Yoga & Wellness Retreats in Thailand

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Guided Retreats vs. Personal Retreats

If you’re looking for a getaway where you can do yoga or indulge in wellness, there’s two options you should consider:

Guided retreats

On a guided retreat, you're lead by individual teachers (or sometimes a group), which have have set dates, and curriculums. These are usually local yoga teachers or wellness leaders that rent out resort space for a week or longer and bring their followers and students. Guided retreats can be a great travel option if you have a personal relationship with the teacher, or are very clear that you'd like to do the retreat with the given theme.

The downside of guided retreats are that you may not connect to the leaders or the schedule. It’s common that many people who go on guided retreats without first knowing the leaders can have bad experiences because it was not what they expected from their trip. Guided retreats also have set dates, making them much more difficult to schedule. If you are seeking a more self-guided retreat with an open schedule that allows you to do things your own pace, you should consider a self-guided retreat.

 

Personal retreats

Personal retreats are when you go to stay at a wellness resort that has a variety of wellness-based activities you can participate in on your own schedule. There’s a huge variety of offerings for self-guided retreats, including yoga, meditation, personal workshops, nutrition advice, spa treatments, and detox services. At almost any resort offering self-guided retreats, you can pick and choose which activities you want to do and create a custom package just for you.

Personal retreats are great for travelers who want to get away on their own schedule and do their activities at their own pace. Self-guided retreats are usually run by staff at the resorts so you can sign up for them at any time. All the experiences on wellbook.co are self-guided retreats. 

 

Choosing an Area of Thailand

If Thailand is known as the land of pleasure is because there are wellness-based experiences no matter where you go. We have refined the search and selected a handful of outstanding destinations.

 

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is also referred to as ‘the vegan paradise’ by virtue of all the variety of organic, plant-based restaurants you can find nearby without relying on apps like happycow or tripadvisor. Many epic resorts are located in Chiang Mai and this has become the preferred destination for annual treatments by the fasting and raw vegan community. The weather of the Thai mountain range is perfect for detox programs and yoga retreats. Most of the health centres in Chiang Mai offer a combination of western technology and eastern medical treatments, addressing all kinds of aims such as cleanses, weight loss and stress relief programs. While making your plans for the north of Thailand you may consider avoiding the unbearably hot months of March, April and May. The temperature during the months of November through February oscillates between 18-25 degrees.

 

 Phuket

The rainforest of Phuket and its turquoise beaches are a heaven for relax and disconnection. The seaside resorts of the island offer numerous water activities, gentle yoga and a wide variety of detox programs that can be tailored for each individual.

Although some beaches in Phuket can be packed, often the resorts have their own access to private shores. Just like almost all the paradisiac islands, Phuket also attracts tourists with its nightlife, but that won’t affect your stay in the remote locations the best resorts offer.

The weather condition is ideal from November to April, as usually the rest of the year Phuket is hit by the monsoon and even though the prices for accommodation go down, the climate can be rather dangerous. 

 

Koh Samui

The second biggest island in Thailand has the most prominent zen vibe of all. Koh Samui provides enough detox and yoga programs to spend a lifetime in retreat mode. Some of the most-loved wellness resorts in the world are located there, where boutique style resorts and thai minimalist decor is the average ‘ordinary’.

Koh Samui really creates a perfect environment for health enhancement and recovery with its gorgeous tropical gardens, crystal clear waters and ubiquitous vegan and vegetarian restaurants.

The average temperature on the island is 28 degrees, and the weather is pleasant throughout the year, with higher chances of rain during the months of October-November.

 

 

Peak season is in December to mid february, during the dry season. The sun can be very strong during the hot season from December to February, but taking some necessary afternoon precautions makes it absolutely tolerable.

 

Koh Phanghan

Koh Samui’s little sister it’s a paradise that can only be accessed by boat. You might have heard about the big party scene revolving around Koh Phangan, but there is a completely different side of the island waiting to be explored.

Eco friendly resorts and wellness centres are not hard to find and they’re rarely fully booked, leaving a very familiar and cozy vibe.

Koh Phangan has a very harsh but thankfully very short monsoon season during the months of October and November. The rest of the year the season is either hot -May through September- or dry from December to March. 

 

Phi Phi Islands

Despite having significantly less resorts than other sister islands due to its smaller size, Phi Phi islands does not lag far behind, and that’s probably because of their undeniable beauty. 

There are a total of six islands and the typical picture of paradise by excellence is very frequently a white sandy beach found in the Phi Phi’s, between limestones and sparkling waters. 

There is no wheeled transport in Phi Phi. You can either walk or move around by boat.

The average temperature is 18-38 degrees, and there are two marked seasons; rainy season from May till December, with the greatest rainfall in July. The hot season is January through April, with the hottest days falling during the month of February.

 

Areas to avoid: 

Thailand is a very tourist-friendly country and even though there are not many crimes, some areas are better avoided by tourists due to its theft rate such as the suburbs of cities like Bangkok. If you don’t want to be part of the crowd that forms during the huge full moon party, forego this part of the island. Overall, thefts and other crimes can happen as a result of the amount of visitors coming to visit. The enjoy the real wellness experience in Thailand, surrender to a reliable institution and let them take care of the rest. Resorts and retreat centers are normally secluded spaces surrounded by nature, safeguarded from the turmoil in very placid locations.

 

Get clear on your intention for a retreat in Thailand

Thailand is the Eden of relaxation and that can be both exciting and overwhelming. There is a tremendous amount of resorts, Yoga retreats and detox centres and each one will offer their own speciality,  so it is important for you to set up your intentions for your trip. Many travelers book their travels without asking themselves what they really are wanting to get from their trip. Are you looking to spend time in silence? Recover from burnout? Learn more about yoga and deepen your meditation practice? 

If you are thinking of doing a body cleanse, there is a broad spectrum of detox programs for each individual case and taste. Would you rather do a fruit, juice, water or dry fast? With or without colon hydrotherapy? There’s specific retreat experiences for all these in Thailand, so make sure you get clear yourself before making your travel plans.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

What are the Visa Requirements for Thailand Retreats?

Tourists from most countries will get a 30 days visa on arrival in Thailand. They will stamp in your passport the date the visa expires and in case you want to stay longer, make sure you head to the closest immigration office and make an extension for another 30 days before the given expiry date.

To avoid any inconvenience at the immigration office, is good to check their opening hours beforehand. Thai immigration has become quite strict with overstays and would apply fines for those not leaving the country at the right time.

All you need for the extension is your passport, a passport photo and 60 USD that you must pay in thai baht (aprox 1,900baht). The procedure consists in filling up some paperwork. It’s very easy and you will be good to go for another 30 days in the country!

You can only extend your tourist visa once, so after the first extension stamp you must leave the country. After your visa run you can come back to Thailand and do it all over again. 

 

What airport do I fly into?

Subharnabumi International in Bangkok is the main airport in Thailand. Bangkok’s train station is 10 minutes away and there are great connections to other national airports. Transfers and buses are available to head towards all directions.

 

 Is Thailand Safe?

In general, yes. The reality is that the land of smiles has also theft and tourism scams, like everywhere. Tourism contributes enormously to the thai economy and locals are appreciative of foreigners taking an interest in their culture, and giving them opportunities for work.

Another great tip for those with respiratory ailments is checking the air quality from some overpopulated cities like Chiang Mai or Bangkok that have a high level of pollution during the dry season.

 

How do I get to my resort when I arrive to my retreat?

Almost all resorts offer shuttle or pickup from the airport. Many packages on WellBook include airport pickup and dropoff. Even if it’s not included in your package, you can always contact the resort directly to arrange pickup and dropoff. 

 

 Which seasons are the best to travel to Thailand?

The monsoon in Thailand can be quite severe. May-June is still a reasonably good time to visit as the rains are just starting, but keep in mind that is also the hottest time of the year. July to October is the official time frame for wet season, with August and September with the most precipitation.

 

 

 

 

How to get around in Thailand

Places to visit and different activities are spread out in Thailand so you’ll want to plan to have some transport other than walking. Getting around is important on any trip. Fortunately, Thai cabs are quite cheap, which is what most tourists do. Other apps such as Grab also operate in Thailand and their drivers will pick you up from anywhere for a fraction of the price. Public transport like trains are much cheaper and unlike other places in Asia are very comfortable. Buses, river boats and tuk-tuks are also very affordable and fun to try.

Another great option is to rent a motor-bike or scooty which can be done for around $3-5 USD a day. Having a motor-bike definitely makes things more fun and accessible, and you’ll feel more like one of the locals. Riding a motorbike can feel dangerous, and it’s not uncommon to get in minor accidents while driving in Thailand. Some tourists make the feeble attempt to travel around with pedal bikes, we highly discourage you from doing this as road safety isn’t the greatest in Thailand.

 

Is Thailand a good place to travel with kids?

Thailand is one of the best family-friendly destinations in Asia. If you are traveling with kids we recommend checking out larger resorts in Chiang Mai or Koh Samui that have kids’ programs, pools, direct access to beaches and larger grounds for kids to explore safely. Some of the other areas can have more limited family-friendly options, but with the genuine love Thais have for kids, they will be there to help you and make sure you have a great time.

 

 Working with a travel agent

If you are traveling with a group, have lots of specific needs, or are unsure what type of experience you’d like to have, you might want to consider working with a travel agent. At WellBook, we have a group of western travel agents who live and work in Thailand, and can give you the inside scoop. Our team is all wellness nuts who have transplanted themselves from living in Australia, Europe, and the US to living in different parts of Asia. If there’s any one on earth who can help you design a dream vacation in Thailand, it’s us!

If you’d like help designing a retreat for yourself in India, you can click here.