues. The whole programme is monitored by your own wellness consultant from when you arrive to when you bid farewell. New exercises, new mind set come with accompanying notes and illustrations to continue at home. But more importantly, the new you!
Imagine a luxury boutique hotel flowing into a health & wellness environment designed for advanced retreats. Small enough to know each guest, large enough to offer the most advanced treatments with trained, knowledgeable, therapists.
Traditional Thai Style
The multi-tiered swooping tiled roofs, shaped like giant toblerones, form the classic traditional architecture of Chiva-Som, in keeping with its culture. There are 54 rooms and suites endowed with spacious interiors with teak floors and a calming palette bathed in soft lighting. Welcome homely touches make you feel at home instantly – you can even choose your own scent for the oil burner. The Thai Pavilions are positioned in clusters making it ideal for a group of friends and family to stay close together. Paved pathways weave through lush gardens, skirted with floral planters. A reflective lake brimming with carp swanning around, birdsong in the background and a wooden bridge complete a picture of serenity.
Embracing Thai cuisine and the medicinal power of natural herbs and ingredients, dishes at Chiva-Som are created with health and nutrition firmly in mind, using organic produce from its own gardens. Portions are controlled, flavours enhanced and variety is the order of the day to satisfy all taste buds but also to heal and nurture the body.
Under the Royal patronage of HRH Princess Maha Sirindhorn, driven by Chiva-Som and supported by other sponsors, Krailart Niwate Mangrove Ecosystem Preservation Project is the last remaining mangrove ecosystem in Hua Hin. It is a reconstructed wetland project and an urban nature reserve. Located in the centre of the city, it raises awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems, involving the community and helping the environment. With the opening of a new boardwalk stairway, Chiva-Som now offers “eco-spiritual” tourism in the region in its efforts to promote sustainability.
Hua Hin A Royal Retreat
Chiva-Som plays an integral part in Hua Hin’s history. This retreat has fused the synergy of indigenous traditions with evidence-based wellness methods to deliver what it promises – to connect you with your soul, ground you to the earth and make you feel like royalty in its hidden sanctuary off the Gulf of Thailand in a location chosen by King Rama back in the 1920s.
Learn more about Chiva-Som.
Our Silver Travel Advisors can help you plan your next wellness retreat or trip to Thailand: call our travel experts on 0800 412 5678.