Dara Thailand Reviews, Cost, Complaints

DARA Thailand


DARA ThailandDARA Thailand Review

For residential treatment 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. 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; offering great, excellent and superlative living arrangements for a fee. From the most basic level up, each resident has 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 32 villas. 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 10 pm 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 can feel at home here since there’s also a fruit and salad bar available with meals, and those in need of caffeine can 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 on-site nurse available 24/7 for medication management). That aside, the staff 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. The inpatient program offers one-on-one and group sessions and all therapy is CBT-oriented.


Where DARA really shines, though, is in its other modalities; there’s personal training, massage, yoga, diving, acupuncture, ping pong, swimming and off-site sober excursions. All are available in each treatment track, with the exception of the seven-day intro.

In Summary

All in all, DARA offers international luxury combined with thorough, compassionate treatment—all at a price, at its 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 DARA’s 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 Location

113 Moo 1, Koh Chang Tai
Ko Chang District, 23170, Thailand

DARA Thailand Cost

$6,995 USD (30 days). Reach DARA Thailand by phone from the US at (855) 300-0594 and from anywhere else at +66 8 7140 7788Find DARA Thailand on its websiteFacebook, Twitter and YouTube

Do you have a complaint or review of DARA Thailand to add? Use the comments area below to add your DARA Thailand review.



  1. Martin Peters on

    Anonymous – I find your question quite strange given you have had regular updates throughout your husbands so far brief stay, and that he has been seen by our Psychiatrist, he has been on a high level of observation (since arrival) and you have spoken with me personally over the phone on a number of occasions , daily. You also should have been aware that I as the Program Director spent several hours with your husband that night 23.00 – 01.00hrs, when you posted this. You also know that he has an active organic delirium which has been diagnosed and is currently being treated. There is to my knowledge no selling of alcohol within the facility or parties within the pool. There is 24 hour security, nursing and on-call therapy stay overnight. Feel free to drop me an email

  2. I am totally dissatisfied with Dara; my son was a patient there for a few days, but was thrown out because he had sex with a girl; ok, I understand that this was against the rules, but throwing a sick patient out of the clinic without noticing the family is totally outrageous; they could have kept him there for another 24h and I could have gotten there to take him; but no…they just thrown him out like a dog and I only found out about this 2 days later… if this is the way they treat sick patients…

    • Martin Peters on

      We have specific rules in place to protect all clients, and ensure that the centre remains safe. These are pretty much universal rules in all Rehabs and are enforced, these are made very clear on arrival for clients who sign to agree on these rules. We generally work with clients rule breaking, however, we do have zero tolerance on sexual activity, violence, aggression, drug and alcohol taking and discrimination.

  3. I recently completed 4 weeks at DARA and highly recommend its approach to rehabilitation. I haven’t been to rehab before so I don’t have a benchmark but my experience at DARA was nothing but positive. It is a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) based program, not 12 steps based which was my preference.

    The environment is resort style with beautiful surrounds, swimming pool and ocean access at set times for organised ocean swims. The villas are very clean and serviced daily with fresh towels etc. It really feels like a hotel / resort setting. The security staff protect our safety and confidentiality is of primary importance at DARA.

    The holistic approach to healing is amazing – 1-1 counselling, group sessions, meditation, flexibility, water workouts, PT sessions, massages, weekend excursions and delicious food served 3 times a day. The staff work very hard to make sure people get the most out of their time at DARA. The program includes phase work specific to the individual which I found extremely enlightening and insightful. I learned more about myself in 4 weeks, than I did in the previous 4 years. I highly recommend DARA.

    • My husband is currently in Dara and i get these frightening calls from him where he says alcohol is being sold right behind his room and there are parties going on by the pool with loud music etc. He says they dont have full time hospital and depend on on-call doctors etc. Given that you have stayed in Dara, do you think this is a withdrawl symptom that he is seeing things?

      • Martin Peters on

        Anonymous – I find your question quite strange given you have had regular updates throughout your husbands so far brief stay, and that he has been seen by our Psychiatrist, he has been on a high level of observation (since arrival) and you have spoken with me personally over the phone on a number of occasions , daily. You also should have been aware that I as the Program Director spent several hours with your husband that night 23.00 – 01.00hrs, when you posted this. You also know that he has an active organic delirium which has been diagnosed and is currently being treated. There is to my knowledge no selling of alcohol within the facility or parties within the pool. There is 24 hour security, nursing and on-call therapy stay overnight. Feel free to drop me an email

  4. I relapsed twice over the past 7 months, having previously enjoyed 15 years of sobriety free of alcohol (my only dependency challenge), after bumping along between increasingly long sober patches and relapses during four decades. The first relapse I neither fully thought through nor took seriously enough, although I did take some remedial steps.

    The second advised me inconveniently that something more basic was at play undermining my sobriety. And I realized, with the help of friends, that I needed to delve into the state of mind and heart that was predisposing me again to drink. In that sense, my relapses may well have been a “cry for help”, including a greater effort at self-help.

    So I started investigating programs that might help me. I was looking for a refresher course rather than a full-duration (4-5 week) cycle of programming. I had experienced several rehab and equivalent programs, good, bad and ugly (the latter, a semi-Nazi boot camp approach, which surely did not inspire sobriety in any of its clients, appealing to fear and loathing rather than to reason and emotional exploration).

    After considerable research (I was by then several days sober) by friends and myself, I zeroed in on two programs in Thailand, both with excellent overall reputations. Either would probably have done a very good job, but my MD thought that the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) approach of the Dara Rehab program might suit me best. My research zeroed in on Thailand for several reasons: in my case, proximity; the financial costs relative to those of programs elsewhere; availability of places for immediate admission; and the apparent seriousness of the program (from comments available on-line and from several professionals I consulted).

    My MD’s advice proved inspired. I spent ten days with Dara (one night of well-organized “intake” in Bangkok, and 9 days at the Koh Chang rehab center). There, the other “clients” proved a diverse lot hailing mainly from the Australia, New Zealand and the UK, with a few others thrown in. The staff was overwhelmingly quite young, highly motivated and disposed to treat clients as individuals rather than raw material for a cookie-cutter approach. Importantly they “shared” in the very frequent and well-managed group sessions along-side the clients.

    The schedule was a busy one, with at least three and sometimes four group sessions a days interspersed with sports, therapeutic sessions and some (but not very much) time for relaxation. Weekends are looser (including several well-chosen excursions) and a welcome break after agreeably intense schedules during the week.

    I had thought that one-on-one therapy would work best for me, as it had in the past, and, indeed, was assigned an excellent, highly intuitive counselor who ably shifted gears to meet me half-way in what were very helpful bilateral sessions. The surprise for me was that the group meetings were at least as important to my ability and motivation to develop a fairly detailed program of change in my professional and personal life, not least adapting more willingly to the reality of advancing years, and reflecting this both in my work and private lives. This program of change I am already beginning to implement.

    I was highly satisfied by the outcome, and emerged admiring both the program itself and the team. Need I add that even though many of us clients had not so much in common with each other, I came to like the others very much, in the atmosphere conducive to comity fostered by the Dara team rather than to one of petty-minded calculations and feuds (a pit-fall in many group settings).
    A word about Dara and AA. In earlier treatment centers, I discovered that while aspects of AA were helpful to me, others were not. So a mix of AA-derived (or cultivated) principles and CBT worked best for me. The religious zeal brought to bear by some devotees on their practice of AA, the semi-coercive tone that creeps in at times (against the philosophy of the founders) and the difficulty at times of finding a group essentially sympathetic to one’s personality, has tended, over time, to undermine the reputation of AA, although the economy of means upon which it rests is admirable under any circumstances. Dara got the mix just right, with more emphasis on CBT but with key themes and lessons of AA overlapping helpfully. Thus, those moving on from Dara should be able to find comfort and help in a sympathetic AA group nearby.

    In brief, an excellent experience, and a very helpful one for me.

    • Paul Thomas-Barnes on

      What a truly insightful and descriptive narration. Informative and very helpful. Written with such clarity. Thank you very much :))

  5. Very welcoming place with a beautiful view. All the staff were very helpful and supportive: the counselors, house keeping, kitchen staff, everyone extremely friendly, professional and helpful. Good value for money. Paul’s PT was amazing, he is Dara’s rock! I would highly recommend Dara’s highly supportive programme to others. In fact, I already passed this information to a close friend.

  6. Janice Stringer on

    As a new member of the clinical team at Dara, I am already impressed with how the resort works hard to create a sustainable, respectful and calm rehabilitation experience, whilst nestled within the heart of the Koh Chang island community.
    DARA engages clients to participate within all elements of its program: this includes one to one counselling, medical support for individual addiction needs and finding ways to create wellbeing. It encourages the exploration of each persons life and environmental experiences, which have thrust clients into a downward spiral, inviting chaos, which eventually explodes into crisis.
    DARA delivers an interesting, stimulating and growth promoting educational supplement, as an integral part of the rehabilitation process.
    I have already noticed there is a huge commitment to each client, complimented by a high level of professionalism within its lush tropical location.
    DARA employs international specialists who are committed to providing an excellent, viable, clinical & stable service, combined with a local workforce to ensure the balance of needs is met for each client.

    Through each step of my process, from initially applying to DARA to become part of its clinical team, being interviewed by the warm and passionate Clinical Director Dr Jocelyn Mercado, I’ve encountered a consistent and constant level of enthusiasm, interest and care from my colleagues, only normally experienced after a significant period of time. I think this demonstrates the serious manner in which this organisation understands its ethical and moral obligation, not just to the client but also its staff.
    DARA totally gets its ‘duty of care’ and I feel fortunate at being given this opportunity to be part of it and meet with and assist so many eclectic clients from various locations around the world!

  7. Hello,

    If you are reading this I assume you are looking to seek help, I write this review for those serious about getting rid of addiction and bettering their lives. It’s damn hard, 2 months out of DARA and problems, triggers and reality will hit but I tell you this about DARA – to spend time in the middle of a beautiful island, access to fitness training, thai boxing, group sessions, education sessions, counselling and nutrition is a privilege very few get in their life time. I used the 28 days to the fullest and feel the benefits of it today, I am in good place, healthy and focused. Huge thanks to the team! Iva, Niek, Sajji, Ketan and all.

    No one will “save” you, that is your job, and yes there are many other rehabs out there (3x or 10x the price), think about what you need and make your choice. But number 1, like Kristi said – what YOU put in, is what YOU will get out. I have so many memories and will cherish them for life, I met incredible people with humbling stories and found the healing I needed and skills I needed to stay clean.

    I wish you luck in your journey – it’s possible, just stay focused on your goals and what matters to you in your life.

  8. This place is horrible if you are truly trying to recover. The staff will fuck with you until you can’t handle it anymore, I, personally was singled out by every one of the staff members. I powered through it and worked the program but frankly, I didn’t learn very much at all. None of the staff have ever had any drug addictions of any sort, so how the fuck are they supposed to relate to you? Everything is out of a damn book. Everything they teach you is all from a fucking book. They can’t relate to you in any sort of way, the counselors are alright to talk to but still, fuck them too. The main woman that deals with everything, Iva, is the biggest bigheaded bitch you will ever meet. She will be sweet to you but will be constantly picking on you in her own “kind” way. I see right through her.
    Overall, I would not recommend DARA to any one of my friends. I already feel like relapsing just because of the abuse I’ve taken from all the staff.
    Would NOT recommend.

    • Kristi Rook on

      It saddens me to read Natasha’s review. Sorry she felt that way but after all whatever you put into rehab is most probably what you are going to get out of it. I spent 3 months at DARA and it absolutely changed me & saved my life. The environment is enchanting, the staff are well-trained professionals who implement their knowledge in a holistic approach and the care they provide is appropriate for alcoholics and addicts in recovery. If you are determined to overcome your addictions I would highly recommend DARA Thailand to my friends and loved ones who are looking for a way to heal themselves. The care provided is over the top and I feel blessed to have had the chance to stay on Koh Chang in order to better my life… Thank you DARA family; I’ll be sure to visit!

    • You have a point. Why on Earth should there be a rehab where none of the staff are personally in recovery? Would you buy a Honda at a dealership where all the employees drive Nissan? I guess it shows they like money from addicts, but don;t really value recovering people.

  9. Waste of time & money! Counsellors are clueless and could smell alcohol on them in the morning. Most nights at least one of the people there walked down to the village for some drinks and to visit the chemist 10 minutes from the place. If you want to keep taking drugs and don’t feel like walking to the village I am sure one of the other people there will take you order I was offered daily 1 of the staff even asked if he could come to my room at night I ran from this place

    • Dear Reader,

      I am a client here at Dara writing this message now and not after my departure as i could not understand nor believe that such a thing could be written about the place, programme and the people who have saved my life!

      Everyone here is a professional and i have never in the past 26 days seen anything related to the statements that have been mentioned in the comment on the 9th of June. All the counselors, cleaners, instructors, nurses and volunteers are highly professional and to suggest otherwise is offensive!

      To the Dara family: please note that you have provided me with a life experience that has not only saved my life but also made me go through a life changing journey. A journey where i have found my true inner being and strong tools that will keep me away from my substance addiction.

      I am departing here in the next couple of days with the strength needed to face the real world and to live a happy and healthy life.

      I truly believe that i couldn’t have done this without you all.

      To the family and friends that i am leaving behind at Dara, i would like to wish you all the best of luck in your recovery journey.

      Lots of love,


  10. Fantastic program, massive improvement over five years ago. A golden second chance on my life. Thank you!

  11. A great place with people who really care about you. This has really made a difference for me especially working with my counselor Niek who walked me through the whole way in a kind and professional way.

  12. DARA is great! Loved my time here and most importantly achieved what I came there for. Raymond was very attentive and resourceful to my needs. All staff are exceptionally well trained in their respective areas.


  13. Not sure where all this negativity comes from, but i loved my stay in DARA KohChang. Dont see why anyone would need to lie about their experience in such a successful rehab. I spent two months there end of last year and i can honestly say that they saved my life. Especially Ham, my personal trainer who taught me how to channel my frustrations into my workout. Not only did DARA allowed me to get clean, it showed me how to lead a healthier life. Koh Chang being on an island provided spectacular seaviews and a truly serene and calm place to be. My room had air-con issues, but that is nothing that a fan could not fix. I am now back in Houston, but i will surely make it my goal to visit Koh Chang any chance i get, that place means a lot to me now.

  14. *****READ THIS – I would suggest everyone to scroll all the way down. Most of these reviews came up just to push down the negative reviews. They even have poems that are written in length to push down the reviews. Check it out yourself and you’ll know that they are one helluva devious group of people. Sweep anything that goes wrong right under the carpet! The main problem – Snow Man is still there (He runs the place)

  15. I am from the United States and my son Chris was suffering from Opiate abuse. He had previously attempted to receive help at various rehabs in the United States but unfortunately was unsuccessful. When he felt as though he was ready to try again, he and his girlfriend looked into different options outside of the United States for various reasons. First and foremost the cost for any rehab comparable to Dara in the US is astronomical, and second, most of the programs that were affordable did not fit his needs or had a long waiting list. After much research they decided that Dara Rebab in Thailand appealed to him. The different approaches as well as the diverse programs seemed interesting and challenging. When the idea was presented to me (his mom) I was totally apprehensive.

    The thought of sending my 25 year old my son to Thailand was terrifying to me on so many different levels! The fear of the unknown always is. I called and addressed these concerns and questions to TJ, the Senior Intake Coordinator. She was so totally understanding of my apprehension and took the time to answer all my questions and then some. The fact that she herself is from the US was also reassuring and supportive. I believe I called her many times following that initial phone call, and never once did I feel like I was a bother or asking questions that were “silly”. I also had the opportunity to speak with TJ’s assistant Maria who was equally as professional and helpful. I cant say enough about the administration personnel, they never made me feel pressured and they were exceptionally helpful. I was ALWAYS able to reach either one of them at any time day or night (which was very challenging being the time difference was 13 hours). Everything ran smooth from the time Chris was picked up at the airport and transferred to his destination for his stay at Dara, to his exit. Their ability to counsel and change with the situation at hand was done without making anyone feel uncomfortable or troublesome. The counseling he received was equally remarkable, Since Chris has been home, his counselor Robin has reached out to him (and me) with concerns for him and offered Skype sessions if needed.

    I could go on and on but the bottom line is that I would highly recommend Dara. As anyone who has an issue of substance abuse knows, the decision of going to rehab is a very delicate and freighting one. I feel that Dara rehab was able to make these issues run smooth with the clients best interest in mind. The words genuine and caring come to mind when I think of the Dara Rehab experience my son was given. I am pleased to say that since Chris completed Dara’s program for substance abuse approximately two months ago, he is still substance free. My hopes and prayers are he will remain substance fee as we all know this is a day to day struggle that will be with him forever. I will always be thankful to Dara for all of their help and support they gave to not only Chris, but also to my family. God Bless Them!


  16. DARA has agreed to give me back 65% of my money and I have accepted that deal. Again I have nothing bad to say about the staff or the facility.

  17. Well, I never got any other answer and no refund which was promised in the meeting before I left. They got my money and that’s it. I sent them a letter from a neurologist explaining my situation and they said it didn’t matter. I would think that people in the business to supposedly help other people would be kind enough to know that what has happened does not help me or them. A real shame the world has come to this.

  18. I went to Dara late Friday, 24th September and arrived at the recommended hotel which was right behind their facility which TJ, the sales lady said was very reasonable priced. I had been prescribed codeine for my motorcycle accident, and clonazepam from a neurologist for my post-concussion syndrome. I also am a drinker but do not have any liver problems etc. As I live in Thailand I drove there. She said it would not be crowded and I would get a discount because of their relationship with them. The hotel was not cheap and was almost full.
    First day was nothing, just hanging around and watching people smoke, ashtrays all over filled to the brim and even smoking at the pool which is not allowed. Hardly slept as expected but we were supposed to be on “Lockdown” from 10pm till whenever in the morning.
    Food was standard Thai food, and I asked in Thai if it had MSG in it and as usual said no, but I didn’t believe them, because when I had some Tom Yung Gung my throat constricted. I asked the Indian counselor 29 yr old Ketan if it had MSG but he didn’t know and said he would ask the physical trainer, but I never got an answer.
    As I have had a concussion and suffer from “Post-Concussion Syndrome” I was not sure if this effort to get cleaned up or healthier, in this environment was right for me. Well it wasn’t. The gang from London and Australia, who were most of the ten or so people there in Chantaburi, nice fellows, were like hanging around with a rugby team, very noisy and I really could not understand most of what they were saying. Part of post-concussion syndrome is that it is quite difficult to be in noisy environments. Malls etc. So the first day a Saturday was really just walking around after the brief sales pitch was done I was on my own.
    The second day I was assessed by a Philippine nurse who was quite gentle and kind. But she had never heard of the “Ashton Manual” for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, which really surprised me. I explained about my situation and that a top neurologist from South Africa had prescribed me Clonazepam and said to have a few drinks every day was ok. I really wanted to be completely clean of all drugs but I really wasn’t sure if I ever could be at almost 62 years old and the previous motorcycle and bicycle accidents I have had in the last three years.
    Next day, we all met up for an hour in a dark room and Ketan said, we are going to play a game which I have never played before. They called me to draw some picture of something but I apparently didn’t do it right, and they were all screaming and arguing about the rules of the game. I left the room and decided I couldn’t take the intensity of the entire place. I wasn’t sure who was in charge of what at this place as they were also smoking at the swimming pool which was not allowed.
    I had a pleasant discussion with Nadine a counselor and Ketan I said very firmly but politely that I would not be able to continue with the program, it was just too intense of an environment. I asked about a refund of any sort and they called the lady who had sold me the program TJ and she said OK, we will send it by bank and leave us your account number but we have to charge you for the intake and first two days. I was satisfied with that and left back for my home many miles away.
    After two days of repeatedly calling and emailing TJ wrote me the following.

    Good Morning Ron,
    I believe we spoke on the phone, and I did tell you that I would have to consult with the management team as refunds are reviewed at that level.
    I remember that you also acknowledged the no refund policy in your phone conversation.
    As noted in my earlier email, the decision of the management is reported to you, however I will discuss this further with the CEO
    I am sorry that I do not have better news for you at this time.
    Intake Coordinator*** your post concussion syndrome is not deemed by the medical team to be relevant to your self-discharge. You were given other options but chose instead to leave. This is my understanding from both yourself as well as the clinical team.
    Thank you.
    So basically I paid 5000usd for one night in this facility.
    Also, this place is not even close to luxury. I am awaiting the answer which I suspect will be not in my favor.
    Please contact me at [email protected].

  19. My experience at DARA was life changing in more ways than just getting sober. Sure, this was the main reason I decided to embark on this journey, but what I found along the way is nothing short of a miracle. Drugs and Alcohol abuse take different tolls on addicts, but one thing we have in common is how your drug of choice warps the mind and your way of healthy thinking.

    I came to DARA looking for answers. Why am I an addict? Why am I so hopeless? Why can’t I stop? Why do I have such a low opinion of myself or why do I have low self-esteem? Through DARA’s group and one-on-one sessions I was able to find these answers and also answers to questions I hadn’t even thought of yet. The group sessions make me realize I’m not alone and my perception of myself is not how others perceive me. It’s the addict brain controlling these feelings and making me feel worthless. Being free of those demons is the greatest gift I’ve ever received!

    The program at DARA is very structured which is a testament to my successes towards recovery from alcohol and self-discovery. However, you get out of it what you put into it. DARA doesn’t simply give you a pill and a few days or weeks later you’re better. It doesn’t take a lot of effort but what it does take is for you to keep an open mind and be honest with yourself, your group, and the staff at DARA. Without accepting those principles you might as well stay home or look for other ways to seek help. But if you’re fully committed, DARA is definitely the place for you. It was for me and for that I owe DARA my life.

    Rehabilitation doesn’t have to be all work and no play. DARA’s schedule is very well balanced and offers plenty of time for Thai massages, meditation, exercise, weekend getaways to exotic places, and free time to just relax or reflect. Once I was fully emerged in the program I couldn’t wait to pop out of bed in the morning and start my day. Each day gave me something new and exciting which motivated me to put forth 100% towards the program.

    I am not getting paid or compensated to write this review. What I am getting out of it is the hope that at least one person will read this and get to experience what I’ve experienced and change their life forever. I will remember the clients, the staff, and my experience at DARA for the rest of my life. Thank you DARA for bringing me back to life.

    Special thanks to my counselor Gem, for everything! She really made a huge difference in my life and for that I’m forever grateful.

    Michael M.

  20. I came to DARA not knowing what to expect and in just the few days that I was there I felt myself being transformed –and I was not even a client there! Just a supporting wife of my husband (who was the client). DARA is going a great job and Gem especially is a gifted healer. She connects with her clients, imparts the message of the program very well and overall makes the transition toward healing as painless as possible. Gem was compassionate and professional in helping me de-stress as well. Thank you Gem.

    Also a big thank you to TJ who went out of her way to take us to the Gems Market. It was very kind of her and much appreciated. Thank you TJ.

    • Hi Esha…we’re u allowed to stay there in the center with your husband during his stay there. Or living somewhere else? What are there policies? I am planning on bringing my husband there as a client…would appreciate your input

  21. The program and staff are wonderful. The grief therapy I had with Gem identified and calmed my fears. The CBT classes and Group Therapy sessions were especially informative and helped me change my thinking process. The small size of the group and the facilitation styles of the counselors certainly led clients to complete openness and honesty.

    I especially appreciated the individualized programming and having had a voice in how I wanted to work on my recovery. Gem took my needs into careful consideration and tailored a treatment program that addressed both my alcoholism and my grief. She obviously cares for me and my progress as a person, and not just a number to churn through rehab.

  22. Sir D. here…

    I am six days out of DARA after spending a month on site in Ko Chang. For me this was a life changer, plain and simple. Been struggling with booze for far too long, and lately it had been dominating my daily behaviours, thoughts (conscious and unconscious), and actions. I hate the word “rock bottom”, but man…was I there. Personal, family, and work world were all collapsing around me- I knew it but chose to ride it out and get through it, as we do. After three days in cardiac intensive care, brought on by a crazy five day bender, I had an intervention one afternoon and was in a van to DARA at 6:00am the next morning.

    Had no idea what to expect, but opened myself WIDE OPEN to whatever DARA would bring. I was very calm and very relieved to get the help I knew I needed, but was afraid to get. I tried an out patient centre last year, and never engaged- spending money and time and drinking all the way through. Knew I needed more intensive care, help,and attention. DARA delivered. Tried AA and the steps, but did not work for me. DARA’s approach with CBT, and a holistic attack was perfect for me. As they say, DARA Ko Chang may look like a resort, but it is far from it. When they took my shaving razor, nail clipper, and after shave upon arrival I knew I was not in “Kansas anymore”- not to mention the barbed wire fence surrounding the grounds and the bag searches and pat downs following shopping excursions. I was happy to see this, and knew I was in for a personal experience that would shake me up and change me.

    Accommodations were superb as was the healthy food options. I chose to stay away from sugar, carbs, fried food, bread, and yes…booze. Lost six kilos in 28 days and never felt better. The PT folks are outstanding and push you appropriately. There is a plethora of things to do and that cater to your fitness and diet goals. I will say this again, but you get out of DARA what you put in. I was full in. I am not a young man and had a tremendous amount at stake- family, wife, job, livelihood. I took it very seriously.

    The routines were healthy and important. We were at it from 7:00am until 8:00pm pretty much every day- Sundays were a bit chill with an “excursion” and two group sessions. The routine kept me focused and I am implementing much of this in my life outside of DARA- I knew I needed this, as boredom is a killer for me.

    Groups were insightful, engaging, and important. Again, if you choose to engage, you will get much from these sessions. Some were research-based, neurological, physiological, social, and all made you think deeply, reflect and share. These sessions forced me to stop the BS and lying to myself (and others), and address and ultimately accept where I was (am). There is no sugar coating our reality, and the counselors forced us to places, I for one, did not want to go, nor did I think I could. The venue and setting is safe, nurturing, firm, and honest- all things I needed. The trust you build with fellow “clients” (people as I prefer!) is truly amazing and helped a great deal in opening up, and never feeling that people were judging you- for me that was the most important bit. I have never spoken as openly, nor as honestly to anyone until my sessions at DARA.

    We all came from different parts of the world, different cultural backgrounds and experiences, and different places emotionally based on our prior use. We all shared a commonality, and that was the entry point for amazingly open, gut-wrenching, and important conversations and sharings.

    The Focal Counselor played the most important role for me- we met two times per week and quickly cut through the crap and lying to my basic issues. Open, honest, trusting, supportive, and firm summarise my relationship with Luke. He shared current research, experience, data, and was ALWAYS an incredibly supportive ear when I needed it- As most people at DARA I was working through many layers of my past, and preparing for the “real world” upon discharge. Luke was incredibly insightful, prepared, and our hour sessions went by in a nanosecond. Without any doubt, I moved forward because of my work with Luke. This does not discount the work the other counselors did, and there many excellent people on staff, but I forged a relationship with him that I will not soon forget.

    The setting is idyllic, expectations clear, and again, if you take your clothes off, get naked, and accept the help and guidance, you will walk away a different person. I am not naive enough to say I am “fixed’ or “healed”. I am six days out and still have cravings for that beverage…I am taking it slowly, beginning to like myself again, and digging into the very rich toolbox that I left DARA with.

    If you make this excellent decision, release yourself a bit, and open up to what they have to say. There is no preaching, no sermons, nor advice given. My greatest take away is that it is up to me- with that said, I also am acutely aware that I can not do it alone. DARA set the stage for me, and I am now much more confidently walking on stage to start Act I on my terms.

  23. As of this writing, I am 156 days clean and have returned to DARA for my refresher program after having being in treatment at DARA for 9 weeks late last year. So, I came to DARA following 10 years in active addiction with illegal and controlled substances.

    A 6 month spiral with a cocktail of drugs and alcohol abuse, and hitting a rock bottom after a suicide attempt. I was also formally diagnosed with ADHD and Bi-Polar II disorder which I had been questioning due to my addictive state and circumstances at the time of diagnosis.

    Having been through the DARA program,
    I will be categorizing my review as follows:

    I found the program at DARA to be very helpful for me. The structure from the morning until the afternoon is what I had been lacking for quite some time, and gave me a feeling of purpose and motivation in my recovery. There was also just enough personal time to myself in order to reflect on my situation and get to know my peers.

    Group therapy and Psycho-educational groups
    Group therapy in DARA was one of the core aspects that aided in my recovery process. It was in group therapy that I began to explore myself while gaining a sense of being understood and understanding with my peers and counsellors. Psycho-educational groups i.e. topic groups
    Before coming to DARA and attending these groups I really had no idea what addiction meant to me. It was in these groups that I learnt about addiction and how to stay clean.

    Work with my Counselor and Clinical Team:
    My counsellor, Gem, went above and beyond her call of duty and made me feel as though she genuinely cared about me as a person. I felt as though she was able to put into words what I could not express myself and gave me many ways to target and work on my barriers. Gem helped me challenge the diagnoses I came into DARA with. She escorted me to Manarom hospital in Bangkok 3 times to see a psychiatrist there, and put together a case for me by having my medical records sent over from Australia. Gem was very thorough in her analysis of my diagnoses and case against their validity; and as hoped my diagnoses were fully dismissed. In addition we worked on my self-esteem, depression, constructed a relapse prevention plan and recovery plan. The clinical team provided professional support and great insight into my addiction and recovery process.

    Food and accommodation
    The food in DARA was delicious. Ranging greatly form meal to meal I always looked forward to eating.
    Accommodation is second to none. I stayed in both Koh Chang and Chanthaburi and loved my villa and room, it definitely is comparable to staying in a resort or a 5 star hotel. Daily cleaning of my living space as well as having my laundry done for me was also a pleasure and one less thing that I had to worry about.

    DARA Family online network and Aftercare Support
    Since leaving DARA I have been in touch with Gem and have felt supported and connected throughout my whole process up until now.
    I am also still in touch through online media with my peers.


    DARA is without a doubt the reason why I am able to remain clean after discharge. I walked away with knowledge, support, friends for life, and a motivation to work on myself in a way that I did not think was possible before. I don’t even have the words to express how much my time at DARA means to me in my life; and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity to begin my recovery with the DARA family.

  24. Michael Ascot on

    Bangkok April 12, 2016

    “””””””””A journey to Dara Rehab Koh Chang and how to get to go to SHANGRILA ( not the hotel chain ) or paradise and get back with a revised mind””””””

    In January this year 4 great friends invited me to go on a journey to paradise. That was to go to rehab for my identified clinical depression and the increased alcohol this had led to. A tough facing of reality but that’s what your best friends are for.

    They told me that they had consulted with the “unfriendly devil” but that he was against the journey as he wanted to keep me in his control.

    Clever as these friends are they had however also consulted with my designated lead Doctor – an extraordinary well educated and accomplished Professor of Neurology at one of Thailand’s best university hospitals – Siriraj, as well as a psychiatrist at the top end private Thonburi hospital.

    There are many top quality private hospitals in Bangkok but I personally rank Thonburi as the best both for experience of the medical team but also as very cost / benefit effective

    After living for over 25 years in SEAsia I was fully aware of the very high level of advanced medical care available at very reasonable cost. But mental health is not as well understood as in other parts of the world. So I was somewhat skeptical and thinking of Betty Ford was obviously not on the financial menu.

    I did substantial research and reference checks on Dara and on the background and education of the counselling team as well as the medical support, and was totally convinced that I had found the key to Pandora’s box – but still a bit anxious to commit.

    Well I did initially arrange a 4 week stay – and when those weeks were about to expire, extended for 2 more weeks and then 2 more weeks – all in all 8 weeks of fantastic professional treatments in all respects. I could have stayed forever but life outside this sanctuary was calling.

    The quality of treatment was astounding – with a wide variety of topics covered in lectures as well as group interaction – all very relevant – the 2 that I personally appreciated the most were the CBT ( cognitive behavior theory ) and relapse prevention discussions.

    Relapse is a major challenge and Dara’s approach to making this clear and transparent was fantastic.

    But what of course made this all work was the personal assigned key counselor that would meet with the client ( the Dara designation instead of patient ) 2-3 times or more per week in private sessions and be available at all times when needed. That said all other counsellors were approachable and extraordinarily helpful – one never needed to make appointments just approach in passing and get a 5 minute check in and or a time to meet up if more time was needed.

    For me personally the openness of Dara to support my wish to try to get off anti-depressant medication as well as anxiety medication was a key benefit I did not anticipate.
    This wish was clearly supported by my Neurologist and he told me that doing it in the Dara safety environment would be much more beneficial to me than doing it as an outpatient back home.

    It worked very well and in a fully controlled “tapering off trial” I said goodbye to two powerful medications that I hope never to meet or need again.

    I obviously also said good bye to the alcohol challenge.

    However The most mind changing experience to me at Dara was working on the concept of mindful behavior and thinking.

    It may be unfair to mention any of the top team by name but so be it – my warmest thanks to Khun Nath for his many hours of guidance and vision providing me with an inner strength I knew I had but could not always find. Khun Nath helped me find the way.

    And yes so did my fantastic key counselor Raymond and the Counselling Director Dr. Phil who on several occasions guided me in so many ways and always with compassion and care and did this without any scheduled sessions – simply observing my progress.

    On a final note THE SUPPORT TEAM IS FANTASTIC – reception – food – fitness – yoga – meditation and good fun are all delivered and available.

    Accommodation is very very nice in individual cabins ranging from shared via single to top of the line private pool villas.

    Again food is amazing and deserves a special mention – I gained 5 healthy kilos in 8 weeks and transferred most of that to muscle and brain mass.

    And not to mention COST – there is absolutely no reasonable way to compare Dara’s very attractive pricing with other global options – it is a simple no brainer for your calculator.

    michael ascot

    Former adjunct professor in marketing Thammasat Univetsity business school MIM program

    Goodwill Ambassador for Copenhagen

  25. I have suffered with substance abuse issues for over twenty years and after having attended some rehab facilities had previously had no success in shaking my bad habits.

    About two years ago I was introduced to Dara through friends who suffered from similar issues. Since then I have had the pleasure of working closely with some of the many outstanding people that make up the Dara staff. These vary from educated professionals to mediation experts. I have found that the wholistic approach that Dara uses to this very new field rehabilitation best suited to me and for the first time I am living a substance free life. I absolutely love the setting of the Koh Chang facility which in itself had an amazing effect on me and often go back just to reset myself and learn of new techniques to combat both substance abuse and self improvement. I have realized that recovery is a life long journey and I choose to do it with the friends I have made at Dara!

  26. Harry Eyes Wide Open on

    I’ve been to treatment centers in America seeing as that is where I am from, but I’ve never experienced a level of dedication like I did with DARA. I am talking everyone involved from the kitchen, to housekeeping, to the PT staff. The clinical team is always on standby after group for additional sessions if need be. If you need more than two therapy sessions a week, they are there to provide them.

    My days consisted of sleeping in an extremely comfortable bed with cable that includes HBO and CNN in the room (Chanthaburi location), going to breakfast, having groups up until lunch with breaks in between, a group in the afternoon, then I would play badminton in the afternoons with the PT staff. I even got to play soccer with clients and staff one day a week at an incredibly nice football pitch in the neighborhood. The soccer was always the highlight of the week, so much fun! I spent 7 months in DARA and I was only able to do that because I had so much to keep me occupied while staying there. We had daily evening group activities as well. The gym also helped me pass time (I lost 12lbs), as well as a really nice TV room. Some days after group, I would get together with the Thai staff and have ping pong tournaments if it was raining outside and we couldn’t play badminton.

    The level of care is so high at DARA. I get emotional thinking about it. These people saved my life, I was the addict of the hopeless variety, and their patience in helping me realize my denial, and also understand my addiction and where it derived from was what really made the difference in a successful journey in recovery for me. The clinical team really knows their stuff, and I was presented much more information on addiction and effective communication than I ever have in an American treatment center.

    The clinical team in Chanthaburi, Paolo (who’s in recovery himself), Ketan, Gem, they all have their strengths and different approaches to therapy and what a successful team they are! Their level of expertise is unmatched I assure you. They work together in perfect unison, and I really developed a special love and appreciation for these guys. My eyes tear up when I think of how they really reached out a helping hand so many times for me and other clients. They are so understanding and they care so much about what is going on for the clients on a day to day basis.

    I would highly recommend this place for anyone who is seeking to recover from alcohol or drugs. Not only is it affordable in comparison to the US, it is comfortable. The key word being comfortable. Think in terms of level of comfort vs. price. Another place with this level of dedication would be hard to come by. I thought I only had a drug problem going into DARA, but I came out with a whole new positive perspective on life and coping skills to deal with life on life’s terms. I couldn’t have had that experience at just any other treatment center.

    I will offer one slight suggestion: choose the Chanthaburi location for your stay. It is a close knit community, far more comfortable as far as accommodation goes, better weekend excursions, sometimes Wednesday night trek’s into the town’s night market, and is far more helpful because of the extra activities. On Sunday mornings we went for walks around a park in Chanthaburi or visited the Cathedral. It has a much more therapeutic environment. Of course, this was my unique experience of the place. I spent time in Chanthaburi AND one month on Koh Chang, and after that one month on Koh Chang I couldn’t wait to get back to Chanthaburi.

    Other than that I don’t know what to say, they have healthy food and it is delicious on top of being healthy. They have quality care, and I’ve never slept on a better bed. Do yourself a favor, get to this treatment center and get the help you need. What’s wrong with treating yourself with some relaxation and/or fun activities at the same time? No one said treatment has to be punishment. If you have questions or need clarification and you want to talk to me, an ex-client, who has found happiness in recovery, my email is [email protected].

  27. When I left DARA, I felt the best I had,
    In a very long time, I wasn’t sad,
    I felt strong in my mind, and emotionally,
    I walked out of DARA, a complete new me. —-

    There was a time, I would use,
    There was a time, I’d abuse,
    The drugs and, dangerous alcohol,
    I lost my respect; and my soul.
    I was at a point of, desire straights,
    Even though I had, lots of mates,
    I just couldn’t seem, to control myself,
    And I was losing, all my weath.
    I had almost, lost it all,
    My life had been, 1 big ball,
    Now it had got, really bad,
    I just woke up, really sad.
    I decided to go, change my life,
    And get myself, out of strife,
    I then found DARA, on the net,
    This is a choice, I won’t regret.
    DARA was the best choice, I had made,
    All their counselors, came to my aid,
    Changed my life, and how I thought,
    And it was a new life, that I sought.

    When I left DARA, I felt the best I had,
    In a very long time, I wasn’t sad,
    I felt strong in my mind, and emotionally,
    I walked out of DARA, a complete new me.

  28. Dara is truly amazing. They have helped me in so many ways and i am very grateful for that. Having client and staff from around the world makes this place unique, along with being located in a beautiful setting. Assuming peace of mind during the recovery process was made easy for us. Great therapy, great food, great location. Great all around! Thanks Dara for giving me a second chance on life!

  29. Thankyou to everyone for my stay at Dara. It was the perfect place for me to work on my drug addiction. I stayed for 3 months and have been clean now for 1 year. I have kept in contact with my counselor to help with relapse prevention. I stayed at both facilities, Chantaburri and Koh Chang and they were both very conducive for me to concentrate on my recovery. Beautiful surroundings, 5 star accommodation and meals. The program was very professional. And the cost was so reasonable. There is nothing that is comparable in Australia.

  30. My family member took part in the Dara rehabilitation program for a period of 3 months. He found it difficult to find a program in Melbourne, Australia, at a reasonable price to help with his complex addiction issues. From the first phone call to Dara my son was given incredible support. He found all aspects of the program very professional and was able to make many positive changes in his life. The accommodation was luxurious, food very nutritious and 1st class. The support was ongoing when he returned to Australia so he was able to stay drug and alcohol free.
    The support for me as a family member was also excellent. I was able to call and receive education around addiction and support. I was in Thailand briefly and was able to attend Dara for family counselling with my family member. This helped us immensely and has strengthened our relationship. Thank you so much to all the staff at Dara.

  31. It was a wonderful experience. From the facility, to the food, to the staff, everything was excellent and far exceeds my expectations. Yuwadee and Paul are exceptional at what they do and are both extremely kind and positive people. Tim is an excellent counselor and very intuitive. Laura is a good and much-needed addition to the team. Kitchen staff were very accommodating. Both outings were good – Lagoona and thai cooking. Wish i had more shopping time but i understand the reason for the limitaions. Grounds were very well kept and serene. Thank you so much Dara for turning my life around.

    • I’m a bit confused by this review – Yuwadee, tim and laura were at Dara in 2011 and had left by 2012 so this must be a very old review regernerated. I was there at the time and know that they are long gone

      • Hello Janet,

        sorry for the late reply. This one is indeed 2011 and was supposed to go up on our new homepage section were we feature all client assessments by years. We are working on correcting that and getting the right one up here. Paul and TJ are still here from your time…reach out and say hello they always enjoy that.

  32. When my family asked me to go to rehab, I was very skeptical. I thought that I would end up on a hospital bed like I often saw in Hollywood movies. However, once I arrived and discovered the environment and the facility in which I was beginning my treatment, I was more optimistic about the idea of treatment. I am one of those who decided to change after arriving in rehab. I will never be thankful enough to this institution for not only helping me with my addiction but also successfully working with me on my depression, anxiety and social phobia; conditions that are now under my control. I sometimes feel that I can safely say that it saved my life. It offered me a holistic program (mindfulness, meditation, 12 steps, CBT, personal training, yoga, counseling, massage), integrating both the CBT and the twelve steps approaches in two very different campuses located in areas that are equally beautiful and interesting. I spent 5 months at the rehab in question and I can say that I left a changed man, putting in question some of the disputable values and questionable beliefs, I had developed as a consequence of my addiction and discovering a new way of life promoting respect for others, myself, and being mindful of the environment we evolve in. Gem Escoza was my councilor. She generously went the extra mile and guided me throughout my journey. I cannot stress enough on how grateful I am to her and how much I sometimes feel I owe her. She genuinely cared about my progress which was very therapeutic and motivating; a life coach for whom I developed the utmost respect and admiration for her remarkable dedication to clients. DARA rehab helped me enjoy the small things in life, loving “others” and enabled me to see the world from a more human perspective. Also, having evolved with clients and counselors from all over the world with different backgrounds was very enriching. To conclude, the fact that the centre was located in Thailand; a fascinating composed of a people from which we have a lot to learn from, from a civic and spiritual point of view also contributed to making my experience unique. Something that marked me forever and that I have learned in this country is the idea of respect and treating others like we would like to be treated. Simple yet of meaning and therapeutic.

  33. When my family asked me to go to rehab, I was very skeptical. I thought that I would end up on a hospital bed like I often saw in Hollywood movies. However, once I arrived and discovered the environment and the facility in which I was beginning my treatment, I was more optimistic about the idea of treatment. I am one of those who decided to change after arriving in rehab. I will never be grateful enough to this institution for not only helping me with my addiction but also successfully working with me on my depression, anxiety and social phobia; conditions that are now under my control. I sometimes feel that I can safely say that it saved my life. It offered me a holistic program (mindfulness, meditation, 12 steps, CBT, personal training, yoga, counseling, massage), integrating both the CBT and the twelve steps approaches in two very different campuses located in areas that are equally beautiful and interesting. I spent 5 months at the rehab in question and I can say that I left a changed man, putting in question some of the disputable values, questionable beliefs, I had developed as a consequence of my addiction and discovering a completely new way of life promoting respect for others, myself, and being mindful to the environment we evolve in. It also helped me enjoy the small things in life, loving “others” and enabled me to see the world from a more human perspective. Also, having evolved with clients and counselors from all over the world with different backgrounds was very enriching. To conclude, the fact that the centre was located in Thailand; a fascinating composed of a people from which we have a lot to learn from, from a civic and spiritual point of view also contributed to making my experience unique. Something that marked me forever and that I have learned in this country is the idea of respect and treating others like we would like to be treated. Simple yet of meaning and therapeutic.

  34. Dara was a fantastic personal learning experience providing me great insight into my condition and strategies to cope without alcohol. Counsellors are caring, enthusiastic and dedicated. I owe you my life, and will always remember that.

  35. I brought my brother to DARA after an epic meltdown, which left those who love him in such distress and worry. We were in Koh Chang first, and then moved to Chanthaburi, where there were fewer people. The food was healthy, and good, and i was impressed that they would tailor even diet to suit the needs of the patient. He got his exercise, meditation, massage, one-on one counseling, and peer review. As we skyped, i watched a more stable brother shake off self-defeat, and emerge whole after 28 days. DARA was his healing cocoon.

    Throughout his journey, i stayed in touch with his therapist, Jocelyn. I met her when I dropped him off on day 1, and was impressed by the wide range of tools in her therapy toolbox. She was incredibly dedicated, driving 6 hours from Koh Chang to Chantaburi, and became his champion, when he could barely stand for himself. My brother is not easy, and incredibly smart, so I appreciate the skill it took to gain his trust, work with him, and get him on the path of self-healing. Every now and then, even after my brother has left DARA, Jocelyn says hello, and I think it is this kind of personal connection and care that carried my brother through some of his darkest times back to normalcy. Thanks, DARA.

  36. I’d like to emphasize that apart from the program’s basics & routine there is no “one size fits all” approach to ensuring each clients needs, progress & evolution achieved. Keep that in mind. On the note above, i’d like to thank everyone at Dara for accommodating me and some of my needs even when they were not part of the the program and its rules. Id like to thank Raymond for offering me and “open doors” policy and guiding me through probably the biggest and best decision in my life. I’d like to thank Paul for his motivation, support and for always accommodating me and pushing me. Thanks to Tim for simply being brilliant. Thanks Dara.

  37. I checked myself into Dara just over a year ago. I have been clean from alcohol and drugs ever since! The treatment I received was superb. The care and attention given by their team has changed my life in ways I never expected. The care and commitment from my focal counsellor was second to none, she put her heart and soul into the job. I was able to overcome many issues I had surrounding my childhood and huge regrets from my past. The staff there focused on the deepest issues I had and came up with a personal plan for me to tackle these. I also had some physical issues health wise and they accommodated to all my needs.

    I learnt a great deal from the CBT classes provided within the program, along with mindfulness and awareness which I still use everyday. The four week program was very detailed and well presented. The staff worked very hard for clients to understand the importance of relapse prevention. Also learning how to deal with sobriety and the hardships some face going into toxic environments when leaving treatment. Extra one on one classes were offered for clients who wanted to go into more depth on particular subjects.

    The fitness team were extremely dedicated and worked very hard to achieve the goals I had set for myself. Along with water workouts in the week that were a great way to start the day. We also had the option of extra group activities, such as swimming in the ocean, walking outside of the center and yoga classes etc. They also focus on nutrition and healthy eating which is something I have now become very aware of.

    I can say whole heartedly that choosing this particular treatment center is one of the best things I have done in my life and would highly recommend it to anyone.

  38. A great place to unwind (eventually!) and gather ones thoughts in a calm and stable environment. Friendly staff and other addicts builds moral and camaraderie. (We can do this!) Thank you, Dara.


  39. I came to Dara when I was in an extremely vulnerable state and I left feeling confident and with newfound skills to cope with my addiction. The staff were professional and gave me the support I needed to turn things around. I am so thankful to everyone there and so glad I went.

  40. If i could ever recommend a rehab to anyone anytime i would love to introduce DARA and about my experience in recovery. Thanks for all the staffs at DARA for their hospitality and quality. Ib.

  41. DARA management and treatment team on

    This post is from the DARA management and treatment team

    In response to the recent online smear campaign and attacks against us. These statements are factually wrong and therefore not written by actual DARA Alumni. As for example we still provide 2 one on one sessions per week to every client and do log these against signature.

    Its noticeable that these attacks began after DARA made some personnel changes and dropped its entry level price to US$4999, this was a deliberate action by our owner who is in recovery to reduce financial barriers to treatment and was not directed at other Thai treatment providers.

    The DARA program has never been stronger, we have a great staff team and are continually developing our treatment program. Check us out on dararehab.com.

    • Client at Koh Chang after 3 .5 weeks into Programme
      I am writig this anonymously to maintain my confidentiality however I have informed the Dara Staff I am happy to be contacted to confirm what I have written is a true account of a client.

      I was struggling with stress and anxiety and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism had become the norm and excessive. I spent sometime at a clinic in the UK but was still suffering from severe mood swings and knew I had to continue treatment.

      I looked across most of Europe but could not find something that suited that was in my price range. A person at the last clinic suggested I look into DARA as her brother had been here and highly recommended it.

      I got in touch with the administration team and they were very prompt with their response and answered al questions I had. Once I decided to come here all I had to do was get myself to Thailand and everything from then on would be looked after. They were as good as their word.

      I got picked up by medical staff and a Dara representative at Trat airport and was taken to bankok hospital in Trat for an overnight stay and medical. I got the medical at 0900 in the morning and was communicated the detailed results at 11am before I left for Chanthabari.

      There I was made very welcome by everyone. I had a thorough medical review with a staff member there and we agreed after a night of observation as to how my treatment should should progress. We agreed the Integrated Behaviour Programme would be most appropriate in my case. I therefore was transferred to Koh Chang to begin.

      Upon arriving again I was made very welcome and was given a thorough introduction. I was also introduced to a buddy who would help me settle and advise of all the resort activities and amenities should I require.

      The first few days I was sceptical. What am I doing here in a strange country with people I did not know from all over the world? How would I fit in? Was this right for me?

      Very shortly into my stay my mood lifted and was soon part of community.

      I realised the treatments on offer and the place itself was fully conducive to getting my life back on track.

      Focal Counsellor
      Upon your arrival you are appointed a focal counsellor who will

      Group Work (CBT)
      The therapists/Counsellors are professional and knowledgeable of their subject matter. It is taught in an open format with feedback and sharing throughout, although always in a controlled fashion. It was much more beneficial than the more text book type teachings sometimes taught.

      The subject matter is varied as advertised. It covers such things as relapse prevention, SCHEMA’s and change of these behaviours that are disruptive in our lives, Core Values/beliefs, self esteem, communications skills, anxiety. All things I am finding very useful to my recovery.

      You are presented the work for the week on a Sunday and it is advisable to do pre group reading of the material to get the most out of it. The material also has useful worksheets and tools to complete and use in your recovery.

      Phase Work

      You are given phase work to complete in your own time and share with your counsellor. You are also given the opportunity to share this in group and receive feedback. It is an important aspect to complete this for yourself and your recovery. Although you can work through this at your own pace you are encouraged to complete what you can while here to get the most benefit.

      You have two one to one sessions per week however counsellors make themselves available to you when they can should you require further discussions or support.

      Process groups
      These are smaller open discussion groups where clients can talk about their own issues and promote discussion and feedback from other clients and a counsellor. This is useful allowing you to talk about things that maybe you could not share back in your own world for fear of judgement of confidentiality. We can all learn from others experiences and these make you realise other clients have been where you have been as well.

      Activities and Wellbeing

      A very important part of the recovery programme here and has made a very significant impact on mine. You are appointed a Personal Trainer for your stay who will work with you to improve your fitness within your capabilities. There are 4 on site which shows the commitment to this aspect. Sessiosn are twice a week and tailored for you. You also have a choice whether it is a gym workout, a walk, a swimming session, thai boxing – whatever you want basically if they have the facility to cater for you.

      Mornings begin 4 times a week with a water workout or flexibility class. Great way to waken your body and mind for the day ahead.

      As well as fixed individual PT sessions they also organise other physical exercise for the group. Examples include walking, open water swimming and circuit training.

      There are also meditation and yoga classes with a very experienced teacher. I have found this very beneficial for the mind, body and soul.

      Oh – and the bi-weekly massges are great soothe the muscles after all the exercise or just to relax.

      Healthy eating is also a part of the programme and the food is exceptional.

      Setting and Accomodation
      Koh Chang centre is set on a hillside and you feel like you are in the middle of a jungle with the associated peace and quiet and nature all around you. Very conducive to recovery. I can only say the centre is better than many 5 star hotels I have stayed at. No need to say anymore. You will not be disappointed.

      The manager has been here for three months now and is fully committed to people recovery. He is a Dr of Phsycoloy and fully understands addressing psycological issues associated with substance use is a very important aspect that many other clinics do not address. He has an open door policy when available and I personaly have benefited greatly from my short conversations with him. He is committed to making rogramme here work to the benefit of the clients and I am sure it will become even more successful.

      Medical support
      Dara do not claim to have a full medical team on site. What they do have is fall time nursing staff who are are available to deal with most issues and dispense medication. They also have relationships with the lcoal hospital where any serious medical conditions can be dealt with. They also use the hospital for supervised detox if required before transfer to the centres.

      Rules and Structure
      Clients are fully encouraged to attend all groups and activities and be on time. It si the holistic approach that is successful so I would strongly advise to fully buy-in to the whole programme for most benfit. As I said they tailor exercise to your capability so it is suitable for people of al ages and fitness.

      They treat you like a responsible adult here and expect you to behave in such a fashion. Misdeamenours are dealt with approrpriately and with the correct compassion when necessary. It is important to remember you are here of your own free will and for your own recovery. If you commit to the programme and accept the rules, that are there for a reason, then you will find all staff will help you in any way thye can with your recovery.

  42. I don’t understand the negative reviews. When I was at DARA the only people that complained were those who expected to be spoon fed their recovery – which begins with the addict, not the counsellor. I had an incredible experience and found the staff fantastic. They treat you like an adult and expect you to behave in kind.

    I tried to explain my time in rehab
    But they won’t know, know, know…
    When I got back, I said it was whack
    But they say so, so, so

    They don’t get the time,
    Not like the new friends of mine…
    I tried to explain my time in rehab
    But they won’t know, know, know

    I’d rather be at process
    But I ain’t got another 28 days
    And there’s nothing I can teach them
    They need Nadine, Luke and Ray….

    I didn’t always get to class
    But I learnt joy don’t come in a shot glass

    My friends said “do you think you’re different back here?”
    I said “I got no idea, I don’t wanna, wanna lose my sanity
    So I always keep my note book near”
    They said “I just think you’re depressed”
    ‘Dis Nadine “yeah baby, and the rest.”

    I don’t ever want to drink again
    And I sure, sure do miss my friends
    And while we spent those weeks
    Don’t expect everyone to assume you’re on the mend

    But now I have my pride
    I know who I am inside

    I tried to explain my time in rehab
    But they won’t know, know, know…
    When I got back, I said it was whack
    But they say so, so, so

    They don’t get the time,
    Not like the new friends of mine…
    I tried to explain my time in rehab
    But they won’t know, know, know

  43. What a joke, I was in DARA in February 2016 total shambles. One evening 5 clients, cut the fence and went out for the night drinking. Everything is just disorganised, and program delivery poor. One overdosed on prescription meds and ended up in ICU. Management are just not interested, only in money. If you want to, most nights clients are getting out of the centre and drinking.

  44. Not a good place, $4995 for a room, with no program. 3rd world program run by 3rd world staff. “The Snowman” is often sat in his office with sunglasses on recovering from the previous night. They just don’t care, only want your money. Be wary of their slick PR, a lot of it is from several years back when it got genuine good reviews, nothing to do with what it is today.

  45. I was in DARA in October 2015, it was an interesting experience, and something I don’t want to undergo again. The staff were very unmotivated, and it was difficult to find staff to talk to; a lot of them seemed to spend most of the time in the office, or where either on holiday or sick. The place seems to be very disorganized, with little attention to the clients. This seemed to filter through to the clients, that management really didn’t care and the German Clinical Director seemed to not have much idea about therapy or substance abuse, often relying on the creepy PT Manager or one of the Philipino staff; and explained why a number of clients were leaving the place early, or escaping in the evenings to go drinking. One client was for a month actively selling drugs to other clients in the centre, and nothing was done. On another occasion a group of clients went out for a whole night, and none had any consequences. One of the escapes had even stolen a motorbike, and had a crash while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, he was not asked to leave either. For people wanting to take it seriously, this is really damaging.
    A lot of the counselors are from the Philippines and the language and cultural differences are problematic, many of us couldn’t relate to them and they appeared to be more interested in sitting in offices. The place as another person mentioned is just dysfunctional, and a waste of money.

  46. Nice location with completely dysfunctional staff. More of the counselors are on drugs than the clients. The director is known as the “snow man” on the island because of his hobbies…

  47. DARA REHAB is the worst rehab to go to. Counsellors are sleeping with patients. Patients are getting drunk at night and coming back to the rehab. People are pushing drugs inside the rehab. They are currently being investigated as well for all of this. They are another phony crook rehab in thailand selling a resort as a rehab. PATHETIC. See you in hell DARA.

    • Wow!!! I was seriously thinking of going here to get help. Thank you for the info. Is there a way to get ahold of any of you so I can hear more details! I need a safe place with no drugs alcohol or sex to get better. I can’t believe what I am hearing!!

  48. It’s sad you feel that way given the life changing experience I had at Dara. Admittedly it took me two visits but not everybody gets it first time. If your writing these emails from Dara then it’s difficult to surmise you maximising the possible benefits you could be receiving while so pissed off. Addictions just not that simple and I don’t think any organisation or person for that matter can please everybody but it’s not fair to overlook that a lot of caring and qualified counsellors do a lot of hard work there. That place turned my life around and for that I will always be grateful. Deep breath man. Try the decaf and I wish you all the best. Elliot

  49. DARA is junk.
    For the same price you can find much more “help” whatever that may be.
    I came here and fell prey to the junk positive reviews.
    It only works if you are another victim of junk positive reviews.
    Does not work.

    See below and feel free to email me:

    If you are from a country like USA, where I am from, you are in for a HUGE disappointment.
    They are all about money. A complete waste for the following reasons:
    1. The counselors are clueless
    2. The counselors are at least 5 years behind the USA in terms of knowledge
    3. The counselors are ignorant
    4. You can get much better counselling and solutions for the same money, less if you have US insurance, which is 5+ years ahead of DARA
    5. I am writing this from DARA and am available to anyone with questions at [email protected] (will be glad to give out details of their incompetence).
    6. I am not angry. I am disappointed. Expected a modern holistic approach to full-recovery and relapse prevention
    7. I can only guess that the ignorant counselors here are here because they like Thailand, the climate, beaches, nature etc.
    If I had anything to hide, why would I give you my email ?
    I am here now but cutting my stay short because there is NOTHING to gain here that you cannot in any civilized country like the US.
    I repeat – DARA IS JUNK AND AT LEAST 5 years behind the US. (CAPS intended).

    • Hello Dinesh,

      We understand your concerns. DARA Thailand employs a team of addiction
      professionals that provide compassionate care and support as our clients work
      toward recovery. Our approach to addiction treatment is comprehensive and
      personalized to each client’s needs. Our programs are cost effective and we
      provide clients with affordable luxury rehabilitation solutions. We provide
      supportive aftercare resources and pay special attention to discharge by
      providing clients with sober support systems and relapse prevention plans. To
      further discuss your concerns, we encourage you to give us a call: +66-87-140-7788

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