Thailand is no stranger to wellness tourism. Khun Krip Rojanastien, Chairman and CEO of Chiva-Som, Thailand, gives us a peek into this booming industry and its future. By Bayar Jain
T+L India: How did you foray into wellness?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: It started when my father said I could better understand what he was doing at Chiva-Som by having a talk with one of our resort’s wellness specialists. At that time, I wanted to lose weight and had tried several methods but failed. After the conversation, I got to know what was lacking in my lifestyle and why I needed to change. It was the beginning of a new learning curve to me. They provided a comprehensive way to return to my normal life and still achieve my goal. Following the tailored programme, I lost 15 kilograms within six months. I was leaner and healthier, with more endurance. That’s how I began practising the wellness lifestyle.
T+L India: What should one look for when planning a wellness vacation?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: Wellness is about balancing the wellbeing of mind, body and spirit. A well-balanced lifestyle is always important to our lives no matter what your age is. Also, wellness is a distinctly personalised process. Genetically speaking, people are not the same and there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all, so it’s very important to look for the properties that offer tailored programmes with evidence based knowledge and understanding to help you maintain the wellness lifestyle.
T+L India: Thailand is synonymous with its massages. What, according to you, are some other must-experience/do wellness offerings of the country?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: Reconnecting with nature is another experience you should try when visiting Thailand. The Kingdom is known for its diverse landscapes, breathtaking natural attractions and charming local culture, all of which make Thailand a dream destination for year-round visits.
Some basic practices like meditation on a hilltop, walking in a forest or beach yoga in the morning can simply draw on the restorative powers of nature to heal the body and the mind, while exploring unique environments and local communities.
T+L India: How can one curb travel-induced anxieties?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: Stressful situations while travelling are a natural and familiar part of the travel experience, but to travel during the pandemic can cause an abnormal level of anxiety. It’s not only because of the fears of getting the Virus, but also the uneasiness of the restrictions and uncertainty that make travelling more stressful than ever.
Stress is tough on the immune system. The best way to prevent stress-induced immune weakness is by preparing ahead of time, taking a moment to focus on your breathing, refocusing, and approaching the situation with a calm demeanour.
T+L India: Tell us about a memorable wellness vacation.
Khun Krip Rojanastien: The trip to Tokyo and participation in the Tokyo Marathon 2019 along with 37,603 other runners. With approximately 6,90,000 spectators cheering us on, we ran the entire distance in 5 – 6 degree Celsius temperatures and constant drizzle. It was exhilarating.
The next day we were at Hokkaido to meet a group of Japanese businessmen, who showed us a scenic snow-covered forest at Tomakomai. One of them, aged 72, had recently run 250 kilometres in 48 hours.
Indeed it was a trip filled with the experience of a lifetime and exposure to remarkable people.
T+L India: What’s your idea of an ideal wellness holiday?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: Spending time absorbing the culture and holistic wellness practices of Sardinia, a designated Blue Zone. The Italian island in the Mediterranean offers rugged mountainous landscape, which helps determine its inhabitants’ lifestyle of constant movement, plant-based diet, natural stress management and positive social interaction. Apart from validating the concept of natural holistic wellness, the island and its inhabitants should provide an insight into how such a concept is embraced by an entire community and remains relevant through the ages.
T+L India: What is your favourite spa treatment and why?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: A Soothing Back Brush, which comprises light rhythmic combing and brushing along the contours of your back. It is intended to stimulate lymphatic drainage and blood circulation. However, my own experience of the treatment is largely about calmness and stress relief. Try the 80-minute version and you will find that it rivals even meditation.
T+L India: What is your prediction for the future of wellness travel?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: COVID-19 has made people more keenly aware of having a strong immune system and the need for a wellness lifestyle to support that.
Digital platforms offering wellness services will be an inevitable option, although direct human interaction will always be sought after. Hence those in the wellness industry that can excel on both fronts will be the most successful.
T+L India: What’s next on your wellness travel bucket list?
Khun Krip Rojanastien: We’re soon going to be announcing the grand opening of our first branded wellness destination overseas, Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som in Qatar, where I plan to join the grand opening ceremony that will be held early this year.