Three Blissful
Yoga and Meditation Retreats
to try in Southeast Asia

Are you looking for a life changing experience? Personal growth in a supportive community? I find there’s nothing better than going on a yoga and meditation retreat.

I’ve found several yoga and meditation retreats during my travels in Southeast Asia which were true hidden gems. Located in picture perfect locations, overlooking the sea, mountains, jungle, or rice paddies. And with great teachers who speak excellent English. Here they are: 

For clarity, I use the word retreat to mean a curated programme of classes. And the ones I attended are geared more towards self discovery and less towards only physical fitness.

This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click them I will earn some pocket money in commission, at no extra cost to you. (Not enough to buy my own yurt or anything.)

Related:

You might also like

Best for Luxury, pampering, extraordinary culinary experience:
Amayen Sanctuary
just outside of Chiang May, Northern Thailand

Amayen is a high-end luxury yoga and meditation retreat in the countryside just outside of Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. (They have a free pickup service from the airport or Chiang Mai town to bring you to the secluded location).

The place is run by founder Miguel Kirjon who ensures a warm personalised welcome. It is the perfect place for de-stressing and being pampered.

The grounds are small but beautiful and very well kept. The yoga hall overlooks rice paddies (see photo below) and the outdoor breakfast area is set next to a stream. 

The organic vegan food is exquisite and beautifully presented. 

Program

The Daily Program includes breathing exercises, innovative visualisation and relaxation techniques, and two gentle yoga classes a day. All classes are optional.

A stay also includes a massage of choice and a visit to explore the surroundings. Plus, a taxi pickup and drop-off service before and after.

Amayen Sanctuary daily program

How much?

$230-310 per day (depending on the type of accommodation you choose) for two people.

The price includes the daily program, accommodation, and all meals.

Accommodation

The Lanna Houses are of a very high standard and well worth the extra money. 

Food

Three exquisite vegan meals (fixed portions) a day.

Plus a daily freshly pressed healthy juice

When to go

Any time. The program is ongoing all year round

3 nights minimum stay. (I would recommend staying 5 nights for maximum benefit.)

Click for more info on their website here

 

Here is a video of how I experienced my stay

Two things I loved while in Chiang Mai where visiting the White Temple and a sustainable Elephant Sanctuary – book your own tours below.
Best for Counselling, personal growth, a feeling of community:
New Life Foundation
just outside of Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand

New Life Foundation is located in the countryside of Northern Thailand near Chiang Rai and the famous White Temple (a few hours bus ride from Chiang Mai).

It was originally set up for people with addiction issues but has now evolved as a centre for anyone, whether you want to take time for self care, reduce your stress levels, or recover from burn out.

This is a yoga and meditation center with a real sense of community. There is a true culture of acceptance and openness. Almost everyone who visits extends their stay – some even for several months. 

Everyone is expected to help with the chores for two hours a day which deepens the sense of community and belonging. Chores could be anything from recycling or organic vegetable farming to cleaning or sweeping leaves. Or if you’re lucky, looking after the ducks!

(But no cooking duties, they have a dedicated team of Western and Thai chefs for that).

Your daily program will vary depending on whether you register as a Resident or as a Guest (or as a Volunteer).

Residents

The program for Residents includes all daily activities including counselling and workshops.

Guests

If you book as a Guest counselling is not included (but can be booked for a surcharge) and you’ll have fewer workshops. Afternoons are free so you will have more time for yourself which can be nice.

Volunteers:

If you book as a Volunteer you have a work shift in the morning as well as in the afternoon. Otherwise you’re free to participate in the program on offer. 

How much?

For Residents:

$48-54 a day (minimum stay: 30 days). This rate includes counselling twice a week and 4 workshops a week. Lower rates in the off/rainy season (May to September): $42-48 a day

For Guests:

$30-36 a day (minimum stay: 7 days)

For Volunteers:

$19-22 a day (minimum stay 14 days)

All prices include accommodation and all meals.

Accommodation

Accommodation is basic but adequate and very clean and all rooms are en suite. 

Food

Three tasty vegan meals a day included (so good I overate almost every meal… watch out for that 🙂)

When to go

Any time. The program is ongoing all year round

Location

Located in large grounds in the Thai countryside near Chiang Rai (a few hours north of Chiang Mai). Near the White Temple, one of Thailand’s most popular attractions.

Minimum stay

7 days if you book as a Guest. 

14 days if you book as a Volunteer (book early, volunteer slots get filled quickly). 

30 days if you book as a Resident.

Click for more info on their website here

Notes

Here is what I posted on my social media during my stay:

The other day I went for a walk by the little lake near the forest hall after we had had the workshop on gratitude and the lake and the sun and the trees and the light, it all looked so beautiful that it made me cry. I had a deep sense of everything falling into place, everything was coming together as it was meant to. 

And then I realised that I didn’t feel embarrassed about crying and I wasn’t trying to hide it. 

I couldn’t actually see out my eyes at that moment but I knew that if anyone saw me they’d just come over and give me a hug. They would ask if I wanted to talk about it or not and either way would be fine. And I knew there wouldn’t be any judgement. That has been the most extraordinary experience for me. I felt like everyone here accepts everyone else as they are. Whether they want to be talkative or withdrawn, extrovert or introvert, laugh or cry. 

And because there’s no judgement I felt I could truly be myself

Related:

You might also like

Traveling to Myanmar (Burma)? Here is why you should visit Mandalay
Learn to Meditate: Popular Types of Meditation (for Beginners)
Yoga Retreats and Spiritual Power Places in Western Australia
Best for Healing, deepening your spiritual practice, a wide range of yoga styles:
Vagabond Temple, 
near Kep, South Cambodia

Vagabond Temple is a yoga and meditation retreat center located just outside of Kep, a small town in South Cambodia.

It is an extraordinary place run by the two founders who are both extraordinary teachers.

Highly trained and experienced, they deliver their classes (such as kundalini yoga, sound baths, philosophical as well as practical teachings) with extraordinary depth, clarity, and joy. 

Their teaching team is supplemented by several yoga teachers offering a range of styles throughout the week. 

Program:

A full and varied program is offered Monday to Friday, comprising two daily yoga classes, a different kind of  community gathering every morning (movement, sharing, chanting…), teachings in the afternoon (each week dedicated to a specific theme), and a session in the evening like a sound bath, Yoga Nidra, or a purification practice. Full and clear explanations are given for each practice.

Weekends are more relaxed with social activities, more free time and a movie being shown on Sunday night. Weekends are often the ideal time to arrive, get over any jet lag, and settle in before the full program starts on Monday.

Additional holistic healing sessions (anything from ayurvedic detoxification to life coaching) can be booked for a surcharge. 

How much? 

6 days (minimum length of stay) $290 – $400 depending on the accommodation, from shared dorms to bungalows. This includes the weekly program, accommodation, and all meals.

Accommodation

The on-site accommodation is in traditional Khmer straw and wooden huts, nestled within the spacious gardens. These are beautiful and have a fan but no air conditioning. In the hotter months (March-May) I would recommend booking one of the modern apartments with a/c which are located a 2 minute walk away. 

Food

Three tasty vegan meals a day, lovingly prepared for maximum nutrition and health. A choice of 4 different herbal teas and fruit is available throughout the day.

Location

Near Kep, Cambodia. Very close to the National Park which has wonderful walks. Also within walking distance of the marina and beach.

The very beautiful Prana Lounge (the communal area) overlooks the gardens and the sea in the distance. 

When to go

Any time from October to May. (The centre is closed June to September.)

Click for more info on their website here

What you must not miss while in Cambodia is Ankor Wat – it’s incredible. You can find tours below.
 
There are also tours around Kep and Kompot but to be honest, I enjoyed these places a lot less.
 
Also, I would advise to avoid Phnom Penh (other than for flying in or out. The airport is fine.)
 

Notes

Here is what I posted on my social media during my stay:

I knew Vagabond Temple was going to be my tribe as soon as I stepped through the entrance gate. I had to zigzag around a guy showing someone else some tai chi moves right there in the foyer. 

Then a guy in his 50s introduced himself saying he was on a gap year just like me – and we agreed that “gap” was completely the wrong word because it was so full and rich. 

After all the formalities where done the receptionist left me with the words, “Anything you need just ask, I’m here for you.” And meant it. 

On my way to my room I picked up snippets of conversation about consciousness, service, being your true self. 

Then it was time for the first yoga class and I felt I was in goddess training. Everyone was so graceful, and so devoted to learning. A sincere dedication to transforming mind and body. What an extraordinary place. 

Now it’s over to you!

If you’ve tried any of the retreats above I’d love to hear about your experience – please comment below! 

And if you’ve found a hidden gem of a yoga and meditation retreat elsewhere I’d love to hear about it. Comment below or head over to my Instagram or Facebook and let me know!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.