Thailand is good for all sorts of occasions: to party, to find adventure, for girlfriends and for romance. The last time I wrote about Thailand here I was in love and we were annoying the other patrons in a hotel in Phuket. This time around I am heartbroken and desperately trying to get over it. Why did I choose to return? Because quite frankly I love Thailand and I wasn’t okay with having our relationship tainted just because an affair with a guy didn’t work out.
So it was just in time, whilst I was wallowing in self-pity in Jaipur, that I got invited to Khao Lak. Some beautiful resorts, beach, scuba diving, and of course plenty of massages seemed just the thing to do. I packed my bags, ignored my broken heart that was mopey and in no mood to travel, slapped on some eyeliner and was on a plane to Thailand within a few days.
My itinerary was a couple of nights at La Vela Khao Lak and Casa de la Flora followed by a liveaboard trip with Wicked Diving in the famed Similan Islands. Luxury, adventure and a whole lot of pampering seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Need to get over a heartbreak as well (or just do some serious pampering)? Here are my 10 rules for doing just that:
1. A soft bed to cry on
Let’s get one thing straight: I have cried in a lot of different beds. That comes with the territory of being a travel blogger and occasionally being heartbroken or sad in general. There is no good place to bawl your eyes out but it does get a little better when your tears fall on 600-thread-count crisp cotton sheets instead of a dingy fleece blanket in a hostel in Agra. Also, don’t go and see romantic monuments when emotionally unstable!
With that sentiment, I am grateful to fall in some of the comfiest beds I have ever encountered for the next few nights and of course, make use of all the space – octopus style sleeping is in order! La Vela even comes with proper travel inspiration in the form of a giant wallpaper map behind the bed. There is still a world to explore, it seems to whisper.
2. Moody weather
Lucky me that the beds are comfy because the weather is nothing to write home about. According to my mood, it rains then pours. Just as well, as I actually manage to get some work done (thank you, fast wifi!) and have an excuse to escape the happy couples.
As an all-suite hotel, Casa is perfect for couples and honeymooners and as romantic as it gets. Usually, I’m quite good at being romantic on my own but in my current state, I appreciate the solitude the rain brings, a channel full of classic movies, and a free minibar that is being restocked daily.
3. Happy Hour
Needless to say, extended happy hours are in order starting with champagne for breakfast. And since I don’t need to worry about fitting in a bikini, I indulge – two for one mojitos anyone?
4. Make a food baby
“When I got divorced I had a durian party as my ex hated them,” one of the Thai ladies at the hotel tells me. I wonder what my version of durian could be and decide for something full of gluten. Not quite the same, but it is my version to get over someone who is gluten-intolerant.
I meet my salvation in the form of a pizza during my first lunch at La Vela’s Kokula beach club. I should add that I am a pizza snob and don’t make such claims lightly. And really – have you ever heard of a pizza mending a broken heart? Me neither! Until now. Their Kokula Pizza is made from a dough, colored black with sepia, covered in the freshest seafood, garlic, basil and enough chili that my favorite waiter Dam looks worried on my behalf.
I, however, am absolutely fine and quite in love with my pizza – who needs a man to be happy?! – and wonder if I should start a blog with the best pizzas around the world. This one has set the bar quite high.
5. Break a sweat
For those girls who prefer a good workout to indulging (nope, sorry, not me!) the hotel also has a saltwater pool of Olympic proportions and you will find Muay Thai gyms as well as a Bikram yoga studio in Khao Lak.
Boxing something without repercussions looks especially appealing right about now…
6. Get pampered
My workout during my stay consists of getting pampered. Just like anywhere in Thailand you can get a massage in Khao Lak at any time, any day at a really great price. But if you want to properly indulge I recommend you head to the hotel spa where you will be pampered into oblivion.
Alternatively, I can recommend a soak in one of the oversized bathtubs. Especially cozy when enjoyed with a glass of red whilst gazing into the rain.
7. Beach babe
While I love digging my toes into the sand the weather is not my friend for the first few days in Khao Lak. So I don’t get to enjoy the beautiful Khao Lak beaches in the sun. Luckily, once I head to the Similan Islands with Wicked Diving this all changes. While we are here to explore the underwater world, there is enough time for a cold Leo on the beach now and then.
The Similan National Park is only open from November till April and offers turquoise waters and secluded bays – that is if you come after hours when the day boats have left. Then you will have long stretches of white sand all to yourself with more than enough space to dig your toes in.
8. Sea & Saltwater
There are few things that I love more than scuba diving. Being underwater soothes me and it has been too long since I last went. I just know that if anything can make me feel better it is a good dose of saltwater and a little flirt with Nemo.
The Similans are a premier dive destination in Thailand and one I haven’t explored. They are easy to reach from Khao Lak but I think best explored with a liveaboard. I am on board the Mariner for three nights which means a total of ten dives – perfect to catch the early fish as we are in the water by sunrise and late after sunset. A special highlight is our nightlife as we turn off the torches and dive just guided by bioluminescence that glows in the dark whenever we move our hands or fins (remember that romantic scene from the Beach?).
After the three days, my head is full of turtles, seadragons, moray eels, and a bit of residual nitrogen. I finally feel like a fish back in the water – what boyfriend, what heartbreak?
9. Make new friends
While I love my solo traveling life it does get lonely sometimes, especially when times get a bit tough. With that sentiment I am more than happy to go on a trip with in-built friends – divers tend to be a friendly bunch and you already know that you have something in common.
Even if it is just for a few days, making new friends is great to share early morning coffees, zip up your wetsuit or to swap stories about whether that shark encounter you are talking about really happened (it did happen!).
While one could assume that seeing a beautiful sunset by yourself is a sad thing I actually found it quite reassuring. A beautiful sunset is still a beautiful sunset is still a beautiful sunset… With or without someone by your side. And am I not incredibly lucky to see views like this?!
A big thank you to La Vela, Casa de la Flora & Wicked Diving for helping me get over my heartbreak and discover the best pizza ever. Now, can I please get one delivered to Hamburg?