Spa Junkie in… Thailand

Our incognito reporter finally gets some sleep in Koh Samui

Image: Jay Yeo

Spa Junkie is staying at Kamalaya, Koh Samui, on a week-long Relax & Renew package.


I’m standing in the yoga pavilion on my mat, in Eagle pose, gazing at the sweeping views of Koh Samui’s idyllic southern coastline as the sun rises. It is very beautiful – about 10 times better, I decide, than the view at Hua Hin, where Chiva Som is based.

I’ve had another sleepless night; Pocket Rocket, I discovered, snores – snores, in fact, like I never imagined ladies could. But the yoga class is great; and breakfast, as usual, doesn’t disappoint.

No end in sight to the fabulous weather, so it’s straight down to the beach. It never feels crowded here, despite the spa’s full occupancy, and so one can tan with as much or as little attire as one requires. And there is never a scramble for a bed. My toasted-almond-coloured body is, on close examination, looking particularly slim. Without really trying, I have shed some pounds.

In the afternoon, I decide to take my fitness routine up a notch with a kick-boxing class. It’s a major sport in Thailand, and it works every part of your body. I don’t think I’m prepared for the level of intensity, though; this guy is literally kicking my butt. I burn through whatever the day’s calorific intake has been within about 20 minutes; after 40 minutes I feel almost faint. “I can’t, I can’t any more. Stop. Stop! No more. Tomorrow,” I gesticulate with my hand in circular movements, meaning I’m not sure quite what, as the trainer gazes at me disappointedly, “I come back – and I eat banana before, so I have more energy.” Why am I speaking in broken English?

I collapse in the infrared sauna – which is like a normal sauna, but the infrared light is absorbed directly into the body and is supposed to increase metabolism and encourage fat burn.


My expert nightly massage takes place as, unbeknownst to me, my things are quietly but competently being transferred to a new villa. Hallelujah. I am asleep the minute my head hits the pillow.


I wake up to severe aches virtually from head to toe. My legs are as stiff as cardboard. Thirty minutes into class, the yoga instructor, bored with my inability to get into any posture, sends me to see the massage therapist. The kick boxing seems to have worked muscles I didn’t know I had, and I am in a great deal of discomfort. A delicious-smelling poultice and a 90-minute deep tissue rub goes a (little) way to fixing me.

There’s nothing for it but to repair to the beach for more flat-on-my-back bliss. I find PR, who has struck up a conversation with some girls from London; they are all complaining about not losing weight. One has been here for almost 10 days; despite daily 45-minute runs and adhering to her programme to the letter, she has lost just over 1kg. This, for someone who – as she does – goes to detox and weight-loss retreats regularly, is apparently terrible. PR hasn’t lost a pound either. The pound-sterling-to-fat-loss ratio is not looking good for this end of the beach.

Like an angry mob, their attention turns to me; I’m visibly slimmer. “It’s not my fault,” I hear myself say as they hammer me for the exact ins and outs of my routine.

With my sleep quota back in check, my emotions stabilise and I enjoy the resort facilities. I steam and sauna – the supposed fat-melting properties of the infrared light are actually working a treat. I decide to skip cardio tonight and opt for a Shirodhara treatment, in which warm oil is poured in a constant stream onto my forehead.

Dinner is at Soma, the resort restaurant. PR has decided she will stay longer, as she simply cannot go back not having lost at least a couple of kilos.


Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.