In need of a getaway that will leave you feeling relaxed, calm and energised? Fly to holistic retreat Kamalaya in Koh Samui for that much-needed holiday
Karin G. Reiter, a nutritionist and fitness instructor based in Singapore, has busy schedule with her clinic, kids, husband, lectures and social life. Like many of us, she needed to recharge her batteries and hit the reset button with yoga, super healthy food and a good night of sleep. So she did what any R&R-starved adult would do: she booked a spot at a wellness retreat – one of Koh Samui’s most famous places to be exact. Kamalaya was the answer, and it was nothing short of perfect. Read on to find out how the rejuvenating trip went down.
Located in the south part of Koh Samui, just over an hour flight from Singapore, Kamalaya Koh Samui was the ideal place to relax, unwind and get my batteries re-charged.
I have been to health retreats around Asia before, but Kamalaya’s reputation goes far and beyond. So it was safe to say that I was really excited for my adventure, right from the friendly welcome of the private car that picked us up from the airport. That was my first interaction with Kamalaya, and I could tell immediately that there’s no detail left unplanned at the resort. A cold towel and a bottle of mineral water later, we were on our way, passing through the various beaches of Koh Samui.
Kamalaya is a place where anyone would feel at home in; yogis and meditation devotees, detox seekers, fitness lovers and even regular mums and dads who just want some peace and quiet.
The resort is set on a seaside hill, lush with dense, tropical forest. You can choose to sleep in hillside villas, ocean view villas or pool villas. We picked a hillside villa, which was simple, clean, and had everything we needed. There was nothing quite like lush green forestry peeking into our view from every window. We fell asleep and woke up to the symphony of the forest – music to any city dwellers’ ear.
Wi-Fi is only available in the rooms and guests are asked to leave their cellphones behind while walking around the resort. This forces you to do a digital detox, which was one of the best aspects of my stay at Kamalaya. You’ll never realise how beautiful nature is when your nose is in your phone all the time!
Kamalaya caters to everyone’s palette; the vegans, the paleo, the raw foodies, the slow foodies. You can even get a decent cup of coffee and wine (in case detox is not what you are here for).
For me, being a nutritionist, this was heaven. The food was served in two main restaurants, both overlooking the lush, green forest and beautiful blue waters of the bay.
If I had to take friends who were not that into healthy food along, they would be sold by the food at Kamalaya. The food was delicious, beautiful and nourishing. Aspects of healing traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine were present in the cooking and the staff were knowledgeable and helpful in helping each guest choose the food that would be recommended for them.
The Relax And Renew Package
The Relax and Renew package saw me doing multiple treatments on a daily basis; yoga, acupuncture, massage (I was given the Ayurvedic head massage to help clear my head), and a facial massage. I also took part in the daily free activities that Kamalaya offers, such as learning about tea from tea master and specialist San Bao, mat pilates, group yoga, meditation and weekly workshops that teach you about natural therapies. You could be as busy or as free as you wish at Kamalaya, but I realise that even though I had a few activities planned throughout my day, I still found time to relax and read by the pool, nap on the comfy couch in the breezy alchemy lounge and have long talks with my hubby – something I never get to do back home.
Top things I loved about Kamalaya
Here’s a rundown on what impressed me most during my stay at Kamalaya:
- Attention to detail: They know that airplane (and even airport) food is nothing near nourishing, so they help prepare a snack bag for you to take away to the airport on your way out – priceless. This is something I always tell my clients to do when they travel but I loved that Kamalaya took the initiative.
- The staff: From the first email until the final goodbye, each one of the staff were friendly, helpful, happy and reassuring. You can feel the love.
- The combination of East meet West in natural therapies: I enjoyed my sessions and recommendations by Lauren, my Australian Naturopath, and my acupuncture and moxa TCM treatments by the Hania TCM doctor.
- The alchemy lounge: With the most delicious smoothies, fabulous views and refreshing breeze, it’s the perfect spot to read a book, take a nap or just chill.
- Breakfast: I always tell my clients to eat like a queen for breakfast, a princess for lunch and a slave for dinner. I was certainly feeling like a queen at breakfast while I munched on stuff like freshly baked gluten-free toast with almond or pumpkin seed butter and homemade sugar-free jams, fresh tropical fruits, detox juices (wheatgrass shots among other colourful refreshing juices that you can concoct), organic eggs cooked any way you wish, buckwheat pancakes, fresh salads, broths and congee, steamed rice cakes, superfoods (they ticked all the boxes here when I saw bee pollen, goji berries, raw cacao nibs, chia, flax and hemp seeds…), and the list goes on.
Ever so often my clients tell me that they feel terrible after their holidays; they overindulge in fatty foods and alcohol and they come home feeling bloated, tired and needing a diet. When you return from Kamalaya, you’re guaranteed to feel a couple of pounds lighter, feeling fresh, skin glowing, body flexible and smiling from ear to ear. I left Kamalaya refreshed and energised – yet calm, inspired, happy and ready to take on seven more weeks of work.
Kamalaya Koh Samui, 102/9 Moo 3, Laem Set Road, Na-Muang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84140, Thailand, p. +66 77 429 800.
This article is contributed by Karin G. Reiter, a medical nutritionist, certified fitness trainer and health coach who specialises in nutritional, health and lifestyle education. She’s also the founder of wellness clinic Nutritious & Delicious, where she works with her patients to develop simple, practical, ongoing solutions to improve their health, as well as empowering them to manage their own health and balance their lifestyles.