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“Hippie Haven on Koh Phangan”

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The Sanctuary Thailand
Ranked #23 of 92 Hotels in Ko Pha Ngan
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Hippie Haven on Koh Phangan”
Reviewed August 15, 2011

I had been looking forward to staying here ever since I first read about it. It was recommended to us by a friend who said it’s got a little more to offer than the other resorts on this part of the island. It’s nice because I would still consider it an available option to backpackers on a budget, but the ambiance is really nice.

Not that the accommodations are fancy, but the whole thing about The Sanctuary is that they believe in holistic health and well-being. They have a large vegetarian restaurant (with an extensive menu), a lovely looking spa, several yoga classes and pilates classes daily, free meditation class every day and a healing center that run various workshops as well as a very popular fasting program. I was excited to have access to the vegetarian restaurant and get back into some yoga.

Naturally, a place like this attracts a more hippy-oriented crowd. It was certainly a younger crowd, and it seemed to us that a lot of the folks staying there were perhaps recovering from the full moon party that had taken place a few weeks before. Even though we didn’t make friends with anyone in particular during our stay, it was certainly a very positive and happy atmosphere and it looked like lots of different groups of guys and girls had made friends and were hanging out together. Always a good sign. We're not really hippies at all, but we are from San Francisco so we could dig the vibe for a little while :D.

The Sanctuary offers a wide range of accommodations, from dorms to big houses you can rent with 10 people. We stayed in a modest fan bungalow, that featured a deck and outdoor bathroom (!!). They do have many options for accomodations so you can move up or down in price range to find what works for you. They don't take advance reservations on the smaller bungalows, but they normally have something available so you can come, and move up or down in price range when something opens up-depending on what you need. Just call the morning of and see if there's something available. Even if there's not, there are two other resorts on the same beach who would probably have availability until something opened up at the Sanctuary.

I would recommend staying here if you want a little calmer, more relaxing experience on Koh Phangan and are interested in well being and healthy living.

Room Tip: Go for the fan bungalow in the 700-900Baht range, perfectly fine basic accommodation.
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank TheOccasionalExpat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 9, 2011

Stayed for 10 nights in June this year in the ladies fasters dorm and then the normal dorm and did the 5 day fast. The accommodation in the ladies fasters dorm was very comfortable: 6 bed dorm with partitions between beds, shelves to put your stuff and a place to hang your clothes. The bathroom was outside the room which was a little annoying but overall this was a good room as it had some privacy and allowed me to meet people. When I had finished the fast I stayed in the normal dorm which is over the restaurant. This was very cheap - 200baht a night, very basic but still surprisingly charming. The main reason for this was that the windows faced the sea so there are lovely views and a sea breeze.

One of the best things for me about the sanctuary is the restaurant. It is a vegetarians paradise. So many delicious, healthy options to choose from that it was easy to eat healthily. A great place for anyone wanting to kick start a healthy diet. Previous reviews say it is overpriced. No doubt there are cheaper restaurants on the island but I doubt any come close to the sanctuary for choice of vegetarian options.

The staff at the wellness centre are amazing and the fast was a interesting and worthwhile experience. I also absolutely loved the pilates classes (Neve - name undoubtably spelt incorrectly) is a fantastic teacher. I didn't do any yoga but whilst I was there, there were 3 classes a day and other people raved about it. I also had some good spa treatments

So now for the not so good stuff: having to pay in cash with no ATM in the resort, staff outside the wellness centre were a mixed bag - some were fantastic but there were individuals in the spa, the shop and reception who I didn't find particularly helpful. Service in the restaurant was sometimes slow and internet is expensive (in my view this should be free for those who have bought a spa package). But overall, a great experience and I would definitely go back.

I disgaree with the reviewers who say that the atmosphere was artificial or that the people were pretentious. I met some fantastic people at the sanctuary. While I appreciate it depends on who is there at the time, I think if you are an open minded person who is interested in exploring a more healthy lifestyle, or simply want to enjoy a relaxing break in a wonderful setting, you will enjoy it.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled solo
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Thank macacr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beijing, China
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 29, 2011

I have been here a few times for fasting, reflection, and spiritual renewal and this place cannot be beat. I have been to other "wellness centers" and nothing really compares to The Sanctuary's services and location. The thing that makes this place tower over the rest is the Vibe and energy of the place. It's knowledgeable and friendly staff really put the cherry on that cake which is many times the problem with other spa resorts. It definitely has a beautiful aura about it. Even if you aren't a faster, Haad Thien East is a magic spot to wash away your daily cares. If you are looking for a place of life exploration and maybe even the fountain of youth, you may find it here. Believe me, I live a fast rock n roll lifestyle in a big bustling city which I love but the body and mind needs a rest and clean from time to time....I believe I have found this corner of the world to re-find what sometimes is forgotten in daily life....This place will be my sanctuary from now on.

Jaime W

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
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1 Thank Jaime666
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
Reviewed July 26, 2011

I came to The Sanctuary last July as well and as soon as I left I knew that I had to come back! I generally don't travel to the same place twice but The Sanctuary had me break that habit. The staff and services here are all amazing, accomodating, and knowledgeable. They are so helpful with whatever your needs might be. It is such an amazing place where you can do anything from retoxing to detoxing, from connecting with amazing people or just reconnecting with yourself :) I recommend this place to anyone and everyone, whether your flying solo, as a couple, or as a family!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank SuzanneJansen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ubud
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2011

Weird combination of 'healthy bar', yoga, cleansing and a lot of people with an attitude, very artificial atmosphere..

Room Tip: Rooms are rip off
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank serendiptus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryThailand, General Manager at The Sanctuary Thailand, responded to this review, July 31, 2011
People come here for the healthy menu / bar, yoga , cleansing so I guess they may have a healthy yoga cleansing attitude but i don't think they would call themselves ‘artificial’, quite the opposite I would think We apologise that we could not please you. Mike
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed July 26, 2011

The Sanctuary is a very special little resort in Thailand. For several reasons.

Firstly, its location. The Sanctuary occupies one side of a secluded bay on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. It can only be accessed by boat (although my partner and I did live life on the wild side a little and took a motorbike there - quite a journey!). It is on the edge of the cliffs, and there is a range of accommodation options scattered up the hill-side and in front of the beach.

Secondly, its food. The Sanctuary has an outstanding restaurant that offers a very diverse range of healthy, fresh and organic food. Whether you're a vegetarian, on a raw food diet, enjoy fresh seafood or planning some dietary changes for before or after a fasting detox - this is the place! The only complaint regularly heard from guests is that they aren't staying long enough to sample the entire menu (I was one of those!).

Next, is the Wellness Centre. There are several detox and wellness resorts in Thailand, and before selecting this place I certainly researched them. I can honestly say that The Sanctuary is unique. Dee, Moon and the staff at the Wellness Centre provide an excellent and well-priced menu of detoxing options and provide complete support throughout the process. I did the 5 day fast - my first - and felt 100% supported throughout the journey. My only feedback was that I would have liked to have a post-fast debriefing session, to learn more about the best ways to maintain healthy eating. However after providing this feedback I was assured that this would be implemented for the future.

The people deserve the next mention - there are some very special individuals at The Sanctuary, and they all make a big effort to learn your name (on the first day) and interact with you throughout your stay. By the end of your trip I became friends not only with the staff, but with several of the guests. It is that kind of place.

The Sanctuary offers a range of other activities during your stay - they have a range of holistic therapists at hand to offer complementary sessions, and the spa staff provide some fantastic treatments.

Highly recommended! (Oh and I lost 4.5kgs in 5 days while on the detox - not my goal by any means, but definitely an added bonus!).

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank Dan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
chichester
Level Contributor
24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2011

Sanctuary life is health, peace and vitality combined. This was my second time having had amazing life changing experiences on my last visit. There are so many inspiring and lovely people here. I lost 12 kilos in weight and met life long friends. You don't need to go to the full moon party as there is a great all night bash at guys in the bay every Friday.

  • Stayed January 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank dplanetzog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Sanctuary Thailand

Property: The Sanctuary Thailand
Address: Had Tien Bay, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand (Formerly The Sanctuary Island Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Thailand > Surat Thani Province > Ko Pha Ngan
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Kitchenette Restaurant Spa Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#9 Spa Hotel in Ko Pha Ngan
#16 On the Beach Hotel in Ko Pha Ngan
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Established in 1991 The Sanctuary is a unique beach front resort offering beautiful houses, comfortable bungalows and budget dorm beds & boasts a 300 + vegetarian and seafood menu & bakery. Offering a diverse Spa menu & Detox fasting center, day trips, Kayaking, snorkelling and our gym to encourage you out of your beach front hammock. An eclectic mix of guests ensures a special beach holiday. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Sanctuary Island Hotel Koh Phangan
The Sanctuary Island Spa

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