Share in Zoe Macfarlane’s sweat, sweat, and tears as she trades her daily Haigh’s chocolate habit for a healthier lifestyle on retreat in Phuket, Thailand.

I’ve never thought a fitcation was for me. Running around in Lycra on a beach I’d usually be lounging on. Combining the sweat of tropical temperatures with boxing or hot yoga. Waking up (instead of getting home) at 5am to hike a bloody great hill.

But here I am, on a seven-night detox-meets-boot-camp-meets-everything retreat at Phuket Cleanse in Southern Phuket.


Equatorial Equilibrium


Nai Harn beach at sunset.

Phuket Cleanse is in Rawai, in the sleepy south of Phuket. The beautiful grounds offer a collection of stunning villas and gardens with a nod to the local culture dotted throughout. The intimacy here provides both privacy nooks to escape to, as well as plenty of areas to socialise in.


Action-Packed Agenda


Muay Thai training with Thai champions is the most (sweaty) fun!

My greeter, Chloe, hands me the weekly timetable. It’s so jam-packed I’m tempted to lie down after reading. If you’re so inclined (not reclined), you can schedule activities from 5:45am through to 9pm, when guests usually add-on one of four free weekly massages (yup, free!).

The activities at Phuket Cleanse can be broken down into three categories. Group fitness classes like Muay Thai boxing and strength training are lead by instructors so fun you forget you’re working out (kinda). For de-stressing, the mindfulness sessions are a must. There are also daily talks and free coaching to give you the skills to integrate everything back home. Balance, owner Melanie Procter tells me, is the key to getting the most out of your stay.


Getting Juicy


Delectable Plant-based Cuisine at Phuket Cleanse.

In my program consult, I’m encouraged to kickstart my stay with a juice cleanse. I’ve already spied the delicious plant-based cuisine so I’m not sure I can be convinced. Do I want to give up Korean and Caribbean themed meals for a green juice? I remember the recent chocolate binging and split my stay; half juice, half delicious ethnic cuisine.


Buffet Buddies


Whether you’re chewing or not, meal times are communal and it’s a highlight to meet like-minded people who are relaxed, supportive, and engaging, no matter your goals. I thought a fitness retreat would attract young, fit (and probably hot) millennials but the ages during my stay ranged from early 20s to late 60s. The return rate is a whopping 70%.


Put Your Wallet Away


Literally chilling in the recovery ice bath (coconut water, not cocktail).

Phuket Cleanse is all-inclusive. I found out how all-inclusive when I accidentally locked away my valuables in my room safe with the last guests’ code. Oops. I didn’t need to get it sorted for six days as everything – including training, reflexology, group healing sessions, and even daily laundry – is included.


Monkey Mind Makeover


Rewarded with this view on the 5_45am Big Buddha hike.

While losing my Haigh’s-inspired chubby midriff was my initial aim, the approach to mindfulness provided the biggest relief. With twice-daily meditations on offer, there is a style for every monkey mind, even mine. I even shifted some old tension via active breathwork, sound healing and additional healing sessions.


First Rate


Weekly excursions are on the schedule, including an island boat trip.

According to TripAdvisor, Phuket Cleanse is Asia’s number one wellness retreat with reviews filled with stories of transformation and love for the team. By my departure, this resonates. Here, I have tackled workouts I never dreamed possible and I leave feeling stronger, ready for a world without Haigh’s. Zoe 2.0.


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Have you done a cleanse in Phuket?