You bend, you stretch… you get to feel impossibly smug. Whether you already love yoga, or want to try it while on holiday, just about anything is better with an ocean backdrop or smells of frangipani. As Koh Samui positions itself more and more as a destination for all things green, organic and healthy, Samui’s yoga options are really expanding. Namasterfully add some Koh Samui yoga to any portion of your holiday – especially if you’re coming during cooler, rainier parts of the year.
Where to find yoga on Koh Samui?
Whatever your schedule and skill level – finding yoga on Koh Samui will not be a problem. Yoga’s a big thing here and makes a perfect activity to do in the shade when the sun’s a little too strong (and an ideal way to enjoy a rainy day – or all of rainy season – as well).
How much is yoga on Koh Samui?
Whether you want to drop in for a spontaneous class when clouds gather, or are coming with an ambitious yoga schedule, you’ll find Koh Samui yoga prices very competitive to big cities like London and Melbourne (often in gorgeous, landscaped, open-air and ocean-view spaces). As you’d expect, higher prices reflect prettier surroundings in pricier parts of the island. We feel bendy already!
- 1 class (drop-in): 300-650 THB (US$9-19)
- 10 classes: 2,625-4,500 THB (US$74-126)
- 1 month unlimited: 4,000-4,900 THB (US$112-138)
*Prices are in Thai baht and USD (rounded up to the nearest dollar). Current as of February, 2016
5 Koh Samui Yoga Options
#1. Koh Samui yoga retreats
For serious sessions of Koh Samui yoga – consider booking into a yoga retreat. A number of resorts with a health-focus offer holidays built on invigorating sunrises at frightening times of day, lots of yoga, and perhaps little else (certainly not Samui rum). Will you see results? Absolutely. Will you be sad never to see a Samui nutella pancake? Only you can say. Amongst the offerings, we’re aware of a few (listed in alphabetical order):
#2. Koh Samui hotel yoga
Barely out of bed? Perhaps you’d like to toe a more moderate line, just a healthy holiday? In this case, you’ve got options! It’s easy to fit occasional yoga into a more traditional Samui beach holiday. In fact, many large resorts offer group yoga classes or private instruction. The following resorts have dedicated yoga studios and great fitness facilities (some with beautiful open-air pavilions available for guest use):
Banyan Tree Samui (tucked privately near Lamai)
Elements Boutique Resort (on the beach in Taling Ngam)
Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui (on its own headland in Bang Po)
Mantra Samui Resort (in the hills above Bophut)
SALA Samui (the prime spot on Choeng Mon Beach)
W Retreat Koh Samui (between Maenam and Bophut)
An early indication when booking your hotel or villa will be whether or not it has a better-than-decent-looking gym or fitness centre. This is a great, convenient option as you won’t have to venture far and can easily fit it in before breakfast or happy hour.
#3. Vikasa Yoga Retreat
Koh Samui is becoming a great destination for yoga fanatics (and those of us with genuine intentions to touch our toes one day). Vikasa is on a gorgeous hillside between Lamai and Chaweng, and we can’t wait try a few classes ourselves. Vikasa’s photos of food, scenery and – yes – yoga practice, plus compelling TripAdvisor reviews, have put it amongst our top new places to try.
In their words – Vikasa Yoga Retreat “is a boutique yoga resort and organic restaurant offering an inspiring yoga environment created by Konstantin Miachin.” The resorts’ rooms cater equally to couples and single travellers, with both a pool and gym on site. Need another reason to stick around after class? It goes like this: “Hello, massaaaaaage”.
We really like their inclusive attitude, espoused here: “We believe that everyone is a yogi, and that means you. You don’t need to be flexible or thin, or have the “right” clothes. You don’t need to know ancient Sanskrit or burn incense in your home. All you need to do is show up with an open mind and do your best.” (See Vikasa on Facebook for more).
#4. Koh Samui yoga studios and drop-in classes
Some yoga studios offer drop-in classes, weekly passes, or you can book a one-off private session.
Vikasa: After running a giveaway with the people at Vikasa a few years ago, we got to know (A) just how lovely they are and (B) their optimistic and inclusive approach to life (and yoga). Their cliffside site is gorgeous, the food is great and they have a super flexible drop-in schedule. *Nearby hotels: Lamai and Chaweng Noi
The Yogarden: In a really convenient spot in Fisherman’s Village, it’s a welcoming hang-out spot for yogis and newbies alike. An on-site café makes it worth working up a sweat. *Nearby hotels: Bophut and Bang Rak
Yoga House: Dmitry from Yoga House recently got in touch to introduce us to his studio in Lamai. They offer yoga classes, meditation and spa treatments with both English and Russian language service. We haven’t tried it ourselves but are happy to pass along the details. *Nearby hotels: Lamai and Hua Thanon
Absolute Sanctuary: An island fixture – an endorsement from the New York Times helps, we guess. Though its Moroccan styling seems strange in a jungle – they do their stuff well. *Nearby hotels: Sea Dance Resort and Choeng Mon hotels
Bikram Yoga: The studio in Chaweng is closed but the website remains active with options for private classes for groups or individuals. If Thailand isn’t hot enough, perhaps worth inquiring?
Need more? There are dozens of other options for Samui yoga – hole-in-the-wall studios come and go across the island in the most unlikely places. We always advise double-checking an establishment’s reviews TripAdvisor as well.
#5. DIY Koh Samui yoga
Unroll your mat and go! Rather do your own thing? Enjoy Samui yoga on your terms? Great! You might find a nice, relaxing corner to unroll your mat within your hotel room or rented accommodation – hopefully somewhere with lots of Thai ambiance. If space is a bit tight, ask at reception if there’s quiet corner you can use for a little while – no need to share your downward dog with the world, right?
Otherwise, hit the beach! Take a friend and find a stretch of sand to call your own. Even on a popular beach like Choeng Mon, we find it stays quiet until as late as 8:30 in the morning – just a handful of dedicated runners, fishermen and other early risers.
What to know? What to pack?
#1. Bring mosquito repellent
To keep your mind on your muscles (not on Thailand’s mosquitoes), we really recommend applying some natural bug spray before your practice – especially if you’ll be outside. Our most-beloved, totally-obsessed-with favourite for DEET-free protection: Incognito Natural Anti-Mozzie spray (see our tried-and-tested review).
#2. Let’s see some certificates
Wherever you choose, make sure to ask about your instructor’s training and to see their certification. As with anything enjoying tremendous popularity, you can predict eager arrivals on the bandwagon.
#3. Don’t wilt
Koh Samui’s climate means you’re practicing hot yoga – whether you like it or not! As you rehydrate like a fiend, don’t fill up with tap water on Koh Samui. Bottled water only. You might find that drinking a fresh coconut is a great way to rehydrate (lots of micro-nutrienty-replenishy stuff in a coconut) but our family’s crazy long-distance cyclist can vouch for the efficacy of Nuun hydration tablets in a pinch (apparently they taste good – with no scary chemicals).
#4. Bring a towel! It’s hot here!
For all kinds of clever travel applications, this microfibre travel towel is easy to pack for yoga, boat trips, hiking and dozens of uses beyond.
The reward for your hard work? Of course, you’ll need to get to know a particular Koh Samui yoga pose… it’s a difficult lying-down technique….
Drop-In Yoga on Koh Samui
With Koh Samui’s rainy season drawing near, now is a perfect time to dose up on some island yoga. Drop-in yoga classes are widely available on Samui – ideally suited for rainy days and anyone with good scheduling intentions and little follow-through. Who are we to judge – we can barely touch our toes. Not much of a planner? These are 4 easy options for drop-in yoga on Koh Samui…
TIP! All Samui drop-in yoga class prices are current as of October, 2016. Please note that, as of this update, Samahita Retreat no longer offers drop-in classes.
In their words: “Vikasa is so much more than a place. You’ll meet like-minded people from around the globe. Life long friendships are made everyday here at Vikasa Life Cafe, in our chill out lounge, and of course in our yoga environments. It’s a perfect destination for solo travelers. Meet other adventurous people just like yourself.” More details + drop-in schedule
View from the top: Vikasa’s view from its delicious – and healthy – Life Café
#2. The Yogarden
- Location: in Fisherman’s Village
- Drop-in price: 500 THB, approx US$14
In their words: “Bonnie and her family are long-term residents of Koh Samui. Living and working on the island for more than 8 years, the island is their home. Her love of Yoga and dream to create a community hub on Koh Samui, sowed the seeds for The Yogarden. She is excited to share the community ethos and welcomes you to be a part of The Yogarden family.” More details + drop-in schedule
#3. Yoga House
- Location: Lamai
- Drop-in price: 400 THB, approx US$11
In their words: “Yoga House & Spa is a Home you can come with an open heart, share your joy and sorrow, get experience you need and of course find a family. Even if you come to the island to have a rest for a few days, visiting our center will certainly make you smile.” More details + drop-in schedule
#4. Absolute Sanctuary
In their words: “Thailand’s Premier Detox & Yoga Resort located on the beautiful island of Koh Samui. Blending luxurious accommodation with a wide range of vibrant detoxification programs, yoga classes and other dynamic therapies, ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY caters to those seeking a journey back to balance, rejuvenation and wellness.” More details + drop-in schedule
Avoiding a very bad pun about downward download dog, you’ll get full access to our 13 years of Koh Samui expertise inside The Koh Samui Guide – an instant PDF download that’s yours for less than the price of one Koh Samui drop-in yoga class. Enjoy!
Photo credit to Omar Bariffi, with changes, via Flickr Creative Commons. Further photos used under license from Shutterstock.com