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Glimpse into the mind of Phuket’s Row2Rio adventurer

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Glimpse into the mind of Phuket’s Row2Rio adventurer | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Australian head coach at Phuket’s Unit 27, Luke Richmond, sat down in an exclusive interview with the Phuket Gazette after completing a world-record setting rowboat journey from Portugal to Brazil.

Divided into three legs, Row2Rio honors the Olympics as the Olympic stadium moved from London to Rio de Janeiro. The test of endurance began with a cycling trek setting off from the Olympic Park in London to Lagos through France, Spain and Portugal. The second leg was the 3,400 mile row to Brazil, and then back in the saddle to cycle to Rio de Janeiro.

Mr Richmond – already in peak condition from incorporating a NeuroPhysics training program from Ken Ware into his weekly schedule of CrossFit, climbing and adventure training – was invited to join the Row2Rio challenge after one of the team members was struck with appendicitis just a few weeks from their scheduled departure at the end of February. Without hesitation, Mr Richmond jumped on a plane to meet with Susannah Cass from Ireland, Mel Parker from the UK, and Jake Heath, also from the UK.

After 3,400 miles and 55 days at sea the team landed 35 miles north of Recife, Brazil.

Gazette: In the past five years, you have climbed the biggest mountains on six continents, been held captive in West Papua and has endured many ‘suffer-fests’ on expeditions around the world. Why was this the toughest adventure so far?

Richmond: This was the toughest adventure so far simply due to the fact it was one continuous cycle. I have had tougher single days in the mountains, but being on a cycle of two hours work and two hour rest is a mental and physical test of endurance.

Gazette
: What ended up being the most difficult part?

Richmond: The most difficult part was the final two weeks. Our auto tiller had failed, so we were manually steering; we were encountering strong head winds – it was a brutal slog to stay on course.

Gazette: How has this extraordinary experience changed your outlook on life?

Richmond: This experience hasn’t changed my outlook on life at all – it has solidified it. I already believed that life is for living and have shaped my life around being able to drop everything a go on adventures just like this one. I took the call and a week later I was getting on a boat, that’s what life is about, not your job or mortgage.

Gazette: A total of 55 days is a lot of time with anyone. Were there ever any tense moments on the boat?

Richmond: Of course there were tense moments, I don’t think you can ever have four strangers thrown together and their not be. However, no matter what the issue was, it was always quickly resolved, and it was back to business as usual. It was too tough an ordeal to hold grudges; we had to work as a team to get the job done.

Gazette: How does it feel to set a world record? [Record, still to be confirmed, was for the ocean route pioneered by the mixed-gender rowing team.]

Richmond: The world record never really entered my mind, the journey itself gave me the biggest sense of achievement. The record would never be enough motivation to go through what we did you have to enjoy and cherish the hard times and the journey itself. But hey, it always looks great on the CV.

Gazette: Having never rowed a boat more than a few hundred meters before joining the Row2Rio adventure, Did anything in Phuket prepare you for what you for the undertaking?

Richmond: Phuket most definitely prepared me for this. I coach CrossFit at Unit 27 and our entire philosophy is to gain a fitness level that makes you ready for anything. This is achievable for everybody, it just takes hard work and some lifestyle changes. I was ready to row the Atlantic even though I didn’t train for that task specifically.

Gazette: The physical, mental and emotional toll of two hours working, two hours resting must have taken a massive toll on your body. By the end of the trip, how had your body changed?

Richmond: My poor body. I’ve lost 15 kilograms of body weight and have worn my body out to within and inch of breaking, but he got me through to the end.

Out on the ocean, we didn’t have time to recover. Now that I’m on shore, it is trying to repair and I’m in a fair amount of pain. It will be a long road back to full strength, but this is what life is about, not looking good and walking around in a gym, but putting your body and mind to the ultimate tests – that’s how we grow.

Gazette: What was the emotional impact of the journey?

Richmond: I had to keep some emotional control while out on the water, but once I hit land it all overtook me and I cried like a baby: all the pain, stress and hardship came out of me. Having my family at the finish was also amazing and we all had a little cry together.

Gazette: What made you decided to propose to your girlfriend from the middle of the Atlantic?

Richmond: Throughout the journey I was making a series of videos for the beautiful Elise, culminating in a marriage proposal from the middle of the Atlantic as I was being towed behind our boat on a rope like a human lure. I thought it would be an unique and beautiful way to go.

She said yes, so we are off to a flying start.

Gazette: The Row2Rio challenge was also to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. How much money did the Row2Rio team raise?

Richmond: So far, the Row2Rio team have raised close to 80,000 pounds. Once the adventure is finished, the boat will be put up for sale and that money too will be donated to Macmillan Cancer support. [Ms Cass, Ms Parker and Mr Heath have the final cycling leg of the journey still to complete.]

Gazette: Will you be coming to back to Phuket?

Richmond: I’m definitely coming back to Phuket, we are upgrading our entire Unit27 CrossFit Phuket facility and I’ll be running the show throughout the coming high season.

Gazette: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Richmond: That’s about it mate. Just want to give a big ‘thank you’ to all my supporters in Phuket. I hope I see you all for training at the Unit in the high season.

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket

Donna Toon

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Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | The Thaiger

One of the best things about living in Asia, and in particular Thailand, is the abundance of fabulous places to have spa treatments. From the true local experience on the beach, to the ultra chic five star luxury treatments here is, in no particular order, our Top Ten Phuket Spa Experiences.

1. Let’s Relax (Boat Lagoon)

Let’s Relax’s latest addition to their Thailand spa portfolio is located in the residential area of Boat Lagoon in Koh Kaew and by accounts a winner in our books! It is a beautiful space with the natural light also bringing a sense of calm as you walk down the long entrance. With multiple treatment rooms as well as a well appointed foot massage space that can accommodate a large gaggle of girls it is has become popular very quickly with the local ladies.

Being brand new it also is a treat to sit in lush white comfy chairs while having your foot massage and a chat to your girlfriend or boyfriend. Priced on the lower end of the market, but higher than the local spas on the side of the street and well worth the extra baht, Let’s Relax is fabulous new addition to the flooded spa market.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

2. Oasis Spa (Kamala)

Oasis Spa Group has a few little gems around the island including one in Laguna and also another great one on the beach road in Kamala, however this hidden sanctuary located on the back roads in Kamala is our pick of the bunch. From the main street you would never know there is a tranquil ten treatment room spa and delightful pool setting behind the single wooden door. With an impressive and consistent list of treatments, positioned above the street-side prices but below the five star offerings, Oasis Spa is wonderful place to pamper away your day.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

3. Kata Rocks Infinite Luxury Spa

Winning the World’s Luxury Spa Awards for 2015, 2016 and 2017 we couldn’t put together a top ten spa list without including the very modern and chic Infinite Luxury Spa at Kata Rocks.

The spa blends the beyond organic philosophy of ILA spa products with its own “Me Time” philosophy, the latest spa massage technology in its eight luxury treatment rooms and suites, each designed around specific treatments. This includes two rooms for couples complete with luxurious his and her bathtubs, a chromotherapy room for coloured light therapy, a waterbed room equipped with Italian-made Iso-Benessere, a water massage bed for aiding spinal integration, a sleeping pod room with Metronap rest pod, traditional Thai spa massage treatment room, consultation and treatment room, pedicure and manicure treatment room and a contemporary tropical relaxation patio for after treatment chill down.

Positioned in the very high end of the spa market, Infinite Luxury Spa is an impressive and fabulous space to spend your day, worth every baht!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

4. 4th Floor Central Festival Phuket

‘It’s not a very accurate location’ I hear you say, but I love this spa, and whenever I am at Central I always try and allow at least 60 minutes extra to escape the crowds and enjoy a foot massage while reading my book. Located on the top floor of Central on the left hand side as you head towards Central Department Store (sort of above McDonalds), it’s hard to miss it but the staff are always outside greeting you and encouraging you to come in and take a load off. Priced perfectly at 300 baht for a 60 minute foot massage (plus tip of course), the experience is consistent and friendly. Full body treatments are also available behind the traditional curtain.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

5. Amatara Wellness Resort

Located at the very South of Phuket at Cape Panwa, Amatara Wellness Resort as the names suggests has an incredible spa perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea. One of the largest spas in Asia with over 2000 square metres of dedicated spa bliss, paralleled by the extensive menu and holistic and wellness packages, it really is an experience not to be missed.

Amatara has also just opened a new spa wellness experience, the exquisitely designed Thai Hammam brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with the wisdom and gentleness of Thai spa therapies. Soak your worries away.

Make a whole day of it, indulge in their fabulous Sunday Brunch and then move through to the spa! Perfection!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

6. Banyan Tree Spa

A market leader for many years not only in Phuket but around the world, Banyan Tree is has provided us with professional and impressive spas for decades. Banyan Tree Phuket Spa with it’s impressive 24 treatment rooms hidden in lush surroundings within the gardens of the resort has well trained and dedicated therapist giving you the ultimate in spa experiences. The attention to detail which is synonymous with the spa philosophy of the group together with the consistency and surroundings makes it one of the best spa experiences certainly in Thailand. I can highly recommend the three hour Royal Banyan package, which included a cucumber and coriander scrub, Banyan Tree herbal pouch massage, jade chilled facial and flower bath. My girlfriends and I indulged just last week, and it was such a treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

7. Beach Shack next to Dream Beach Club on Layan Beach

We are creatures of habit in our house, we have been in Phuket for ten years now and when we like something we tend to go back regularly. Sunday’s are for chilling and we tend to either head to brunch or down to the local beach at Layan, away from the larger more commercial eateries and clubs we like eating and massaging with the locals.

Purely bang for your buck, the full body oil massages on the beach for 300 – 400 baht are an absolute must. I would love to say head to “Phung’s Massage Shack” next to Dream Beach Club but to be honest it doesn’t have a name but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get a mention and make our list. Head to the top end of Layan and facing the beach next to Dream go left, it’s worth the trip!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

8. JW Marriott Mai Khao Spa

Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is an oasis within an oasis, the resort itself sits on 27 acres of lush gardens and beach side bliss just North of the airport in Mai Khao. Within it’s tropical gardens is the king pin for many years on the island Mandara Spa, its an icon in the local spa industry.

Tranquil, exotic and extremely relaxing, the Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa features a full service beauty salon, separate steam rooms for male and female guests, five double luxurious spa suites and eleven double deluxe rooms. The spa suites are well fitted out, with some enjoying outdoor bathrooms, but the most impressive aspect of the spa itself is the staff. They are incredibly well trained, and efficient in their craft, professional yet approachable and deliver every time.

The JW Marriott Wellness Retreat (bi yearly) is a highlight every year in my calendar, hosted and facilitated by Linda and her team, as well as the best wellness experts on the island, including Hayden Rhodes, Kim White and Andrew Stanndard. The four day program has informative workshops, wellness consultations, spa treatments, healthy meals, hands on activities, yoga, cooking classes and so much more.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

9. Atmanjai Wellness Retreat

Located on the South of the island just past Chalong circle Atmanjai Wellness Retreat at Friendship Beach offers a friendly and relaxed haven where guests can participate in detox, yoga or wellness programs that help restore your vitality, happiness and health. The cute bungalows located around the pool and on the beach side are a perfect excuse to indulge just a little further and stay on location while doing your retreats.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

10. Coqoon Spa at The Slate

Unlike anything else in Phuket, Coqoon Spa at The Slate is tranquil and idyllic space nestled in the lush green trees of the resort. It has a “cocoon” tree house made from bamboo and other natural products located high off the ground in true robinson crusoe style. Being in the trees is a unique experience matched perfectly with the highly trained and efficient practitioners. Subtle touches throughout the spa together with the extensive well thought out menu make Coqoon a special occasion treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns”

The Thaiger

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Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns” | The Thaiger

“Though most famous for its beaches, the Thai island of Phuket offers ample opportunities for cultural immersion as well.”

Phuket’s Old Town was listed as one of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns by CNN Travel.

The article mentioned, that whilst the island is renowned for its world-class beaches and leisure, offshore and adventure tourism activities, Phuket Town delivers on romance, history and cultural beauty in the island’s main commercial centre.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the article correctly highlighted Phuket’s cultural diversity and history; things that are often eclipsed by its beaches and Patong nightlife.

“Phuket Town retain its charm and unique identity that comes from the influence of the Baba-Peranakan culture, which started when Chinese families migrated to Phuket. We are seeing more fully independent tourists with discretionary spending power who want the unique experiences that Phuket Town is rich in.”

The pocket-sized town welcomes a large number of foreign tourists each year, a significant number of who come from China and are interested in exploring the area and its Chinese influences.

“The historic old quarter of Phuket Town, located in the centre of the island, is lined with Sino-Colonial style shop houses, built during the island’s tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19thcenturies.

“There are plenty of hip shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, including the batik shops along Thalang Road run by ethnic Malays and Indians. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions, cultural museums and a nunnery.”

CNN also recommended that one of the best ways to soak up Phuket Town’s rich culture and bohemian atmosphere was to find a local company that specialises in walking tours of the Old Town.

In addition, CNN noted that Phuket Town is where travellers can indulge in some of the island’s best restaurants, ideal for those visitors who have had their fill of the same old tourist fare served in beach areas. Top picks according to CNN include Southern Thai specialist Raya, Tantitium and One Chun.

SOURCE: TAT News

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

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