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Thailand Retreat Location Information

We’ve put together some facts around the countries and locations where we host our retreats. The factsheets we have put together are intended to help you to prepare for the retreat in terms of what to bring climate-wise, what the main currency and official language is, as well as information on how to get there. The following overview is for our retreat location in Thailand with information about the country as well as the hotel (Absolute Sanctuary).

In addition you can also read this brief article on ‘What to bring to a yoga retreat‘.

Official LanguageThai. Though English widely spoken especially in the more touristic areas – such as the island of Koh Samui where our retreat is hosted.
CurrencyThai Baht (US$1 = ~ 30THB, see www.xe.com for example). Generally only Thai Baht are accepted so please make sure you either exchange money in your home country or at the airport upon arrival. There are several ATMs at the airport in Koh Samui where you can withdraw money – but as they get very busy we recommend bringing Thai Baht with you.

Major cards are accepted at larger establishments only (hotels, restaurants, supermarkets) though markets and smaller shops as well as some beach bars may only accept cash payments.
Main airport(s) relevant to our retreat locationKoh Samui airport (USM)
Travel DocumentsFor most travellers (incl. US, UK, rest of Europe) only a valid passport is required. It is strongly recommended that the passport is still valid for another 6 months, apart from that there are no restrictions. You will receive a 30 day visa upon entering the country. Read more about visa requirements here
Getting there / airport transfersYou will receive individual email with specific instructions regarding your airport transfer from Koh Samui (USM) Airport.
Getting aroundThe nearest town (with beach) is Chaweng which is the largest and main beach on Koh Samui. There’s a shuttle service provided by the hotel – please check the schedule with reception.

Aside from the scheduled shuttles you can also grab a taxi which the reception will be happy to order for you. It’s an about 5 minute ride and will cost around US$5-US$10.
Check in / out timesCheck in into rooms is from 3pm, so in case you arrive prior you can relax by the pool, head to the beach or grab a bit at the Love restaurant until your room is ready.

Check out is from 11am, please make sure you have your bags ready and packed by that time. You can leave them at the Absolute Sanctuary until your airport transfer on the final day.
What to bringAs it is very hot and humid in Thailand, please bring plenty of sunscreen, there is nothing worse than being in a hot yoga class with a sunburn!

Due to the climate, mosquitoes might come out at night and early morning, please bring a mosquito repellent.

Please also bring a bottle which can be refilled with water to minimize waste. There will be water dispensers available before each class.

Please note: Tap water in Thailand is generally not drinkable – only use filtered water from provided water dispensers or purchased water!
Local customsIt is worth noting that Thailand is a mainly Buddhist country. In places of worship (e.g. temples, the Big Buddha,...) as well as other public places (e.g. Royal Palace in Bangkok,...) you will be required/expected to cover up. Especially women need to cover their shoulders as a minimum. In general, excessive exposure of skin is frowned upon. Shoes are to be removed when entering a house – you will see this even with spas, some shops, as well some restaurants.

Another thing one should note that it is highly impolite to show ones foot soles.

You can read more about Thai customs here.
Thai Customs
Yoga facilitiesThere are 2 dedicated heated yoga rooms at the Absolute Sanctuary. The main one by the gym on the same level as the pool, spa and restaurant. The second one can be found upstairs above the restaurant – we refer to it as the Ocean View studio.

All Yoga mats and towels are provided.
LaundryThe Absolute Sanctuary provides laundry services at hotel prices which can be fairly dear. Alternatively you can take your laundry into town where it is done by weight very cheaply at around $1-2/kg.
Absolute Sanctuary RulesPlease note that the Absolute Sanctuary is an adult only detox & wellness hotel and therefore does not allow children, minimum age is 18. Also, the hotel is a smoke and alcohol free zone. No alcohol is served anywhere and smoking is not permitted but a small smoking area just in front of the hotel is provided. Guests are allowed to purchase and store alcohol in the mini-fridge available in the rooms but are asked not to consume them in common hotel areas like the pool and restaurant.
TippingAs tipping is done in very different ways across the globe, please note that in Thailand salaries are quite low we always suggest to tip in restaurants and bars for around 10% minimum. This is not an obligation but just a suggestion.

As for the Absolute Sanctuary It is at everyone’s own discretion to leave as much or as little as they like at the end of the week. However from past Retreats a tip of anywhere between 10-30 USD would be adequate we believe.
Useful linkshttp://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Samui

 

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