For a program halfway around the world, DARA Thailand is surprisingly affordable—even counting in airfare. What’s even more surprising is that the low cost is definitely not reflected in the quality of treatment available. Between their Koh Chang and Chanthaburi locations (both in Thailand, for the uninitiated), DARA basically has it all; the only caveat is that residents will have to detox on their own before checking into what is essentially the Eden of rehabs.
Accommodations and Food
Housing at DARA is extremely flexible, and comes in tripartite payment plans for villas in both locations; in other words, each offers great, excellent and superlative living arrangements for a fee. From the most basic level up, each resident will have no roommates, no chores, queen-size beds, en-suite bathrooms, personal fridges, TV/DVD/WiFi hook-ups and AC (a necessity to combat the Thai humidity).
Koh Chang has 40 villas available, Chanthaburi 16. Thirty, 60 and 90 day stays are all available, as is a seven-day special introductory program for new clients only. Across the board, cell phones, laptops and electronics of all kinds are allowed—just not during active treatment. For the most part living at DARA is lenient, though infractions are swiftly and professionally dealt with. They’re a co-ed center and residents can mingle during the daytime; the genders must separate at night, and at 10pm everyone goes back to their rooms (though there’s no official “lights out”—once residents are in there, they can watch movies or read).
One of DARA’s real strong points is their gourmet cuisine. Private chefs prepare meals with plenty of local Thai flavor—expect spices, curries, coconut milk-based dishes and plenty of seafood (though non-Thai meals are prepared as well for those in need of American meals). Vegetarians will be at home here since there’s also a fruit and salad bar available with meals, and those in need of caffeine will rejoice that tea, soda and coffee are offered as well.
Treatment and Staff
As one might expect, no detox means that on-site medical staff is somewhat limited (though there is an onsite nurse available 24/7 for medication management). That aside, the staff at both locations are extensive enough for plenty of one-on-one counseling time, and both have addictionologists, counselors, personal trainers and specialty staff for alternative therapies.
DARA has a variety of treatment tracks. While days are still strictly structured between 7:30 am and 10 pm, there remains plenty of room for individualized treatment. They offer inpatient and outpatient, with inpatient available in their “Steps to Recovery” form offered at Chanthaburi (integrated with traditional 12-step recovery, though clients can forgo the 12-steps in other tracks, should they so choose). All programs offer one-on-one and group therapy sessions as well as CBT.
Where DARA really shines, though, is in their other modalities; there’s personal training, massage, yoga, diving, Tai Chi, acupuncture, ping pong, swimming (as both locations also have swimming pools) and off-site sober excursions—these in particular are sure to please. All are available in each treatment track, with the exception of the seven-day intro.
All in all, DARA offers international luxury combined with thorough, compassionate treatment—all at a price, at their lowest level, that’s competitive with in-country low-end rehab centers. The only sacrifice is a lack of on-site medical staff, though the services provided are still more than ample; a final bonus is that their online presence is unusually transparent in terms of pricing and general information—surely a boon for potential customers. Honestly, there seems little reason not to choose DARA if it can be afforded. Who said globetrotting can’t be part of recovery?
DARA Thailand Cost: $4,995 (for shared occupancy)-$13,990 (for single occupancy in pool villa or suite), per publishing date exchange rate (28 days). Reach DARA Thailand by phone at +1 8553 000 594. Find DARA Thailand on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube
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