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Reviewed February 3, 2012

This review starts out negative, but turns positive, so please at least skim the whole thing if you want the full picture of the sanctuary.

I should preface this by saying that I am a person who likes the comforts of home. I hate camping and "roughing it." So if you are like me, be aware -- this place is rustic! That goes for the whole of Haad Tien, to be honest. I didn't stay in this area for long because it was difficult to find a place with hot water and a flushing toilet. For 2200 bhat a night (about $60US), I got hot water and a flushing toilet at the sanctuary, but I also got a bungalow with no air con and big open spaces in the walls and floor for critters to crawl in. Sure, there's a mosquito net, but I'm a city girl -- I don't want to hear bugs flapping around my head whlle I'm trying to sleep at night. I wasn't prepared for this. After the very difficult journey to this island (see other reviews about taxi boats and jungle treks), I was exhausted and already a little freaked out, but I had signed up for a yoga course nearby and wanted to make the best of it. So...

After settling in, I had dinner at the sanctuary's restuarant, which was excellent. I have to say that the food at this place is great. Then I headed back to my bungalow to get some sleep. I was nervous because I was basically walking through the jungle in the dark to get back to my room. As soon as I opened my door and turned on the light, a huge moth came flying out at me from inside my room. Not cool! After the long day I'd had, this sent me into a panic. I actually had a panic attack. I ran back to the restaurant. My semi-calm request for wi-fi quickly turned into hysterical sobs.

I talked to a man named Crispin, I think he is one of the managers. He was so wonderful. He helped me connect my iphone to reception's computer so that it could charge up and i could use wifi to call my family on skype. After I calmed down, the owner came and talked to me. I didn't get her name, but she was also wonderful and so understanding. It would have been easy to be judgemental and dismissive of a person who just didn't like bugs, but she wasn't like that at all. She upgraded me to a concrete suite with air con and TV and no bugs of any kind! I was so grateful for this. I was able to at least get some rest over night, and then i immediately left for the more modern and touristy Koh Samui the next morning.

So in conclusion, the sanctuary is a beautiful place with a great restaurant and incredibly warm-hearted staff, but you will pay top-dollar for the comforts of home. If you don't mind roughing it a bit, then I highly recommend it. But if you want air-conditioning and no bugs in your room, you're better off skipping koh Phagnan all together! Stick with Koh Samui instead.

Finally, I'd like to say a big thanks to Crispin and the other people at the sanctuary who helped me through my city girl crisis!

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank jensekat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2012

Thoroughly enjoyed my two week stay here and it really made a difference. Have been finding it impossible to lose weight for months - yet since doing the detox programme, I have lost weight and that has continued since going back home. Feel much healthier, in general.
It's been a combination of the fast, advice from Sarah and Kimmana and the information available.
It's a lovely, laid back place - delicious food, friendly staff - Bow, Sam, William etc. Didn't expect to socialise so much with the other guests - came alone - but spent many happy afternoons and evenings chatting away in the hammocks or swimming in the sea.
Felt better than I have in years after my stay here - mentally, physically and emotionally. It's a wonderful present to give to yourself.
Did yoga for the first time with Ben and loved that. Ben was incredible - he paid attention to everyone in his class, whether we were 'good' at yoga or not. I only wish he had a dvd.
Yes, the party was really loud on the Friday night, but I amazed myself by getting up at dawn and going to it. Had plenty of time to sleep and rest, so I actually quite enjoyed it.
Was pleased that I was able to stay in a dorm, for 200 bahts a night, as I went here at the end of a long trip around the world, so it was nice not to have to pay too much.

Stayed: November 2011, traveled solo
1  Thank Becca19_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2012

Highly recommend if you are looking for a chill out place with awesome food, great people and a stellar level of service! Staff always happy specially Sam at the restaurant who is a super star!)

My experience at the Wellness Center was wonderful. Mr Moon and Bow exceed my expectations with their outstanding level of services, care and understanding during my detox.
They made me feel very welcome and special. It was a truly healing time.

I will definitely be coming back and telling all my friends about it.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank Projector79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2012

We've stayed a lot at The Sanctuary over the years. We were sorely disappointed with our stay over the Christmas/New Year holidays. The place is looking extra-shabby. Rooms are not well kept. The shared space is dirty. The food has become mediocre, and it takes forever to arrive. The people who show up and hang out between Haad Tian and Haad Yuan tend to be stoned most of the time, and there's this adolescent feel in the air. Guests who go seem to only care about when and where the next party is happening, so they can take ecstasy, mushrooms, or get drunk.

Speaking of parties, a bar adjacent to The Sanctuary had a party with loud house music that went on for three nights straight. We couldn't sleep. And when we complained to the manager of The Sanctuary, he said he could do nothing about it given the fact that the bar was owned by someone else. Totally helpless.

If you're looking for a stoner, druggy hang-out spot, this is the place for you. If you're actually looking for a vacation, go somewhere else.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Chad H
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 reviewResponded January 27, 2012

Hi Chad .I am sorry that you felt this way & agree with much of your thoughts .The extended xmas and new year noise along with this vibe is not what the sanctuary wants either and we are working on these issues ., Added to this the weather at the time made for difficult conditions.
Thank you for your feedback , Mike

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2012

The Wellness Center staff, led by trustworthy Moon, couldn't be more welcoming if they tried. From the moment you slip off your flip-flops, climb the wooden stairs and enter the open air Wellness Center - you are transported to feelings of a healthier lifestyle and detoxification even before you start the cleanse. Thanks to Mister Moon and staff - these initial feelings are quickly substantiated once on the detox - by daily clay shakes, what feels like a billion supplemental pills, nightly family dinners around the cushion friendly wooden dining table and the ol' daily colonic. If even a daily self-administered colonic can be enjoyable - then they must be doing something right over there!!

My boyfriend and I are both still glowing from the experience: lovely people, fabulous international new friends to keep in touch with, and healthy insides.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank DanyaAnthony G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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