Sometimes the world has a funny way of making your dreams come true. For the past 5+ years, I have been dreaming of traveling to Thailand. I didn’t know how or when it would happen, but I hung pictures on my wall & wrote down Thailand on my bucket list. Then, I forgot about it.
In my Elephant Trek post, I wrote about how it all came to pass:
Less than 1 year ago, I traveled to NYC for a Yoga workshop & met my now very good friend Heather, and we connected through instagram. We met up in March for my half marathon in NYC, and she invited me to Thailand for a yoga retreat in September.
I’m normally a solo traveler, planning my trips, staying in hostels, and being super adventurous… I would have never gone to a yoga retreat for pampering, relaxing, and laying by the pool. If I did go on a yoga retreat, it would most likely have been a training course to add on to my yoga training. With that being said, I DID learn from the instructors, and I was able to bring a lot back to teach in my own classes! The week ended up being so amazing – including an elephant trek, snorkeling, muy thai classes, 2 yoga classes a day, awesome instructors, thai massage, and becoming friends with so many amazing women from around the world!
The yoga retreat was hosted by Flexi Lexi Fitness, a yoga clothing store in Thailand. The retreat was 1 week long in Koh Lanta, Thailand, and cost $2100 for the week (with a roommate). This sounds extremely expensive, BUT —- there was a LOT included:
- 1 Week stay in a 5-star resort
- Buffet brunch & Dinner included (I think I only ordered food 1-2 times at lunch the entire week… the brunch filled me up!)
- 2 yoga classes/day
- Photographer (you could take pictures with him whenever & wherever… and we all got a USB drive with ALL pictures on it from the entire week!)
- $100 of Flexi-Lexi Clothing
- 1 all-day island excursion
- 1.5 hour Thai massage
- 1 free cooking class
- Free workout classes & excursions (I took a 1-hour muy-thai class + a guided bike ride to a temple!)
- Free transport to and from airport (1.5-3 hours from the airport, which included a car + ferry/water taxi)
Every day started out with a 1.5 hour yoga class at 7:30 am. The instructors switched classes the entire week, and it was a mix between yin, heated/vinyasa, acro, and rocket yoga. The instructors – Robin Martin & Irene Pappas – were very different from each other, (a good thing!) and I learned a lot from both of them.
Following the morning yoga class, we had brunch from 9-10:30 am overlooking the infinity pool & ocean.
Then, the afternoon was free until our second class at 5 pm… I laid out by the pool a few days, went for a run one day, and did a few other fun things the other days:
- Went on an all-day snorkeling adventure
- Took a private muy-thai lesson (please note that my ankles/feet/shins were literally black and blue for 2 weeks following this!! Extremely painful, but an amazing workout & experience!)
- Rode a bike past town to a Monestary, where we lit candles & gave our blessings
- 1.5 hour Thai massage – I requested the deep, deep, DEEP tissue massage… please note that this isn’t a massage for the light-hearted. I have a high tolerance for pain and normally receive deep tissue massages, but this was really painful. The massage therapist used her elbows and really got into my back & neck (she climbed onto the table to really get in there!). She also got into my calves/shins and broke up a lot of scar tissue/build up, which felt amazing AFTER the massage. So if you are in Thailand… I would recommend getting a light-medium Thai massage, unless you really like pain 🙂
- Went to Old Town Lanta to explore & shop – a few hours in this tiny town is all you need!
- All-day excursion to a small island (included lunch, snorkeling, Stand up paddle-boarding, kayak, etc)
The all-day excursion was perfect… we hopped on a boat and relaxed for about 1.5-2 hours until we arrived at the island. I took a kayak in, and we took pictures with the photographer all day!
On the final night, Pimalai put on a GORGEOUS closing ceremony dinner, including a beautiful table set-up that looked like it was for a wedding!
There is a tradition in Thailand to send off Sky lanterns – It is considered good luck to release a sky lantern, and many Thais believe they are symbolic of problems and worries floating away (Wiki). However, we did something a little different – our photographer hand-made floating lanterns out of banana leaves to float on the infinity pool (How beautiful are they?!).
We all lit our lantern, made a wish/blessed others/asked worries to disappear, and sent our lantern into the pool.
It was the perfect end to the week, and I am so incredibly happy I went! It would have never happened without my friend Heather – she is so amazingly thoughtful and such a ball of energy – I had so much fun with her the entire week!
One of the greatest things about Thailand is the friendliness of people. Everywhere we went, everyone was so kind & accommodating. Also, everything is so inexpensive! The exchange rate was about 100 baht to $3.25 US dollars… so, basically everything was under 5-10$.
The time difference from Ohio is 11 hours, so it was a bit of an adjustment getting there… however, if you time your flight/sleep schedule correctly, you shouldn’t have too much of an issue. I also stopped in Spain for 1.5 weeks following Thailand, so I was able to progress slowly back to Ohio time by the time I returned.
The entire week was such a whirlwind and went by so, so fast… I would like to return to explore more of Thailand, including Bangkok & Chiang Mai! Koh Lanta was amazing, but it is such a tiny part of Thailand, and our group didn’t wander too far from the resort the entire week. Also – I loved the retreat, but sometimes, a vacation just needs to be done alone! (or maybe I am just a serial solo traveler?!) While I love meeting people, there is nothing like going off on your own and doing things on your own schedule 🙂 There is so much more to do & explore, so I will definitely be back… just need to add Thailand back to my bucket list 😉
Has anyone else been to Thailand? If so, where have you been? I’d love to hear about your travels!