Following my visit to Malaysia, I flew to Phuket to see the island, and mainly to attend the yoga retreat I have been eagerly awaiting for many months. I arrived one week before the retreat, and decided to stay in Old Phuket Town, knowing I would see some of the beaches and sights during the retreat.
After a long line at immigration and a 45 minute drive, I arrived at my small hotel, Green Leaf Hostel. I had a room on the top floor overlooking the street, close to the center of town. Old Phuket Town is known for its Sino-Portuguese architecture, Chinese shrines, and unique culture. Every Sunday there is a weekend night market where the streets are closed to cars and opened up to loads of vendors selling all different types of food, beverages, clothing, and arts and crafts.
As luck would have it, I arrived late on a Sunday afternoon, and went out for a walk to get my bearings. Soon, I came upon the amazing night market filled with tons of energy and happy people. After the markets in Malaysia where I didn’t want to eat hardly any of the food, this was such a treat. With an empty belly, I jumped in and started sampling….I had fresh shrimp spring rolls, a giant tiger prawn, corn, a mango fruit shake, salmon sashimi (I never thought I would want this from a street market, but it was so fresh and beautifully prepared!), and last, a delicious avocado strawberry yoghurt shake! I think I made up for all the food I didn’t eat in Malaysia!
The rest of the week, I took it pretty easy, walking to the boardwalk on the Phang Nga Bay, trying different restaurants, strolling through the beautiful streets, taking a cooking class, and catching up on some studying. Yes, I have been doing a bit of work, taking a photography class, working on my certificate to teach English as a second language, and catching up on my blog posts. On Wednesday night I met Ali for dinner at a nice wine bar/restaurant. She has been my mentor for teaching yoga and is a huge inspiration, as she is traveling full time while running her business (including hosting the yoga retreat I came for!!). She has been living in Phuket for the past year, so I was so excited to hear about her experience!
Finally, the week in Old Phuket Town came to a close and it was time to head to Lan Sabai Wellness Retreat (https://www.lansabai.com/) for my much awaited yoga retreat with Ali and seven other yogis. I was picked up from my hotel, and taken to Lan Sabai. I arrived at the same time as three other guests who were all amazing and had their own unique stories. As we walked through the front gate, we were welcomed into the peaceful oasis, and given a beautiful welcome drink with a fresh orchid flower. This was just the beginning of the beautifully prepared meals we would receive during the week. Behind the restaurant was the yoga space, surrounded with lush plants, a beautiful gong, and several standing mirrors to reflect all of the beauty around the space. Next to the restaurant and yoga space was the beautiful, sparking blue pool and the gorgeous guest rooms.
I was taken to my room on the first floor, which took my breath away the moment I walked in. The far wall was made of sliding glass doors from floor to ceiling which were open and allowing in the fresh air. The room was modern and beautifully decorated with natural fiber baskets, rugs, and accessories, which I later learned were from the Owner’s company called Yoshiko Home. Outside the doors, I had a nice patio with a bench and hanging chair behind the hedge, and a path that led straight into the pool!! Sweet!!! Every detail was so thoughtful and Ali even provided us each with some energy balls, essential oil, an eye mask, and a nice journal.
I had scheduled a facial at the spa on the first afternoon, as it is something I don’t usually treat myself to, and I wanted to do something special to start the retreat off right! It was a 90 minute treatment, and exactly what I needed to disconnect from the city and settle into retreat mode! As the day came to a close, all of the other guests arrived and we sat around the table getting to know each other as night fell.
Throughout the week, we had daily morning yoga classes, followed by afternoon activities, and more yoga/alternate workshops in the evenings. We had some trips out to see a couple of beaches, a hike to a viewpoint, trips to see the Big Buddha and an elephant sanctuary, and on the last night, a happy hour at a beautiful 5 star resort overlooking the bay at sunset. It was a great week with some truly amazing new friends and a sweet rescue dog, Spotty, who joined us for yoga and meals. She made us all feel at home with her loving nudges and kisses!
On the day the retreat ended, my parents were making their way home from a long trip in Australia, and decided to make a stop in Phuket for three nights to visit. I found an AirBnB at Kamala Beach, which is in the center on the west coast of the island. It is just north of Patong, the party beach, and is much quieter and relaxed. We met at the house in the afternoon and after a quick lunch, they went to rest, and I walked up to the market to gather some fruit, herbs, and veggies for our stay. I was so excited to finally have a kitchen so I could share some of the delicious, fresh fruits with them, and make us breakfast in the mornings! There was even a great little bakery with fresh croissants just outside the entrance of the neighborhood!
The time with them went quickly as we kept pretty busy. We spent a day at the beach relaxing and taking a ride on a longtail boat to see the coastline, went to a dinner show called Siam Niramit, which explained the history of the country in a unique exciting to have my first visitors!! Who’s next??
I forgot to mention, when I took the cooking class during my first week on the island, I had a good connection with Judy, the owner of the property, which included a small farm and a boutique hotel. She is a very creative person, and has done all kinds of video, painting and design projects. She has been looking for help with English, so we agreed to a trade where I could stay for room and board and help her and her family with English, and help in the cooking classes, and she would teach me video and we would do art together. Seeing she was a bit disorganized, I had my doubts, but it was a relaxing place, so I committed to staying two weeks with the option to stay longer if things worked out.
After seeing my parents off, I made my way to Judy’s place, Nonnita Boutique Hotel, arriving about 1:00 pm. She had someone show me to my room and said she would be up soon to get me so we could chat….I finally got a call from her at 8:45 telling me I could come eat something. Unfortunately, this was just the beginning of how the majority of the two weeks went. I helped with a few cooking classes and miscellaneous things when she surfaced, but it was impossible to get her to stick to any kind of schedule or plan. After a few days, I just relaxed, did my own thing, and decided things would work as they would. The first week, she was helping with a show at the kids old school, which also included a obstacle course race. I did the race with Porpiang, her 15 year old son, who is very shy and inactive. It was a challenge, but I was happy I could be there do encourage him through it. Afterwards, we got some food at the booths they had setup around the schoolyard, and sat together to watch the show, “The Mask Singer”. First there was a band, and then the show. It was all in Thai, so obviously I missed all the jokes, but it was entertaining to watch, and it was nice to see all of the families out enjoying each other.
While staying at the farm, I was lucky to meet some really great people, including Raissa, a psychic from Tahiti who works with cards and astrology (who also has the most amazing laugh I have ever heard!!!), a sweet couple from Germany, Sophie and Philipp, who love yoga, exercise and travel, and Julia from Russia, who has lived in many places in Eastern Europe and SE Asia. We all connected and I gave a couple of yoga classes and a sound healing session. Raissa read my cards and opened up many good discussions related to astrology. On my last day, Raissa and I had a magical day. She really wanted to try a class at the world famous Tiger Muay Thai training center and invited me to be the photographer. The trainers were great and asked me to do a class picture at the end which was so cool an gained me several followers too :-)! Afterwards, we went to visit Big Buddha for sunset and then had a beautiful dinner at my favorite restaurant in Old Phuket Town, Natural Restaurant. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and we were all brought together to help each other.
As I approached the end of my two weeks on the farm, I came to the conclusion it was time for me to move on. I had been thinking about Bangkok since my visit in November, so I decided to book a flight and use the last two weeks on my visa in this amazing, big city. I will be staying at the same hotel I stayed at before as I have kept in touch with the owner and one of the employees who were both so sweet. They are even letting guests and friends know I’m available for yoga classes!
After Bangkok, I have a fun surprise for my next destination…!!! Stay tuned, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers!
Love and Hugs, Michelle
4 Replies to “A Month in Phuket, Thailand”
It all looks amazing!! So fun your parents were able to share in ur adventures!
P.S. Forgot to say what a wonderful treat it was to connect with you in Phuket. Great choice to stay at Kamala Beach area. The Airbnb couldn’t have been nicer. We were happy that it came with a breakfast chef and a guide. So fun. Thanks Michelle. We love you. M & D
Wow! Awesome read! So glad you got to experience a special more deluxe yoga retreat. Your time at the boutique hotel was another experience you won’t forget. Glad you were able to teach a few yoga classes. Enjoy Bangkok. It’s an exciting and fascinating city with lots to do. Be safe!! Hugs, M & D
I love that your parents came to visit, how fun!! What an amazing experience you are having, lucky!