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Have a nice break from all the crazy holiday happenings and commercial onslaught by joining this special Christmas and New Year fitness and yoga retreat in Koh Samui, Thailand. Besides yoga practices, core strength work, and cycle classes, you will experience magical flute music, concerts, tea ceremonies, and ecstatic dance. Come and really enjoy a genuine holiday break from the ‘holidays’.
During the retreat, you will be staying at Samahita Retreat. Situated on Laem Sor Beach, Samahita Retreat is surrounded by towering coconut trees in a quiet, spacious area, with incredible sunrises and sunsets that play with the colors of the water, sand and tropical fauna. Only a few hundred meters away is the well-known Laem Sor Pagoda, which houses the remains of Leung Poo Daeng, a realized monk. The only other structures in the area are villas privately owned. As such, Samahita’s beach is private and virtually undisturbed, creating a beautiful, peaceful setting for you to enjoy your Thailand yoga holiday retreat.
As this side of the island is protected by a natural reef, there are only some parts of the year when the beach directly in-front of Samahita is high enough to swim. When the tide is low during the summer months, you might prefer to take long swims in the center’s saltwater swimming pool or swim out to deeper water through the boat channel.
The main shopping areas are still within easy reach, about fifteen to thirty minutes away by car or motorbike and Samahita Retreat’s gentle setting inspires long, refreshing walks on the beach or through the meandering back roads.
The retreat center is forty-five minutes away from Koh Samui airport, and taxi drivers will know how to get to Laem Sor. Directional road signs will also guide you to Samahita Retreat as you begin to approach. Nonetheless, it is recommended that you book a taxi pickup with Samahita, just to be sure.
The rooms are set back from the main retreat, perfect for quiet contemplation and relaxation. The eco-friendly buildings make use of cross ventilation, natural lighting, rainwater harvesting, and solar power. There are rooms for couples and singles, as well as loft-style accommodations that are ideal for families or two people sharing.
Regardless of which room you stay in, the yoga shala, restaurant and lounge, swimming pool, and beach are only one minute away. You can see the ocean from some of the balconies in the top level rooms.
The room features approximately 35 square meters of personal space, which includes a private balcony. The room has a queen-size bed with individual reading lamps and personal built-in shelf space at the headboard. Also included is a large writing desk, bookshelves, storage cabinet that can be locked and can accommodate even large laptops, hot-water kettle, medium-sized fridge, built-in wardrobe with sufficient space for luggage, ceiling fans, and air conditioning. It also has fully equipped bathroom with large shower area and room for clothes hanging and drying.
You can enjoy approximately 25 square meters of personal space, including a private balcony. The room’s features include a queen-size bed with individual reading lamps, writing desk, bookshelves, lockable storage cabinet, hot-water kettle, medium-size fridge, built-in wardrobe, ceiling fans, and air conditioning. The bedroom section of these rooms is private and includes a dedicated entrance as well as direct access to a fully furnished bathroom, which is shared between two rooms.
The room features approximately 50 square meters of personal space, which includes a private balcony. The room is split-level, with a loft. Each bedroom has its own private space. There is a fully equipped bathroom shared by both bedrooms. Some of these rooms are equipped with an outdoor rain shower. Each bedroom has a queen-size bed with individual reading lamps and a personal built-in shelf space at the headboard. Also included are a large writing desk, bookshelves, storage cabinet that can be locked and can accommodate even large laptops, hot-water kettle, medium-size refrigerator, two wardrobes with sufficient space for luggage, two ceiling fans, and air conditioning.
In this fitness and yoga retreat, Paul and his team will share in the task of teaching and guiding all guests across the range of yoga practices, core strength work, and cycle classes. Yoga and its techniques cover a number of practices that include sitting meditation forms, focused breath work that develops into a pranayama practice, and the physical yoga practice of asana. In addition, as in the YogaCoreCycle program, Samahita Retreat incorporates core strength sessions and cycle work outs. The aim is for you to experience and practice yoga across its spectrum, taking care of the mental and emotional side to the different aspects of the physical.
Every morning involves sitting and breathwork practices. This serves as a platform for all other activities. The physical yoga asana practice will be offered on a number of levels that includes experienced self-practice, guided Vinyasa classes, explorative asana classes, and Restorative afternoon sessions. Weaved into this schedule are different core classes in the morning and afternoon. Samahita Retreat will alternate the cycle classes between silent-sunrise classes to mid-afternoon fun-cycle classes.
As is the case at Samahita, you are free to attend all sessions or choose those that are working for you on a particular day. The intention is for you to feel uplifted and clear in what to practice by the time you end the retreat.
On the first week (December 23 to December 30, 2016), Samahita will place an emphasis on asana practice in the workshops, with more on the philosophy by the second week (December 30, 2016 to January 6, 2017), apt for an understanding to contemplate closing the old year and opening the new, with both weeks focused on the breath. Keeping things fluid, Paul will still entertain questions on all subjects over the different weeks.
There will be a Christmas Eve celebration with special gourmet feast and performances and fundraiser for the local charities. On New Year’s Eve, there will be a special ceremony to acknowledge 2016 and welcome in 2017 as well as a feast and performances. The special ceremony will help you close and heal the past year, setting the energy and intention for the year coming with an impetus to follow through on it. The rest of your time will be a nice break from all the crazy holiday happenings and commercial onslaught.
In addition to yoga practice and optional fitness, this year’s Christmas and New Year’s retreats will be infused with magical flute music, concerts, tea ceremonies, and ecstatic dance, featuring two international guest musicians, Bibi McGill and Raghavendran Rajasekaran, collaborating in kirtans while leading their own unique performances.
There will be special group excursion during the week to some of the natural wonders of Koh Samui or its neighboring islands.
One of Paul's main gifts is to be able to relate the teachings in a very down-to-earth way for the modern seeker. He does not take life or yoga too seriously and as a result, the discussions and philosophical sessions are lively and humorous, helping to explain the meaning behind the practices and philosophy.
This retreat will take place in Koh Samui, a tropical island in the gulf of Thailand that still has long stretches of pristine beaches and unspoiled land. Koh Samui is only about an hour away from Bangkok by air, an hour plus from Singapore, and three hours from Hong Kong. The island has the allure of a remote island paradise but with the accessibility of the region’s most popular destinations.
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Get your taste buds tingling with Samahita Retreat’s fresh and healthy dining. Drawing upon Ayurvedic principals, Samahita source local produce whenever possible to create food prepared with love (and delicious Thai flavours!). During the retreat, you will be served daily full brunch and dinner buffets.
As well as being a tropical haven of beaches, five star hotels, and spas, Koh Samui has a rich Buddhist heritage and is home to many active temples. Only a five minute walk from Samahita Retreat is the Laem Sor Pagoda. With its shining golden tiles and peaceful atmosphere next to the mangroves and the ocean, you can also visit the remains of Leung Poo Daeng, a realized monk and climb up to the Khao Chedi, high on the mountain with breathtaking views.
Wat Kunaram is home to the preserved body of the revered Lung Padaeng, known as the mummified monk as he is still sitting in the meditation position over 20 years after his death. The most iconic Buddha statue on Samui is Wat Phra Yai, or Big Buddha temple not far from the airport, where you can climb the steps up to see the large majestic Buddha. Only a short drive from the retreat center is Wat Ban Plai Leam where you will find is a large selection of intricately designed temples.
For deep swimming, beaches on the north and east of Samui have less reef protection, with Chaweng’s powdery sands drawing in vast crowds of tourists from around the globe. A hub of shopping, nightlife, and entertainment, this bustling metropolis feels like a million miles from the tranquility of Samahita Retreat’s quiet beach. Silver Beach near Lamai is still reminiscent of old Samui with a few family run resorts and restaurants and is a favorite for swimming beach with the locals.
For holiday trinkets and gifts, visit the peaceful and traditional port town of Nathon, or the busier bustle of Lamai. The island’s largest tourist hub is Chaweng which is home to miles of stalls and stands selling everything from carved elephants to buckets and spades. Feel free to barter and be aware that many of the clothes and handbags are counterfeit. For beautiful high quality hand crafted Buddha statues from Thailand and Burma, visit Double Dutch next to Big Buddha temple.
Join an organized tour from Samahita and the long tail boats (with shade) will collect you right in front of the shala and whisk you off to the peaceful tropical islands of Koh Matsum and Koh Tan for snorkeling and relaxing. Enjoy the stunning islands of the Anthong Marine National Park on a fun packed day trip, made famous by Alex Garland as the setting for his novel, ‘The Beach’.
You can swim, snorkel, and visit the park headquarters on a beautiful white beach and climb to the view point for a breath-taking panorama, before lunch and a visit to the emerald lake. Discover the best dive sites in the region with the award winning 100 Degrees East Samui Dive Team on board their 35 feet dive speed boat.
See the sights of Samui with Mr. Ung’s full day magical jungle safari. From temples to waterfalls, monkey shows to traditional rubber tapping, these highly professional and experienced guides will show you the best of the island from their iconic four-by-four jeeps.
For those interested in learning more about Thailand’s martial art, Muay Thai, visit the Muay Thai camp in Lamai. And if you’re a lover not a fighter and you want to see some Thai dancing, it is available at many of the islands hotels and restaurants. However, the fine dining and romantic atmosphere at Zazen in Bophut is a lovely setting to enjoy this beloved art form.
To discover authentic Thai food not far from Samahita, you can take a taxi ride to Nuch Green Talay in the fishing village of Tong Krut for delicious curries, seafood, and friendly service. For lunch with a view, there is nowhere more magical than the Jungle Club, with tasty food served in bamboo salas on the mountainside overlooking the ocean.
With over 1,000 feet of bouncy castles, tunnels, slides, and swings, children under eight can burn off steam at Fairways, the islands first soft play center while parents relax in the coffee shop downstairs. It costs 100 THB per child and is open seven days a week.
Children and adults also can get up close and personal with a range of tropical birds and animals at Paradise Park Farm. High on the mountain of KhaoPom with panoramic views of the ocean and tropical jungle, there’s also a playground, infinity swimming pool, and restaurant.
Combine your retreat with a health or wellness spa add-on program to make the most out of your stay. You are invited to enjoy rejuvenating massage and treatments at an exclusive rate. It is recommended that you book your health or wellness spa add-on program in advance as much preparation work is required and space is limited.
Please book your flight to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) where you will take another flight to Samui Airport (USM). Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways fly directly to Koh Samui from Bangkok. They operate flights every hour daily and you can book your flights directly online. One-way flight is around 4000 THB.
Transfer from and to Samui Airport (USM) is available upon request. The rate for the airport transfer service is 942 THB (one way) per person or family.
The trains to Surathani (which actually stop in Phun Phin, 14 kilometers west of Surathani) leave from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station. The 6:20 p.m. (rapid) and the 7:15 p.m. (express) trains are most convenient, as they arrive at 5:28 a.m. and 7 a.m., allowing you plenty of time to catch an 8 a.m. boat to Koh Samui. The bus and ferry journey will be an additional three hours once you’ve arrived in Surathani. Songserm offers a joint ticket (train, bus, and boat) for around 1,300 THB B, which lands you in Koh Samui by 11 a.m.
The tickets for the train can be booked at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok Railway Station, and many travel agencies in Bangkok. To purchase your train tickets in advance, Asia Discover Thailand can arrange for the tickets to be mailed or to be picked up at your Bangkok hotel. Allow at least one month before your departure date to arrange for train tickets.
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