Ever felt like you’re spending too much time glued to your screens? From smartphones to computers, tablets to cinemas, screens are a big part of our everyday lives. Perhaps too much.
A wave of digital retreats in Thailand aim to approach this issue the same way we cope with other addictions. Offering “patients” the chance to unplug from the online world and reconnect with real life, these getaways are your ticket to reducing your technological reliance. If you think it’s time for a digital detox, here are some places to check out.
Where: Phang Nga Bay
The place: Nestled in a lush tropical forest on the secluded island of Koh Yao Noi, this little oasis features charming treetop villas with stunning views of the secluded coast. For those looking to detox, the sanctuary offers an all-round wellness experience in an eco-conscious living environment, as well as other packages like the seven-day Goddess retreat, which boasts a combination of yoga, meditation, embodiment, ceremony, hormone balance and healing classes.
The therapy: With mindfulness as the main focus, the treatments foster awareness of the presence of devices and creating a balance when it comes to using them. The treatment mixes daily classes of yoga, meditation in the jungle, rejuvenating massages and a private discussion with consultants to create a suitable treatment program—all to help you develop mindful movements and behaviors. The seven-day Digital Package, priced around $4,000, includes a six-night stay in the tree-top villa with three daily meals (vegan and Ayurvedic are available) and a trip to the stunning islands around Koh Yao Noi.
Where: Khao Yai
The place: Most and other locations of this company’s retreats are held at Parco by Bonanza—a 16,187 sqm property hugged by mountains—as three-day packages during the weekends, though sometimes the location changes depending on the client’s requests. Combining a luxurious vacation with a break from technology, the resort features clean yet rustic rooms that face out towards the stunning greenery of Khao Yai. Facilities include a golf course, swimming pool, outdoor camping and horse-riding.
The therapy: The program encourages you to take a break from all devices and to engage in the present and your environment. You’ll relax your senses through daily activities like yoga and meditation, as well as making real connections with other human beings without the distraction of technological devices. Apart from that, there’s plenty of time for outdoor adventures like exploring Khao Yai National Park and visiting waterfalls. The cost is determined by how many people are in the group and the location. If it’s being held at Parco, the price for a two-night stay including all activities ranges from $325 to $870 depending on the room size.
Where: Chiang Mai
The place: This hideaway on the bank of the Ping River in Hang Dong is the perfect sanctuary for unplugging from it all. They only allow 20 people in the resort at a time to ensure the environment is as calm as possible. The treatments merge Eastern and Western holistic approaches, with therapists on hand to help you formulate a plan that suits you best.
The therapy: Here, it’s not just a digital detox. Acknowledging that today’s society is inextricably intertwined with modern devices, their approach aims to create a long-term beneficial relationship with the internet, rather than cutting it out completely. A therapist will dig beyond the symptoms down to the root of your obsession, before teaching you mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy skills to help overcome it. In addition, therapies include tension-relieving massages, meditation, exercise, yoga, Pilates and art classes. The 28-day residential internet addiction program will set you back an eye-watering B394,900 (around $17,000), though it promises treatment from an expert team of Western-trained psychologists and counsellors who are well-versed in treating both substance and behavioral addictions.
A version of this article first appeard on BK Magazine.