The Sanctuary in Koh Phangan

I've written about eco-lodges aplenty on here, and now there's one more to add to the list. Up there with the ranks of Black Sheep Inn, Secret Garden, Bahay Kalipay, Playa Escondida, and Earth Lodge, is a tiny tropical oasis on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand called 'The Sanctuary.' After what felt like an eternal bout of food poisoning in Myanmar this summer, a vegan yoga detox retreat was just what I needed.

Hired a local speedboat to jet me out to Haad Tien

First of all, Koh Phangan has a reputation. Heard of the Full Moon Party? Aka Spring Break: Asia Edition? That's on a beach called Haad Rin, which I purposely avoided like the plague. I spent my time scuba diving in Chaloklum on the north end of the island, and then took a boat to Haad Tien, home of The Sanctuary. It's unreachable by road, which adds to its appeal.

Approaching The Sanctuary from the water

Oh. my. god. the characters! Haad Tien is part of a string of 3 beaches that can only be reached by boat and they are a roost of yogis, hippies, healers, and wonderful weirdos. Impromptu beach parties pop up, but the vibe is completely different from what is happening on Haad Rin, only ten minutes away. Everyone in the area always has a big smile on their face (especially those who are on the last day of a fast). Many of the people at The Sanctuary are there for an extended stay, and I wish I had had a month to devote to the area as well, rather than the ten days I spent there. You can tell these peoples connections run deep.

You'd have to try NOT to make friends here

A party on the next beach over- Haad Wai Nam
Ten minute walk from The Sanctuary

I chose to hike around the area a bit and leave The Sanctuary for occasional meals, but many guests just settle in and nest at the retreat. With multiple restaurant options, movie nights, a spa, healer's 'tea temple,' 3 yoga studios, daily meditation classes, open mic events, varying workshops, all on a stunning beachfront property, why leave?

Jungle and beach view from my pedicure chair

This beach pup followed me around for days

My stay there was deeply relaxing and comforting. I woke up every morning in my jungle top bungalow and opened the sliding glass doors to an orchestra of birds. After the 8 AM yoga class, I would lounge around in my hammock reading for awhile before going down to breakfast. During my time there, I took a workshop of feminine creative energy and wrote a slew of new songs on my ukulele. I practiced a style of meditation called yoga nidra that was new to me, but which I have now incorporated into my normal routine.

My luxurious bungalow quickly felt like home

The view every day inspired some epic naps

As the days passed by, The Sanctuary began to feel like home. Guests faces began to familiarize and the staff learned my usual lunch order. The creatures occupying the jungle around my bungalow begin to comfort me. Each day at The Sanctuary is an opportunity to follow your bliss, whether that is to unwind and melt into a lounge chair on the beach, or put yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new in a workshop or class. You can opt for a yoga or detox package, or just pick and choose extra sessions as you go.

Some of the salad options

Fish nuggets with cashews at the main Sanctuary restaurant

This was definitely the most luxurious eco-lodge I've stayed in, and I never once felt like I was 'roughing it' at The Sanctuary. Whether you want to go full hippie, or just disconnect from the rush of city life, The Sanctuary surely has something for everyone.

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