The Sanctuary Thailand

Yoga, Healthy Food, and a Great Vibe on the Island of Koh Phangan

The Sanctuary Koh Phangan
Photo by Greg Rodgers

Only 15 minutes away by boat from the party epicenter of Haad Rin on the island of Koh Phangan, the Sanctuary Thailand is the perfect place to escape, detox, and relax with some of the healthiest food you'll find in the Thai islands!

Boutique resort, healing center, holistic epicenter -- the Sanctuary can be whatever you want it to be. From cleansing programs for those who saw one too many Full Moon Parties on Koh Phangan to yoga and spa treatments, you'll find a multitude of disciplines to improve your health and your life.

Alternatively, you can sit on the beach with a drink in hand and enjoy meeting friendly people from all over the world -- you'll never be pressured to participate in the health workshops. The lure of the Sanctuary is the lack of pretentiousness found at other holistic retreats.

What to Expect at the Sanctuary Thailand

First, don't think for a minute that you'll be stuck in an isolated part of the island with a bunch of 'health nuts' -- alcohol and cigarettes are sold at the same counter as organic juices! Part of the Sanctuary's claim to fame is that you can choose your level of participation. From serious cleansing programs and fasting to yoga or simply just enjoying the beautiful grounds and chatting, you'll easily meet friendly people who have come for lots of different reasons.

Simply put, the Sanctuary is huge. You'll find a sprawling compound of accommodation, hangout areas, workshops, and a beach. From cheap dorm rooms to family-sized houses, the wide range of accommodation attracts people from all walks of life including backpackers, families, and luxury travelers.

The beach at the Sanctuary is coarse but suitable enough for sunbathing and swimming.

Workshops and Activities

You'll never be pressured to attend any class, program, or workshop at the Sanctuary Thailand. You simply turn up or schedule the class, give your account number, and participate whenever you like.

Just a few of the classes and disciplines available are:

  • Three-day and seven-day fasting/cleansing programs
  • Many types of massage
  • Many varieties of yoga
  • Tai chi and qi gong
  • Reiki
  • Natural medicine and healers
  • Pilates
  • Meditation (free in the evenings)
  • Full spa treatments
  • Weight loss programs

Workshops are held in beautiful houses with names like 'The Tea Temple' and 'Zen Hall'. When workshops are not in progress, you can hang out in the houses to meet people with the same interests.

Yoga is typically US $10 per 90-minute session, however, you can save money by purchasing seven sessions in advance.

Food at the Sanctuary

While slightly pricey by Thailand standards, the pleasant restaurant at the Sanctuary faces the beach and is renown for a good reason: The vegetarian food and seafood are simply some of the best that you'll find in Thailand.

Alternatively, you can eat at Spice restaurant located on the Sanctuary grounds. The food and ambiance are incredible. Unlike the main restaurant, you'll need to pay in cash at Spice.

Don't expect to be very nocturnal while staying at the Sanctuary! The kitchen closes at 9 p.m. and the bar closes at 11 p.m., although people often stay up later to socialize.

Accommodation

The Sanctuary Thailand has a wide range of accommodation spanning different comfort levels and budgets. The cheapest option is to stay in the very basic dorm (220 baht) which consists of an open area with mattresses on the floor, each covered with a mosquito net. Rooms are available in zorba houses for 350 baht. Larger, more luxurious bungalows and houses are available for families and travelers with higher budgets.

The Sanctuary does not offer advance booking for the dorms and bungalows, only the houses. You must call ahead or simply turn up and take your chances.

Alternatively, you can stay at one of the other cheap bungalow operations in the bay or in Haad Yuan, the bay adjacent to Haad Tien.

Tips for the Sanctuary Thailand

  • You won't find an ATM at the Sanctuary. You can join one of the many daily boats back to Haad Rin usually consisting of people making money runs to settle their accounts; however, keep in mind that the run will cost you 400 baht round trip plus the usual 150-baht ATM fee in Thailand.
  • The Sanctuary does not accept payment via credit card -- plan on bringing a lot of cash!
  • Internet access is available in the internet cafe for 3 baht per minute and paid Wi-Fi via 24-hour code tickets works well in the restaurant and even in most of the rooms.
  • Mosquitoes are a real annoyance around the Sanctuary grounds and dengue fever is a real threat. Management even has to fog with pesticide on Saturdays. Bring lots of spray, coils, and know how to avoid mosquito bites during your stay.
  • A small, family-run shop on the Sanctuary grounds sells snacks, cigarettes, toiletries, and does laundry. Because of the need to bring everything in by boat, prices are higher than you'll see in Haad Rin; bring what you need with you.
  • The grounds at the Sanctuary can be a confusing tangle of accommodation and dark paths. Bring a flashlight with you for getting home after dark.
  • Even if you do not wish to attend, the monthly Full Moon Parties at Haad Rin will affect accommodation and transportation throughout the island for days before and after the party. Check dates for the Full Moon Party.

Getting to the Sanctuary on Koh Phangan

The Sanctuary is located in Haad Tien Bay on the island of Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand, just one hour from Koh Samui and two hours from Koh Tao. The nearest airport is on Koh Samui.

If flying into Koh Samui, grab a 15-minute taxi to Big Buddha pier then take the ferry over to Koh Phangan. You will arrive on the sunset beach side of Haad Rin. Make the 10-minute walk or get transportation to the sunrise beach -- location of the infamous monthly Full Moon Party -- and then grab any of the waiting taxi boats; the boatmen will most likely approach you immediately!

A taxi boat from Haad Rin to the Sanctuary in Haad Tien Bay takes around 15 minutes and costs 200 baht. Your boat may wait on other passengers before leaving.

Contacting the Sanctuary Thailand

Phone ( 9 am. To 6 p.m.): +66 081 2713614

Email: info@thesanctuarythailand.com