Top 5 Yoga Retreats to Visit in Thailand
Thailand is one of the region’s top tourist destinations. Aside from China and Turkey, it hosts more international visitors than any other country in Asia. Its postcard-perfect beaches and lush tropical vegetation attract people from all over the globe who dream to find enchantment in the country known as the “Land of Smiles”.
Whilst Thailand has always been well known for its spas and rejuvenation centres, in recent years it has emerged as a popular destination for yoga lovers too, especially amongst older travellers who may find travelling in India more stressful.
Although India has always been the leading destination for yoga retreats, the merging of Thailand’s herbal massage techniques with traditional yoga is giving rejuvenation-seekers some new opportunities to experience a yoga retreat in Southeast Asia.
Generally speaking, Thailand’s yoga retreats are more expensive than comparable retreats in India, but there is still a wide range of resorts in all price brackets catering to every type of traveller.
Here are five that we’ve rated according to the quality of their yoga retreats, as opposed to the quality of the accommodation or other resort facilities. The first two are in the luxury category where guests can expect to pay upwards of US$800 to well over $1,000 a night for an all-inclusive package for two.
The next two offer very good yoga retreats in much cheaper resorts – around $150 to $200 a night for a couple including breakfast -- whilst the last is a budget option that provides an excellent yoga retreat for as little as $40 a night per person for dormitory accommodation, or $120 a night for a couple in a private bungalow.
The mid-range options will most likely suit the majority of senior travellers because they offer both a la carte yoga and spa options, as well as all inclusive yoga retreats including meals, but at much cheaper prices than the luxury resorts.
1. Chiva-Som Resort
Located in the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan at Hua Hin, Chiva-Som is an ultra-luxurious resort offering yoga retreats that are a blend of ancient health practices and innovative holistic healing therapies. Chiva Som is a good choice if you are looking to enjoy the delights of yogic teachings as well.
As well as the yoga retreat, Chiva-Som offers about a dozen other retreat programmes including a detox retreat, a fitness retreat and an emotional well-being retreat for those who may have difficulty controlling stress.
Amongst other more specialised retreat programmes is one to improve cell vitality for those recovering or in remission from cancer, a cranial relief retreat for those who suffer from migraine or recurrent headaches, and a tension relief retreat for those suffering from high blood pressure.
Chiva-Som has won many awards for its luxury spa experiences, and is a favourite amongst well-heeled travellers from Europe.
2. Soneva Kiri
Nestled in the lap of Mother Nature on the secluded island of Ko Kut, this 5-star resort offers a superlative standard of luxury whilst relishing the relaxing experience of being surrounded by tropical jungle.
This is where you can enjoy moments on the virgin beaches of the eastern Gulf of Thailand and make memories while meditating with the backdrop of endless blue water. Soneva Kiri is not just a resort but a heavenly embrace for purity-seekers.
Delve into the ocean of soulfulness to revitalise each and every cell of the body. This resort is where you can experience the relaxation of taking a blissful nap in the purity of nature. The spa centre is one of the best in Thailand with a team of excellent Ayurveda experts.
You will be practicing the delights of yoga in the most authentic way. Its location on Ko Kut makes this a site of ultimate peace and serenity.
3. Absolute Sanctuary
One of the most popular yoga retreats in Thailand in terms of value for money is Absolute Sanctuary on Ko Samui. Set in the midst of breathtaking natural beauty, the retreat centre is a haven for those individuals who love exploring various aspects of yoga.
Absolute Sanctuary provides ample opportunity – time as well as space – to discover the real you while falling in love with yoga’s healing beauty. Five-day yoga retreats are offered on various dates through the year for around $400 per person including accommodation and all meals.
The resort is a place where you can recharge, revitalise and re-energise. This award-winning retreat takes a holistic approach to mental, physical, and emotional wellness. In the company of their team of experienced yogis and health experts, this is a place where you will enjoy some of the most memorable moments of life.
Absolute Sanctuary merges effective yogic exercises with healing therapies, pampering detox facilities, and nourishing meal programmes. There’s an anti-stress programme and several other programmes that have been designed for those looking to make permanent changes to their lifestyle.
4. The Mangosteen
For those looking for some luxury at a cheaper price, head to the island of Phuket for a soul-stirring experience at The Mangosteen. You’ll enjoy their elevated location in beautiful tropical gardens, and spectacular panoramas of Phuket’s beaches and offshore islands. The resort is located towards the southern end of Phuket, away from the busy tourist district.
The Mangosteen is known for its finest standard of Ayurvedic therapy that is popular all over Thailand. The combined experience of Ayurveda and yoga is amongst the many offerings of the resort, which also include Thai cooking classes.
On the dunes of the Andaman Sea, you can also indulge in the practice of meditation under the guidance of The Mangosteen’s instructors. The cool sea breezes and serene environment will make you appreciate each and every moment at the centre.
The resort’s villas combine luxury with a memorable guest experience. As well as the comfortable accommodation and facilities like a swimming pool and lounge bar, you will enjoy nutritious meals in the excellent restaurant, which has a well-stocked wine cellar.
5. Suan Sati
Combining yoga, meditation and permaculture, Suan Sati in Chiang Mai province is quite unique in terms of yoga retreats. It describes itself as a rural retreat community, and not a resort or guesthouse. The dormitories and bungalows are made out of bamboo and facilities are fairly basic compared with our other recommendations.
But the quality of the yogic practices and philosophies is on a par with other places, so will appeal to those travelling on a budget and who are not looking for the luxury offered by the more traditional resorts.
Sian Sati prides itself on personalising its guest experiences and promotes its combined yoga and meditation programme as one that is aimed at achieving transformation, awareness and empowerment. This retreat is best suited to more experienced yogis, but Sian Sati will still accept beginners - but with the recommendation that they take some studio classes before travelling to Thailand.
Located within a small permaculture farm, most of the food served is organic and vegan, and permaculture classes are offered as well.
Header image: © Kushnirov Avraham