We Aussies can turn anything and everything into an overseas trip – even a stint in rehab…
First it was medical tourism drawing us overseas, in search of cheaper facelifts, breast implants or dental treatment. Now we have “rehab tourism”, in which travellers can combine a stint in a drug and alcohol treatment facility with elephant rides, cooking classes and white-water rafting.
The Cabin Chiang Mai, which is a drug and alcohol treatment facility in northern Thailand, says its services are becoming increasingly popular with Australians, who make up a third of its guests. The cabin says that lower operating costs allow it to offer treatment at a “third of the price of Australian rehabilitation clinics” and Aussies are staying at a rate of eight to 10 a month.
Fitness therapy and excursions are considered part of the treatment and these can include anything from cooking classes and elephant trekking to mountain biking and white-water rafting — although the staff are quick to say it is “far from being a holiday”.
Resident psychologist Cameron Brown says the cabin’s Australian guests come from all walks of life. The resort’s location gives guests anonymity while getting them far away from their usual routine and addiction triggers.
This article is an excerpt from Jane E. Fraser’s weekly travel column in The Sun Herald, Sydney.