Despite its reputation as party central, Phuket is also at the forefront of the health and wellness movement. It is fast emerging as a tropical island getaway for healthy holidays that restore your body and mind. Yoga, wellness and detox centres are popping up all over the island and a growing number of restaurants are offering healthy options to suit all kinds of travellers.
When you stay at an elite haven, you have the benefit of getting home cooked meals suited to your preferences every day. The villa chef can whip up five-star meals and yet keep them healthy so you can stay on course with your fitness goals. Supplemented by our in-villa yoga coaches and personal trainers, holidaying in Phuket was never so good for your health! When you wish to step out of the villa, you will not be found wanting of options either. Here are some of our favourite spots in Phuket for the health conscious traveller.
Santosa Detox & Wellness Centre, found on the hillside overlooking Kata Beach, is one such place offering several mind-body workshops and a restaurant serving creative raw, vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Santosa’s colourfully presented dishes, such as summer rolls stuffed with fresh coconut meat and a mix of vegetables, are as eye-catching as they are delicious, and they also offer regular Saturday buffet dinners for healthy grazing with sunset views.
Other Wellness Centres
Other leading-edge restaurants attached to wellness centres include Atsumi Raw Café near Rawai Beach (Indonesian Gado Gado wrap, raw Pad Thai, smoothies), Divine at Thanyapura Sports Centre in Thalang near the airport (organic gourmet cuisine and bio-dynamic wines), and Supernatural at Atmanjai Wellness Spa on Friendship Beach (raw vegetable lasagne, power broth soup, raw chocolate mousse).
Though the practice of cleansing and avoiding meat as a way to restore health is gaining wider appeal around the world, it’s not a new concept for many Phuket locals. The annual Phuket Vegetarian Festival dates back nearly 200 years when members of a visiting Chinese circus troupe fell ill and embarked on a ten-day cleansing rite that included a vegan diet, refraining from sex and alcohol, and performing some rather shocking rituals such as skewering their faces and walking over mounds of fiery hot coals (reportedly adopted from the Hindu festival of Thaipusam).
A number of vegetarian restaurants run year-round, too, with a handful of shops near the Chinese shrines along Ranong Road in Phuket Town serving up fresh and healthy local dishes. One of the best is Ruamjai Vegetarian Restaurant, with a buffet breakfast and lunch that brings in crowds of locals and travellers daily. Just wander in and point to two or three dishes, such as massaman curry or tofu and bean sprout stir-fry, from the large display pots and they’ll put them on a plate of brown rice for you. Simple, cheap, and delicious.
The Vegan Table restaurant in Phuket Town offers a varied selection of western as well some Asian vegan dishes, plus a range of fresh juices and healthy drinks and cheesecakes. Sample menu choices include smoked tofu summer rolls, fried mushrooms, sourdough toast with toppings like avocado and mushrooms in a balsamic reduction, soup in a bread bowl, pizza with vegan cheese, full English breakfast, nut roast, and granola bowls topped with fresh fruits.
Even if you don’t visit a restaurant with vegan, vegetarian or health-focused food, it’s easy enough to enjoy some guilt-free cuisine by simply choosing wisely from the menu at any dining spot. And with the abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, together with Thai cuisine’s finely honed balance of herbs and spices, those looking to eat healthy in Phuket do not have to settle for anything bland. A popular Phuket breakfast that brims with nutritional goodness is Khanom Jeen – rice noodles with mild curry served with a big side plate of fresh and crunchy herbs and vegetables.
Thai salads, aptly called ‘yum’, are also full of nourishment – with a little added chilli to really awaken the senses. Try Yum Mamuang (mango salad), Yum Tua Phu (winged bean salad), Yum Talay (mixed seafood salad) or Yum Som-O (pomelo salad) for a dose of delicious, tangy freshness. Som Tam is Thailand’s most famous salad, with its blend of green papaya, dried shrimp, peanuts, fish sauce and chilli delivering an explosion of flavour with every healthy bite. As a Southern Thai favourite, Khao Yum (rice salad, usually served with fermented fish sauce and a mix of coconut flakes, bean sprouts, green mango, green beans, cucumber, kaffir lime leaf, or whatever herbs and veggies are at hand) is available at many places around Phuket and this deceptively simple dish packs plenty of flavour and nutrition.
These are just a few examples, but on the journey to a healthier diet, the island offers many paths of discovery. In Phuket, healthy eating is also happy eating. Bon appétit!
Relaxation is the key to having a good holiday, whether it’s the only thing on your agenda or punctuating action-packed days of fun in the sun. As a guest at any of our wellness villas, in-house specialists will help you clear your mind, engage your senses and soothe your body with a variety of spa treatments – gentle body scrubs, flawless mani-pedis and local pampering traditions followed by a fragrant flower petal bath – all within the privacy and comfort of your luxury villa. Find villas with private gyms, pools and yoga salas in Phuket.