Thailand was always going to be a trip of 2 halves. The first being a yoga retreat that I had looked forward to for years. Unfortunately as some of you will know suffering a prolapsed disk at the end of March put paid to me being able to partake in any yoga. I considered myself lucky just to be going on the trip at all. I took a crutch with me to help when I was tired or too sore. And for a photog I went semi camera naked... only 1 body 1 lens.
The accommodation and yoga shala at Thong Nai Pan Noi (on Koh Phangan island) was up a very steep hill & built on about 7 different levels with steep and uneven steps. We only lasted one night as there was just no way I could manage getting up & down that hill every day. So we moved into a wee hut less than 10 metres from the beach. It was very basic but it had air con and was on the flat. The more upmarket resorts were all booked out as we had arrived the week before half moon party. I still struggled a bit with the walk to the village (approx 1/2km) but it was much better than being on the hill. Kim went up the hill to join in the yoga group every day at 5.30-7.30am & 4.30-6.30pm.
I sat on the beach, lounged under a tree, swam and read - or hung out in the air con. We had a more upmarket restaurant next door (left on the photo) called 'Sand in My Shoes' that we enjoyed several times and for breakfast we strolled 100m down the beach to another under the trees. The village had some fab cafés/restaurants as well as several food shacks the size of telephone boxes that managed to produce amazing smoothies; pancakes and pad thai.
Being there for 10 days I got to know the village rhythms and the 3 dogs that frequented the beach. One was clearly owned with a collar and a bell; another belonged to the people who ran the dive school and every day he would wade out to the boat in the hope that someone would take pity and allow him to go as well. The third was a puppy approx 8 months old. Well socialised, friendly and surprisingly obedient considering I didn't know the Thai word for "no". She was obviously fed but not homed as such. "Puppy" kept me company for a bit on most days. I was very careful knowing puppies tend to 'mouth', but one day I was walking along the beach with her jumping around grinning beside me and she collided with my arm. Her sharp teeth scratched deeply enough to draw quite a bit of blood. Oh hell. I had been vaccinated for rabies but I also knew that I would now need a booster shot. The village didn't rate a Doctor or nurse but we were going to Thong Sala in 2 days time so I'd sort it then. Long drama short; I got dropped off at a hospital and 15 min later was sorted. Yeah try doing that at a Kiwi ED unit.
The yoga group went on a couple of day trips to other beaches / properties with yoga facilities.
Both were fabulous but completely different. The Sanctuary was a 40 min boat ride from our village. It had a restaurant full of healthy offerings, various types of accommodation and 4 yoga shalas. The place was crawling with lithe, young, trendy/bendy types plus a much smaller quota of older yogi, hippy type men. You could also make the short sharp climb over the ridge to the next beach. Totally beyond my capabilities but I was reliably informed that it was the party beach and everyone was stoned out of their trees. This tiny bay was fabulous to swim in & had a pontoon with a hammock that we enjoyed swimming out to.