Thailand is a country rich in culture, natural beauty and spiritual history. As you begin planning your retreat, make sure to consider the following to get the most out of your experience.
1. Determine what’s out there
Do an open search, checking out all the options. This is how you’ll start to get a feel for the different kinds of programs offered throughout the country. Don’t limit your search, rather, start comparing and checking prices so you know what costs will be and how the different programs compare. As you discover your options, start making a list of your must haves and the things that will knock certain retreats out of the running.
2. Set Intention
Decide what you want to come away with. Do you want to come home zen’d out and relaxed, rejuvenated or inspired, or do you want an invigorating experience that will leave you energized and on fire? Start reading the retreat program descriptions and reviews to get a sense for the type of people who have attended your potential retreat and the experiences they've had.
3. Align Your Dates and Timeline
The next most important step is to start narrowing down your selections based on time frame. You’ll need to rule out any programs that do not fit your time frame or dates.
4. Decide Where You Want to Be
Think about why you’ve chosen Thailand and what part of the culture most appeals to you. Are you drawn to the island culture, the spiritual essence that is strongly felt in Chiang Mai or would you rather spend time experiencing the more exotic city culture and nightlife of Bangkok?
Think about what kind of people and teachers you want to be surrounded by and do your research to find out the demographic of the retreat you've chosen. Also, Make sure they speak your language or one you are very familiar with.
- Are you looking to spend your time in the lap of luxury or live a simpler existence in a more rustic environment? Make sure to look for pictures of the retreat center and read the reviews from previous attendees. If you can find their contact information, reach out and ask about their experience. If it was positive, they’ll be happy to give you the details.
- Compare costs and outline what is included in each program. Things to look for are meals, accommodations, transportation and group outings.
- Look at what kind of food program is being offered. Some retreat centers are strictly vegan or vegetarian and won’t allow meat in the facility. Others will have no regulations around diet, so make sure you opt for a center that is in line with your personal preferences.
- Research what kind of extracurricular activities and day trips are in the vicinity of your retreat options. You will likely have ample free time for exploring the region and you’ll want to be somewhere that offers activities and outings you will enjoy.
- Determine what kind of retreat schedule appeals to you. As you read the different itineraries, think about how you want to spend your precious time away. Do you revel in personal free time or intensive training? Decide if you are looking for a structured program or a loose daily agenda.
Kristin Daemon is a yoga teacher, freelance writer and owner of Seaside Yoga, the first yoga studio in the small town of Seaside, Oregon on the rugged, Pacific Northwest coast. You can find and friend her on Facebook or check out and follow her blog, kristindaemon.com.