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Reviewed August 26, 2008

I looked at quite a few spa/detox places in Samui and Koh Phangan. The sanctuary sounded really peaceful so after paying a £50 deposit I made my way there from London.

After 2 flights and 2 boats I finally arrived. I had booked the Thai bungalows for fasters but decided that due to the heat...I wanted to spoil my self and go for the air con villa room. I don't regret it but if you're backpacking or staying longer the Thai style rooms are lovely and no -one staying in those complained - all though it is a cold shower!

After speaking with Moon the Wellness centre manager, we agreed I could start my fast in a couple of days after eating raw food for a couple of days. There was a mix up with my starting but they sorted it out immediately and I finally started the programme. Everything is so well organised.

There are so many other people besides staff who also give you tips on what to expect.

I still can't believe that other than minor hunger pangs before the nightly broth, I didn't get hungry at all.

My first colonic wasn't all that pleasant but I ended up loving the colonics (yes - indeed). It's a great feeling afterwards to know that you've cleaned yourself out and you feel so much lighter.

I loved the 8am yoga and found i could get up early no problem - something I struggled with back home!

I took the full package with yoga and spa so made the most of the treatments. I really really recommend the bali body scrub - pure bliss. The dry skin brush followed by sea salt scrub is also amazing.

I didn't think the massages in the Sanctuary spa were great - too light and most people there agreed. There are some amazing massages around - either on the beach or in Had Rin, as well as the famous Simba (on the way to Had Yuan). He's expensive (1000 baht) but I heard people raving about the massage afterwards.

Overall, the setting, the staff, the programme (I did the 7 day fast), is absolutely brilliant. It's such an amazing chilled out place. Nothing like I've ever seen before. The place attracts a mixed bunch - I made friends with people from all over the world and there were plenty of spiritual people and plenty of professionals looking to chill out.

There was so much support and camaraderie amongst the fasters which was brilliant.

Each person has a different experience and symptoms but I found the fast quite easy to do. Other than getting kind of tired on the 3rd and fourth days, my 5th and 6th days I felt amazing and really down on my 7th day. I positively shone when I finished. I'm quite petite and weighed 53 kilos. I lost 3 kilos in the first 2 days. Think this was all water...it wasn't until I got home that I realised I'd lost 4 kilos/8lbs and all my clothes are too loose!

Quite a few people didn't feel too high in their 7th day but i promise, you leave feeling undescribably good.

All of the staff were absolutely brilliant. I've read some things about the payment system on other reviews - I had no problem but I think if you keep an account yourself, just review your tab every couple of days and there should be no problem.

Top Tips:

- Relax during the colonics and rub your tummy. Music helps!

- Don't lie on a hammock all day - you'll just feel lethargic. I went to Had Yuan, Had Why Nam and Had Yao.
Had Yuan is a bigger beach, 10 mins walk to the right from the sanctuary.
Had Why Nam is a 15 min walk to the left and completely peaceful and stunning.

Best by a mile is Had Yao. A short boat ride past Had Why Nam. It's like the bounty ad. Unspilt and just the most beautiful isolated spot I saw on the whole island.

Don't bother venturing north to Thang Nai Pan - i heard it was lovely but actually was nothing special.

- The morning shake is hard to drink with no juice. if you walk to the wellness centre while they're setting up at 7am, they'll give you a coconut water. Take it to your room and mix with your shake and it's much easier to drink!

- Don't worry about losing weight - you will!

- Don't stress about feeling symptoms/not feeling them - everyone has different feelings when fasting.

- bali body scrub at the spa

- The weight shifter juice at the Sanctuary restaurant - amazing!

- Either watch a film in the wellness centre or popover to the the restaurant where they also show films.

- Moon or the staff will pack a little fasting lunch for you when you want to go off to other places.

- the mosquitos are bad - take lots of spray!

- Even if you're fasting, pop over to the full moon party for a nose and you'll come back loving Had Tien even more!

- wash your colonic stuff and empty the bowl for the staff who put everything away for you!

I have nothing bad to say about the Sanctuary. It was one of the best holidays I've had. I've come back to work glowing with so many compliments from family and friends.

I will most definitely be going back.

- When you first arrive in Thailand, the taxi and boat drivers do try and over charge. Just be firm and only pay 150 from Had Rin to Had Tien unless on your own in a boat - 250.

Other than that, not a bad word can be said. I heard someone mention a bad smell from the pool/pond they have. I coudn't smell it to be honest.

I do wonder why they have that pond but I guess it must be there for a reason.

A once in a lifetime experience...

Date of stay: August 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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3  Thank miumiu1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 31, 2008

I was planning on doing a detox in Spain, but having met one of the yoga instructors from the Sanctuary in my neck of the woods I decided to nose at the website. In terms of cost, I couldn't believe how cheap it was going to be. Two weeks in Spain, or a month in Thailand.....
Hmmmm. No contest.

So I packed my bags and headed off. I decided to go "Posh" and opted to be collected at the airport and whisked off in a private Speed boat and dropped on the shore at the Sanctuary. Here My bag was lifted from my shoulders and I was escorted to reception and then to my room. Oh what Bliss. A HUGE bed, fan, sea view, and the most amazing bathroom built into the rocks.

All the advice I received on email before I left was accurate and helpful, and later discovering what the internet connection was like out there, heartily impressed by the speed of response!

A week of pure unadulterated nothingness then helped my first week to pass, with the aid of a good book, daily yoga with the fantastic Ushma and Luiz, and a good go at everything on the pre cleanse menu. The food is second to none and I enjoyed everything put in front of me. The staff all made me feel like a princess and most guests were of a like mind, there to recuperate, re-group themselves and heal mind, body and soul.

After a spit test on Sunday I then started my detox and giggled like a school girl at Moon's instruction on how to do the Colonic. But the first one over, I wondered what all the fuss had been about and it soon became my best friend twice a day, and the originally disgusting thought of going through my poo with a pair of surgical gloves, soon turned into the highlight.

The shear joy of talking to a load of other people doing the same thing is also a heartening experience and talking about Poo, Sex and Food with a load of strangers was quite a humbling! (yes you know who you are - Strangers no more I fear!)

After the week of Clay shakes and large herbal supplements was over, and a loss of one stone in weight, I was ready to don a new bikini and hit the beach again to show off the new body. The post cleanse was also very important and who knew about the effects of eating food on the system? How amazing to feel the different foods and what they do to you and how your body reacts when your internal organs have been cleansed, polished and jump started into action.

Thanks to everyone in the Wellness Centre. Moon your chats will stay with me forever and your face appears in my fridge whenever I reach for something naughty.....also to the team of bathroom cleaners who are always smiling and laughing, singing and enjoying life. You guys all rock.

Back up to the Sanctuary and another fantastic room, ok, so more steps to this one, but after 2 weeks of yoga and dancing on the beach, I was ready for it (kinda). Friday night then came and Guys Bar kicks on at around 11pm. It's just along the beach and you can't beat it, so best to join it. 3 awesome DJ's with great music, and a bar, where no one cares what you look like or how badly you dance, and my Friday nights will never be the same again.

Then of course, if you go to Koh Phangan, your visit wouldn't be complete without the obligatory Full Moon Party. And what a party it is. Go there, dance and enjoy yourself. Think I lost more weight there too!

Then of course, my last week, back on all the right foods and able to sample the fantastic food of the Sanctuary chefs, and hats off to them. It might be a wee bit more expensive than other places, but the portions are huge and the quality was perfect without exception. When is the recipe book coming out?

The whole place is run on a tab system, whereby you mark everything off to your room. I would only suggest to those who are on a budget to clear it every day or pay it with cash as you go. If you are going to quibble over it then carry a pen and paper to mark down what you buy and when. I have to say though that the system was perfect for me and I appreciated not having to carry money everywhere, and I paid of my bill at the end of the month no problems.

A huge Thank you to Mike, Sara, Ta, Dae, Nui, Ott, Jacky, Katy, Joe, and all the other staff, including those behind the scenes claening the rooms and keeping the jungle looking so beautiful. I felt as though I was treated like a princess for my whole stay and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It probably isn't for everyone but it caters for about 96% of people.

Take your mozzie rep, don't be scared of the wildlife that you will encounter and enjoy the food. Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Emily.

Date of stay: July 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank emilyinafrica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2008

This place is a must to visit if you are at all interested in your health and wellbeing. I spent almost the whole month of June here and I completed a 14 day cleanse. I travelled to The Sanctuary specifically to do their infamous cleanse and I was not disappointed. Everything is prepared for you and the staff make everything so easy. Help is on hand if you need it, advice is there if wanted, or if you want to just chill and read a book then you can, undisturbed. There is a steam room built into the rock, scented with lemongrass and cinammon - mmm, heaven! There's a spa offering everything from Traditional Thai Massage to their delicious Bali Body Scrub. With the prices being so cheap, it is a must place to visit every day. It was so lovely that it was hard to drag myself back to my family and friends at the end of the trip! I will be going back as soon as I possible can. I travelled out there on my own and I felt so safe the whole time. The Thai people are terrific and all the staff at the Sanctuary are so helpful, especially Moon. What a great guy he is and such a source of information and inspiration. I can't wait to go back next Jan/Feb.

Date of stay: June 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank PamelaYoung67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2008

I can't believe that the Sanctuary resort Ko Phangan has been around so long and I havent visited sooner. I recently spent a few weeks in the resort, even though i only planned to stay a few nights.

The resort was a breath of fresh rather than leaving a holiday feeling like I need to hit the gym and shake off those excess pounds, I left the Sanctuary feeling helathier than ever. The food is delicious and nutritious. The menu is really quite inspiring I never knew that healthly food can be so diverse and scrumptious. I enjoyed ever meal ate there, of course the sea view and friendly atmosphere helped.
I had hoped to learn to converse in Thai, but the local staff spoke such fantastic English that I slipped up on that one, and found myself chatting away to the cheery staff throughout my stay.

The accomodation is varried, which was great for me as I stayed longer than planned. I started off in top ended accomadation which had a beautiful ocean view and spacious bathroom with hot water, but found that i really didn't need such luxaries. I spent most of my time on the beach, enjoying the yoga classes, at the spa or socialising in the resturant. Thus, I was perfectly happy with my little bungalow and a hammock in the jungle.

Though the resort is not easy to get to it is so worth the trip to feel that you are living with the nature

1  Thank Elizabethbay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2008

You will love the Sanctuary - and that was my problem too. I had saved up all year for a 6 week trip around Asia. Two days after arriving in Thailand found me at the Sanctuary. I heard about it while camping in France and checked it out here on trip advisor. I booked in advance for a 7 day cleansing and rejuvenation. BUT the place KIDNAPPED me. I ended up staying 5 weeks out of my total 6 away.

The place was so welcoming and friendly. The food was world class delicious (only veggie and seafood) and covered South Thai, North Thai, Burmese, Indian, Italian (it was voted number one Pizza on Koh Phangan) and English and all of it done to perfection. My accommodation was very comfortable and every little detail was thought of and a great view of the ocean as well.

The cleanse really helped me feel better than I ever had before and it probably helped that I did yoga twice a day and lots of steam baths and plenty of massages - all part of a package. After the treatment my days were now spent on one of the three beaches or in the restaurant hanging out with my new friends - I met such a different bunch of people than I would normally meet at home - I met and became firm friends with two semi famous musicians, a carpenter, a cameraman, a captain of a boat and a belly dancer - pretty diverse eh!

The restaurant is to be seen to be beleived - imagine a steep cliff with a canyon running thru it with an avalanche of huge boulders thrown in - then somebody building a multi tiered structure running half way up with hidden nooks and crannies the boulders are like big modern works of art that are part of the bars, kitchen and eating areas - its a masterpiece.

The Thai couple that own it are to be found hanging out on the beach from time to time and are simple fisher folk who struck a deal with a zany English couple. I heard that Alex Garland stayed here and used it for the theme of his book - The Beach. You can see why - its very remote, very quirky and immensely popular.

So my advice to you if you are going on a long trip - go there last or you will get stuck there for the whole duration.

Date of stay: June 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank PK99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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