A Solo Journey to well-being

‘’You are in very good health’’! Six words I never expected to hear after my Body Bio impedance analysis at Kamalaya health resort in Thailand.

Like every other guest following a structured wellness program at Koh Samui’s most popular wellness sanctuary, I started my journey with a thorough health check. In short, the test measures your body composition and assesses your tissue and fluid compartments to see if they work as they should. A good result is associated with a good immune system and longevity, whereas a less than favourable outcome can be cause for concern.

It had taken me almost 24 hours to get to Kamalaya, and although everything went smoothly, a five hour layover at Bangkok airport and site inspection at the Four Seasons straight off the plane made for a pretty long journey. Emirates had spoilt me with chocolate, cheese and champagne (they really shouldn’t..) and I was certain my jetlag grogginess wouldn’t do the test results any favours. You can imagine my relief when I learned that my ‘all-nighter’ didn’t result in the wellness consultant questioning my date of birth: ‘And your real age is..?..

The award-winning health resort is located on the southeastern tip of tropical Koh Samui and the 45-minutes transfer is included in your wellness program. Whilst the island is certainly no off-the-beaten-path destination and there’s plenty to do and see, Kamalaya can be found on a quieter stretch of beach. As I was only here for three nights, I chose not to venture outside of the resort. Knowing Koh Samui from previous trips I can vouch it’s as safe as any other Thai island as long as you use common sense.

Embracing Nature

Kamalaya is like a little village in the jungle, but instead of a supermarket and town hall, residents will find yoga pavilions, in- and outdoor treatment rooms, quiet zones, a fitness studio, yantra hall, lap pool, steam cavern, hydrotherapy pools and plenty of relaxation areas amidst the lush greenery. Beautiful villas (some with a plunge pool), tranquil sea view suites and hill side ‘houses’ are dotted across the grounds, each in a different price category.

Nature is everywhere, and something to embrace as part of your journey to well-being. There’s something magical about taking a shower in the rain, and planting your bare feet on the grass during a Qigong lesson. I reckon the check-in staff cast some sort of spell on their guests, as my usual edgy behaviour when coming across large insects miraculously vanished upon my arrival. Or maybe it was the knowledge that, unlike in Australia, nothing is poisonous. Whatever it was, the outdoor bathroom didn’t bother me, neither did the millipede who slowly made its way across the yoga pavilion or the grasshopper that joined me for lunch (I promise he was not part of the detox menu).

My villa is huge and spotless, has a large patio, the most comfortable bed and a yoga mat for a private practice. I am grateful there is no TV and only 1 hour of free Wi-Fi. Any final urges to check Retreat Here’s social media accounts or emails quickly disappear and my usually Busy Brain starts to slow down. Kamalaya takes great pride in encouraging guests to fully switch off so they can tune in with themselves and the resort’s natural surroundings.

The Solo Experience

Most people I come across are solo-travelling women from all over the world, taking a time-out to relax, unplug and invest in themselves. There is a huge communal table in Soma restaurant – the place to be for breakfast and dinner – which was occupied most of the time by fellow health enthusiasts wanting to meet and connect with like-minded people. The Alchemy tea lounge, which is open between 2pm and 6pm for snacks and light meals, has humongous daybeds where you can chill out with fellow travellers and take in the peaceful vistas.

There are daily group activities, workshops and cultural trips that make bonding with other guests very easy. From sunrise yoga sessions and cultural outings to boat trips around the island and mindfulness workshops, everyone is incredibly friendly and most guests have this ‘happy-glow-lucky’ look crossed with serene bliss, a tell-tale sign of someone who has just had the best spa treatment in the world.

Having said that, it is more than acceptable (and refreshing) to have a meal on your own, join a class in silence, and simply be content with your own company. Kamalaya is a soul-nurturing sanctuary and an investment in your mental, physical and emotional self. You should do what feels right for you in the moment, and there is nothing wrong with spending time on your own.

Invest in Yourself

The only downside to my stay was that it wasn’t long enough, as I could’ve easily stayed for months on end. Instead, I immersed myself in the much-needed Relax & Renew package which was three days of pure bliss. In between the body scrub, hand and foot treatment, divine head massage and Ayurveda therapies, I practiced yoga, finished reading my book, learned new Pranayama (breathing meditation) techniques, indulged in the most amazing healthy foods and stayed as far away from my electronic devices as possible.

When I checked out of the resort, I felt lighter, more energetic and certainly calmer following the absence of technology. It’s mind-boggling what a few days without TV and Wi-Fi can do to a person and I highly recommend giving it a go. There are no awkward moments at the dinner table during which people feel the need to check their emails, nothing is broadcasted on Instagram immediately and the views are so stunning, you really don’t need to look for picture-perfect images online.

If you are not familiar with travelling alone or perhaps find it more difficult to meet new people, and you’re after a healthy holiday, don’t hesitate to use Kamalaya as your starting point. You’ll be rewarded with more confidence, a healthier take on life, newfound friends, and plenty of encouragement to explore the rest of the world on your own.

For more information about Kamalaya’s wellness programs and prices, please contact Retreat Here on www.retreathere.com or call 03 9942 4265 or email sab@retreathere.com

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Retreat Here was founded in 2016 and is the brainchild of Sabijn Linssen (‘Sab’ if you wish!). Born and raised in The Netherlands, Sab worked and lived in the South of France and London, before finally settling in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband. To say travelling is her passion would be an understatement and with a successful career in travel management she draws on more than 15 years of experience in the industry.