Koh Phangan Yoga and Detox Retreats
Koh Phangan (or Pha Ngan) is known to tourists and travellers worldwide for its Full Moon Parties, attracting up to 30,000 every full moon evening for a riotous experience that climaxes with dancing as the sun rises.
But many come to here to experience an entirely different way of life. The North and West side of Koh Phangan is a more spiritual place, with an abundance of yoga courses, meditation retreats, healthy restaurants and good food.
Two particularly well known places for Yoga in Phangan are the Agama Yoga, whose headquarters are on Koh Phangan, and Orion Healing. Agama is good if you have some time – they offer a month long ‘intensive’ course, designed for beginners, which is excellent value at 6900 baht (£155 or US$232) for 150 hours of yoga and lectures. The course is designed to be flexible – if you only want to attend a week, that’s fine. There is a good vegetarian restaurant, Soma, on site.
Orion Healing, which is on Sithanu beach, has drop in yoga, as well as running detox and healing programmes. Accommodation is available on site (with beach views in some cases), and there is also a vegetarian restaurant here, the Orion Café, specialising in raw and organic food.
Ananda Resort, which has a link to Agama Yoga above, provides a month’s accommodation package that includes the Yoga, and also has a popular detox programme. This is highly regarded by its participants and includes access to its steam room, massage and salt water pool. It’s very organised, and there’s even a ‘detox bar’ to make it all feel more fun. It’s mainly vegetarian café overlooks the bay, and has the amazing sunset views.
The Sanctuary spa resort offers detox programmes as part of its ‘healthy holidays’ range. Again providing yoga, weight loss and detox programmes, spa treatments, and a vegetarian and seafood restaurant, all in a beach-front resort that regards pampering as importantly as health.
Clearly, there’s no shortage of vegetarian and vegan restaurants on the island. In terms of the best stand-alone healthy eating places, we recommend Café Footprints, Thong Sala which specialises in raw food – for example, solar dried bruschetta. Local products are used as much as possible, and the menu is imaginative and tasty.
A more homely enterprise is the Green Leaf Café, a family-run healthy café in Srithanu, where you are bound to run into people on yoga courses, you can chat to the family who own it, and where there are a couple of guitars available for those who fancy a jam. Great for take away also.
The West of the island also sees the Sunset, and there are many beautiful views all along the West coast. You will often see scooters and bikes stopped by the side of the road at sunset, as travellers and tourists come to a stop to watch the breath-taking skies melt into a range of colours that seem like a postcard. And this is free, every night!
Blog and Picture by Ellen Bard