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Pure but not so simple

De-tox then re-tox... model turned presenter Lisa Snowdon has all bases covered on Koh Samui

Koh Samui today looks every inch the polished holiday destination. Manicured white beaches overlook stunning 21st century hotels, boasting a growing number of top-rated restaurants and exclusive clubs.

The island's roads, however, have more of the 19th century about them - progress from the airport to your resort can be sluggish to say the least. But then it was only in the 1970s that the first road was built. Before that, Samui lived off farming and fishing and crossing the island via the densely-thicketed highlands used to take the best part of a day for what is now only a 15-mile journey.

I've been back to Samui quite a few times since my first visit 20 years ago, when I stopped off after living and working in Japan as a model. I love going to Kamalaya, a spa resort offering detox, yoga, fitness and weight control. It's built around a cave once used by Buddhists as a spiritual retreat.


Private pool villas at Kamalaya Koh Samui


There are plenty of things to do and see on the island, but once I've checked in, I tend to stay put. Everything you need to enjoy the perfect break is right there. If I can visit the spa every day and have lots of rejuvenating treatments, I'm as happy as a clam.

I eat modestly - no animal products and lots of fruit and vegetables. But I don't go hungry - I make sure I dine very well.

My strict regime also means that I drink no alcohol and no tea or coffee. It makes me feel really good and sets me up for the next six months.


Accent on wellness at Kamalaya


I would like to pretend that my diet is as rigid back home. But I must confess that when I'm presenting the Capital Radio Breakfast Show, I rely on a little coffee kick in the morning and succumb to the odd croissant.

My favourite meal at Kamalaya is a big 'detox broth'; green soup with sesame and a mild flavour of seaweed, with loads of vegetables that have been double-boiled.

At dinner you can sit at a communal table and chat to lots of different people.

But no-one minds if you prefer to sit on your own and read a book.

It's not compulsory to follow a weight loss plan or be there for a detox. I choose to follow a healthy plan because I enjoy the results. I'm weighed at the start and end of my visit. They've kept my records over the years - and I'm pleased to say that my body fat ratio has improved over the years, which amazes me.


Peace by the pool at Akaryn Samui Resort


On this trip, after leaving Kamalaya I was joined by two friends for a stay at the Akaryn, a new stylish hotel which was quite a different sort of experience. The girls and I liked the swim-up bar, and we had fun drinking cocktails in the pool. The resort also had a great steak restaurant and fabulous pizzas. In a way, I was re-toxing after the detox week at Kamalaya!

However, there were also really healthy dishes on the menu, including a lot of fish.

One day we visited the famous Fisherman's Village, basically a long street with a range of stalls and restaurants. After shopping we went to a cool little restaurant called Starfish and Coffee, quirky and fun.


The spiritual retreat of Kamalaya offers a sense of peace and tranquility


Another night we went to Chaweng, a popular beach area - with nightlife including some rather risque shows. But mostly our night-time entertainment was swimming in our pool, so private we could have our own little parties.

In the morning, I'd get up with the sun and have a walk on the beach and a swim before breakfast - before a yoga session in the shade of an oak tree.


First published in March 2015

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