Rehab for foreigners -Thailand’s latest tourism trend

Krabi is home to many of Thailand's most iconic tourist destinations, including Railay Bay (pictured)
Railay Bay, Krabi, Thailand

Thailand is now marketing itself as a tropical paradise for junkies.

The Southeast Asian destination has attracted more than 200 million visitors for the last 10 years. Over recent years, Thailand has become one of the world’s top medical tourism destinations due to the rise of cosmetic surgeries and reasonably priced medical options.

Now, the country is promoting itself as a prime destination for recovering addicts because of its warm climate and relatively cheap food and lodging.

The addiction epidemic in first world countries like the United States and Australia has created extremely long waiting lists on rehab centres.

The addiction epidemic in first world countries like the United States and Australia has created extremely long waiting lists on rehab centres in their countries. In comes Thailand’s rehab centres that have become a low-cost option.

Thailand offers a variety of rehab centres and services. The country’s temples are offering rehab services. The Thamkrabok Temple, or Wat Thamkrabok in Thai, is popular for its 15-day drug rehabilitation program that is offered for free.

Thamkrabok Temple

Patients will work under monks and nuns taking temple’s homemade medicines and completing assigned chores and will vow never to do drugs again. The monastery has attracted so much attention for its remedies that more foreigners are seeking out treatment.

Other rehab centres are in lush resorts. The Cabin has 120 residences and equipped with private pools, al fresco dining areas, gyms and clinics with mountain views. The Cabin charges US$15,900 for a month’s stay.

“Most of our clients come from overseas,” said Adrian Crump, chairman of The Cabin Addiction Services Group, Thailand’s largest Western-style luxury rehabilitation centre.

Lanna Rehab is an exclusive luxury rehab facility located behind large rice paddies. The owners of the 24-bed facility greet their clients by name and ask about their progress as they walk out of their morning group therapy session.

This new tourism sector has a bit of irony since Thailand is one of the hubs of illegal drugs in Southeast Asia. Due to the prevalence of drugs in the country, cops conduct impromptu searches and thousands of foreigners are in Thai prisons for drug charges.

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