So are you interested in doing some yoga on Koh Phangan, Thailand? Looking after yourself and eating good, nourishing vegetarian and vegan food? Look no further! Our guest blogger Anna from Hammock stories shares some of the best yoga schools on Koh Phangan along with some lovely restaurants offering vegan food for the health-conscious yogis.
Best yoga schools on Koh Phangan
This yoga school is more centered around healing and self-development rather than yoga’s physical aspect. The schedule is really versatile and there is always something to do, whether it be yoga, movement therapy, such as dancing, heart circles or theory classes.
I had my first Kundalini yoga class here and liked it, though I’m quite a hardcore ashtangi. Then again, to be honest, some of the other classes weren’t so much to my liking. I would recommend coming here with an open mind and see how you feel.
The location is lovely, in Haad Chao Paow, next to Sri Thanu. The retreat is at a beachside location and they have a wonderful ‘quiet spot’ there where you can sit after a class and just watch the ocean and waves going by. On the beach/garden, you can do some slacklining as well. There is no actual beach for sunbathing per se but this can be found just a few minutes on your left. There is a restaurant on the premises and numerous vegan/vegetarian restaurants nearby.
Samma Karuna has gotten really high scores from the teacher training testimonials and they run a volunteering program so you can start practicing instructing straight away after your teacher training. In my opinion, this is very good because if you don’t start practicing/teaching straight away, the whole idea of doing it becomes more daunting later on.
If Ashtanga is your favourite style, then this place might be the one for you. They do have Hatha as well but the emphasis is more on Ashtanga. This is a bit farther from Sri Thanu but not that far really, perhaps less than 10 minutes with a motorbike towards Chaloklum. In this area, there is not much else, except a few local Thai eateries and the amazing sauna so. The sauna, called the Dome is definitely worth checking out by the way! A truly magical place! Anyway, there is a restaurant at the Yoga Retreat so you don’t have to move anywhere if you live in. Otherwise, I would recommend getting a motorbike for moving around the island.
They have a detox program at The Yoga Retreat but I came here only for Ashtanga. A good friend of mine stayed here for a few weeks during the high season and she enjoyed it. Apparently, it gets very busy during that time so better book in advance. The classes are very affordable also if you buy a package, eg. 20 classes 4000 baht.
I’ve lived in here once a few years back when I did my Reiki 1 and some yoga. Last year I did Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training which I really enjoyed. Orion has become bigger over the years and they have 3 yoga shalas now and hence, a lot of different classes to choose from, eg. Hatha, Aerial, Vinyasa flow and deep-diving Master Classes.
The detox programme is quite popular and I have met people who have been really happy with the results. Just last time I remember there was a guy who joined our raw food cooking class during the TTC (teacher training course). He had lost a lot of weight, felt very healthy and his diabetes seemed to be nearly gone.
The food at the restaurant/cafe is delicious but, similar to many other health-conscious eateries, it is quite pricey. Nevertheless, it is well worth a visit, even if you wouldn’t be doing your yoga or detox here. The raw food class was interesting as well and they are organised on and off and by request. Numerous other courses run frequently as well, such as Reiki, Crystal Healing and so forth.
A lovely yoga school run by Sunny who is the only Thai yoga teacher on the island (plus here new proteges to be exact). It is not such a massive place compared to the previous ones but it has expanded quite fast recently and is becoming more and more popular. There are a few different classes but the most popular one is Sunny’s own Hatha Vinyasa in the mornings.
The new shala has got a lovely location, on a hilltop, surrounded by jungle and another one has also popped up, with nature vibes. Sunny Yoga doesn’t have a cafe or a hang around place like the other schools do but there are a few bungalows for rent.
You are still very much close to Sri Thanu’s shops and cafes, they are only about 5 minutes away by walking. Next to Sunny you have also The Green Gallery (for vegan food and entertainment, such as live music and Latin dances, not with alcohol though), Papaya massage (very good Thai massage) and the infamous (you can Google and see for yourself what it’s about) Agama Yoga campus with its vegetarian restaurant on the premises.
There are an abundance of vegetarian/vegan restaurants in Sri Thanu nowadays. No-one needs to suffer from monotonous or boring food because they are vegan. It comes with a slightly higher cost though. Thailand has got heavy export taxes and the price shows in the product. Moreover, meat substitutes and healthy, highly nutritious food is not cheap anywhere else either. If you visit the island for a few weeks or a month, it’s probably ok but in the long run, it can become costly (unless you are quite well-off). Anyway, here are 3 cool restaurant suggestions, totally worth checking out!.
This place is just opposite to Samma Karuna and it’s a very cozy restaurant. They have quite a few shelves of books, full of interesting yoga, Hindu, new age books and so on. The only problem is that you can’t borrow them. You can only read them on the premises.
They have a very versatile menu so you could have your breakfast, lunch or dinner here. Food is tasty and nutritious vegetarian and vegan food. In addition, you could enjoy a cup of coffee with something sweet, such as a banana cake if you want to grab just a coffee.
A relatively new restaurant in the heart of Sri Thanu. This is is apparently a “chain” restaurant as they have eateries in Chiang Mai and Phuket as well. I liked the garden-setting interior and the tables are scattered around so you can have private conversations as well.
My friend said that in her opinion, the quality varies. I’ve eaten here only once and I thought the food was good. The menu has got interesting vegan dishes, both salty and savoury. I had the tortillas and they were very tasty. I will definitely come here again. In addition, the menu is very long, so you have many reasons to keep on coming back.
If you want good ayurvedic food in Si Thanu, then this is the place to go. The lunch buffet is excellent and good value for money (1o0b/plate and 150b all you can eat buffet). They have different recipes so you can visit it on consecutive days as well. Buffet includes dahl/beans, sabji (cooked vegetables), salad, pickles, chapati and chutney.
They have different drinks, such as tea (according to different ayurvedic body types), chai, kombucha, fresh coconut but also smoothies, juices and soda if you don’t want to drink anything too “extraordinary”. If you want to finish off your meal with something sweet, you might try a bliss ball or a piece of vegan cake. Or perhaps some vegan chocolate that they have on sale, in addition to some other groceries.
Anna is a blogger from Finland who has always had a thirst for travel. She has been coming to Thailand for a long time, spending some cold, European winter months here and checking out the yoga and healthy food scene. You can find out more about Anna and find out more about her here.