The High and Low Ends of Rehab Tourism in Thailand

The High and Low Ends of Rehab Tourism in Thailand

Thailand is best known for its beautiful scenery, rich culture, exquisite cuisine and vibrant history, but over the last decade or so, the country has garnered a different kind of reputation as well. Aside from those that flock to the country for medical reasons, whether they are looking for dental surgery or cosmetic procedures, Thailand also hosts thousands of people wanting to recover from addictions.

This “rehab tourism” is growing in popularity and a number of rehab centres are available to those seeking treatment in the country. However, as in all other facets of the country, rehab tourism also displays the disparity between the rich and poor, catering luxury centres to those that can afford them and lower-end centres to those on a budget. Below, we have a look at the low and high ends of rehab tourism in Thailand, and what this means for addicts who are considering treatment in this exotic country.

The High End

The High and Low Ends of Rehab Tourism in Thailand
The Cabin Chiang Mai caters to individuals seeking to recover from addiction in a luxurious setting

Considered as one of the most luxurious rehab centres in the world, The Cabin Chiang Mai is a popular pick for celebrities looking to recover from drug or alcohol addictions. There are luxury beach rehab centres in the USA like luxurybeachrehab.com that parallel The Cabin’s upscale vibe, but many choose to relocate to Thailand for its remoteness and privacy. The centre is privately located, with a gorgeous view of the Ping River. Patients pay up to $12,000 US a month for their stay, which may be lower than the industry standard globally but higher than most other centres located in Thailand. Many well-known celebrities have been treated at The Cabin since 2009, including Pete Doherty, Cat Marnell and, Gail Porter. The centre focuses on modern and holistic approaches to treatment, which includes exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy.

The Low End

The High and Low Ends of Rehab Tourism in Thailand
Tham Krabok uses traditional Buddhist methods to tackle addiction and reinforce long-term recovery

On the lower end of drug and alcohol rehabilitation lies Tham Krabok, a Buddhist temple located in the Phra Phutthabat district of Saraburi Province. The temple holds a rich history and is a prime tourist destination for history buffs, having served as a refuge to war soldiers, which is felt throughout its tranquil and majestic aesthetic. These days, Tham Krabok has garnered an international reputation for being one of the best, and least expensive, spots for drug and alcohol rehabilitation. It has treated over 100,000 addicts since 1959 and costs a mere 200 baht/ day, which is close to only $6 US. The main forms of treatment here entail meditation, detoxification and extreme tactics such as, induced vomiting.

The Breakdown

Although Thailand’s The Cabin Chiang Mai and Tham Krabok differ greatly in their accommodations and overall therapeutic methods, both of these rehabilitation centres have been highly successful in treating addicts in Thailand. Although the choice to enter one centre versus another stems from the disparity in rates, the kinds of treatments that work best with the personalities and characters of those seeking treatment is also a pertinent consideration, as they are both quite different. The types of addictions they are looking to treat also differs between the two, with The Cabin is known to treat drug, alcohol and gambling addictions, and Tham Krabok known for its treatment of opium and heroin addiction. Moreover, the treatments themselves differ substantially, with The Cabin offering a luxurious stay, incorporating a rigorous exercise program, and Tham Krabok relying on the traditional practices of Buddhist monks, from meditation, detoxification and use of herbs, for treatment. In any case, both the low and high ends of rehab centres in Thailand have their own unique spins on addiction treatment, offering a varied spectrum of options to choose from.

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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Pinoy Adventurista is one of the Top Travel Blogs in the Philippines and the World. In 2013, he visited all the 81 provinces in the Philippines.