In Search of the Perfect Cleansing in Thailand

Illustration for TIME by Jerry Swaffield

The idea of traveling halfway around the world to starve yourself is, however you look at it, a little odd. To make hunger the theme of your vacation and pay good dollars for, well, nothing seems to be bordering on the plain loopy. Yet southern Thailand is becoming a hub for a growing number of professionals whose guilty affluence and/or search for the soulful drive them to seek a week or two of deprivation. On offer is bare-board living: fasting, yoga, meditation andthe ultimate in purificationtwice daily cleansing of the colon.

The fasting centers and rudimentary health retreats have little in common...

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