Considered one of the best wellness retreats on the idyllic island of Kho Phangan, Ananda Yoga & Detox Centre is a restorative retreat on the Gulf of Thailand. The resort was founded by Greek-born entrepreneur Evangelos Syrigos, who opened Ananda Yoga & Detox Centre as a part of his own wellness journey: after years of failing health and little help from doctors, he travelled through Thailand and Tibet, exploring Buddhism and working on his own yoga and meditation practice with incredible results. With over a decade of experience in all-inclusive yoga retreats, detox packages and yoga teacher training programmes, we take a look at Ananda Yoga & Detox Centre to check out the facilities and programme.
Situated on the north-west coast of Koh Phangan, the retreat is positioned close to the town centre and ferry pier. The most direct way to get Koh Phangan is to fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui Island, then to catch the Thong Nai Pan ferry boat from Mae Nam town (which is approximately 45 minutes from Samui Airport). Transfers to the retreat are via taxi or motorbike.
There are three accommodation options at Ananda: bungalows, rooms or dorms. All spaces have air-con and private bathrooms, although the bungalows are definitely the biggest and most private option as they have an elevated view that overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. Ananda caters to the backpacker market so expect basic amenities, although the general resort facilities include a yoga studio, saltwater pool and herbal steam/sauna.
Serving up three vegetarian buffet spreads a day, the food at Ananda supports clean eating. Vegan and raw options also feature on the menu and all food is of a ‘sattvic’ nature (plant-based food that is rich in ‘prana’). This includes fresh fruit, organic veggies, wholesome broths and vitamin-packed juices. All meals are served with brown rice and the resort also serves up Thai favourites, sans sugar.
Spanning three to 11 days, the detox programme at Ananda are guaranteed to shed toxins and kilos. All detox programmes include pre-fast consultation, detox/nutritional herbs, detox shakes (five per day), colemas (two per day), detox massages, daily yoga and meditation classes, daily steam/sauna sessions, fresh juices, coconut water, veggie broths, electrolyte drinks, herbal tea, and post-cleanse guidance. Detox packages can be supplemented with Anti-Candida, Anti Parasite and Liver/Gallbladder Cleanse ‘add-ons’. Detoxes are supported by holistic therapies including lymphatic drainage massage, Chi Nei Tsang (abdominal massage) and vacuum cupping treatments. Ananda also has yoga packages that span three to seven days along with 200-hour Yoga Alliance-registered teacher training programmes that run over a month.
Expect to feel…invigorated with a deeper yoga practice, more svelte figure and a clearer mind. It’s worth noting there is great snorkelling near the resort, so make sure you get out of the retreat and into the ocean between classes. This is not a luxury resort experience, but it offers more amenities than many of the traditional yoga ashrams, and is a more comfortable setting for those longer yoga teacher training experiences.