Whether you’re already a virtuoso of the sun salutation or you’re still trying to hone your child’s pose, few things are more zen than a yoga retreat. Why not make it a tropical one by jetting off to Koh Samui?
Channelling your inner Buddha and indulging in some much-needed me-time couldn’t be easier on this idyllic Thai island that’s renowned for its peaceful vibe, tranquil temples and sun-soaked beaches. If all that beauty isn’t enough to calm your mind, body and spirit, you’ll be glad to know that it’s also littered with places perfect for a Koh Samui yoga retreat.
We’ve handpicked the best spots for some R&R, in addition to several yoga studios that welcome drop-ins if you’d rather spend most of your time sightseeing or sunbathing. Prefer to practice solo? Skip to the end for a list of dreamy destinations around Koh Samui to lay down your yoga mat and relax.
Koh Samui yoga retreats
If you’re after the full shebang – we’re talking all-day yoga classes, calming meditation sessions and nourishing meals with no alcohol or sugar in sight – you’ll want to check yourself straight into a Koh Samui yoga retreat. There’s a few dotted around the island, but we’d suggest taking a look at:
Vikasa Yoga Retreat
Vikasa is one of the largest yoga resorts in Koh Samui and a haven for those in need of a complete break. Nestled on a hill between Lamai and Chaweng, its entire ethos centres around not just yoga, but embracing a holistic lifestyle.
Retreats here are all-inclusive, with prices covering everything from accommodation and meals to an unlimited number of yoga classes each day. Vikasa’s infinity pool is also pretty breathtaking and overlooks the ocean, plus the retreat’s Bliss Spa offers hour long massages for as little as 810 baht (£20). Always wanted to teach yoga yourself? Vikasa runs regular 200 hour training programmes led by some total pros.
Price: 8990 baht (£220) for a three day retreat.
This yoga resort in Koh Samui is exactly what it says on the tin: a complete oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind.
Absolute Sanctuary lauds itself as Asia’s top wellness hotel – and it certainly doesn’t disappoint with its huge range of options which have all been designed to inject a little bit of zen back into your life.
While a Koh Samui yoga retreat here will set you back a pretty penny, you do get a lot of bang for your buck: infinite classes to suit all abilities, a consultation with a wellness specialist, healthy meals made from organic local produce, a 90 minute massage every day AND a choice of luxurious accommodation options (note that you’ll have to pay a bit more for a double room).
What’s more, Absolutely Sanctuary is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Chaweng Beach if you want to spend a couple of days making the most of Koh Samui’s livelier allures before you head home…
Price: From 58,000 baht (£1400) for an all-inclusive five day retreat.
If you fancy practising your yoga skills under the watchful eye of a master yogi, Samahita is a great pick. The resort right on Koh Samui’s south coast was founded by Paul Dallaghan – a leading expert in yoga – and has built up a reputation with its intense YogaCoreCycle retreats which are designed to simultaneously strengthen your body and switch off your busy brain.
Cycling, yoga and core workouts all sound a little too much like hard work for your annual holiday? Never fear; Samahita runs numerous different retreats throughout the year, including options which focus exclusively on meditation and yoga. If you stick to the signature retreat though, you’ll get bed and board included, plus access to amenities like the beachfront saltwater pool and aromatic steam room. Nice.
Want to know the best thing about Samahita? If you fancy a break from contorting yourself into peculiar poses or firming up those core muscles, sleepy Laem Sor beach is right on your doorstep (and it’s a real gem).
Price: From 13,000 baht (£320) for a three day retreat.
Koh Samui yoga classes
If you’d rather attend a one-off lesson during your Koh Samui vacation, you’re in luck as the island is home to numerous yoga studios with class schedules to suit every ability. Most of the big hotels offer yoga classes too, but they’re sometimes limited to just guests and typically on the pricier end of the scale. Thankfully, there’s plenty of awesome locally run studios to test the water in, including:
Koh Fit Thailand
Just outside central Lamai, you’ll find the gym, mats and swimming pool of Koh Fit Thailand. Moving away from the zen yoga vibes that Koh Samui is known for, the trainers here will absolutely beast you – if you’re game. Yes, you can drop in for a one off yoga sesh, Lululemon garms optional, but you could also sign up for a week of yoga with a side of Muay Thai martial arts on the side. Circuit training and cross training provide an additional dose of keep fit fun. But perhaps the biggest challenge? The Saturday morning beach and jungle workouts. If a 5km hike into the jungle doesn’t push your glutes to the max? Congrats, all that yoga’s really paid off!
Smack-bang in the centre of charming Fisherman’s Village, The Yogarden provides visitors with a little respite from the busyness of the nearby Big Buddha and Bophut Beach. Step through an entrance archway framed by hanging lanterns into a blissful space where teachers host numerous different classes throughout the day. After your yoga session, you can collapse in a colourful beanbag and treat yourself to a tasty vegan treat from the café – the banoffee pie is top notch. Classes start at 500 baht (£12) for a single session or you could go for a day pass at 1000 baht (£24).
Yoga Essential Studio
If you’re picturing yourself perfecting your tree pose while surrounded by leafy jungle, Yoga Essential Studio is the one. It’s situated high up in the hills of Talingkham on Koh Samui’s west side and is only a few minutes down the road from the Tarnim Magic Garden. The open-air studio is run by yoga expert Lex – a Thai native who studied his skill in the US – and mainly specialises in yoga teacher training. Nevertheless, it also hosts daily drop-in classes if you just want to have a wiggle. Remember to laden on the insect repellent and wear light clothing, though, as it gets pretty sweaty…
Not quite a fully-fledged yogi? You might prefer to stash a travel mat in your suitcase on the off chance you fit in a session in between sunbathing and sundowners. Koh Samui has no shortage of beautiful spots where you can rock up with your mat and start perfecting those downward dogs.
Tarnim Magic Garden
Koh Samui’s lush green interiors really are as, well, lush and green as people say. There are waterfalls galore, hills thick with forest and stunning sanctuaries like the Tarnim Magic Garden. Sometimes called the Secret Buddha Garden, it’s a privately-run sculpture park at the summit of Pom Mountain that’s filled with statues of Buddhist gods, wildlife and even the garden’s founder, Khun Nim! The oasis sprawls out along a tranquil river and there’s fantastic views of the valley and the sea below. It’s a bit of a walk down 100 or so steps to reach Tarnim Magic Garden, but worth it to find a quiet spot to sit down cross-legged on your mat and chill.
Angthong National Marine Park
A hotspot for scuba diving, snorkelling and boat trips to backdrops from Leonardo DiCaprio flick The Beach , Angthong National Marine Park north-west of Koh Samui is one of the region’s best-loved attractions. While many of its tiny islands are typically teeming with tourists, it’s still possible to find your own little slice of secluded heaven where you can roll out your mat and enjoy an impromptu yoga session.
Ban Tai Beach
This is one of the few public beaches on Koh Samui where not every inch of it is backed by hotels or crawling with vendors trying to sell you cheap souvenirs. You’ll discover it on the north side of the island and it’s a postcard-perfect idyll complete with swaying palm trees, soft white sand and bobbing fishing boats just off-shore. Make sure you check the tides before you visit Ban Tai for your yoga practice as the sand sometimes completely disappears at high tide…
Maenam may be on its way to becoming one of the best backpacker beaches on the island, but it still offers a degree of peace – especially if you hit the sand early in the morning. Head there at dawn (or an hour or so after if you’re not an early bird) and you’ll find no shortage of coastline to stretch out on and salute the rising sun. What’s more, most of the hostels and hotels at Maenam are set back from the beach, meaning you won’t have to worry about people gawking at you as you flex.