I touch down in Chiang Mai after the short flight from Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok. As I exit the pleasantly air-conditioned arrival hall it’s like walking into a wall of heat. Chiang Mai is unusually hot for August. I am soon picked up by Lin, one of three owners of Amayen Sanctuary, and we depart on the 30-minute drive to get there. I ask about the other guests – I expected to be sharing a van with a few fellow travelers – but it turns out I am the only one booked for these dates. The Covid-pandemic has not been kind to the hospitality business, and Amayen is no exception – especially since a majority of guests come from outside of Thailand. For anyone already in Thailand this opens up a unique opportunity: exclusive access to solitude in the magical setting that is Amayen Sanctuary.
As we arrive, I’m served a freshly pressed juice while I’m getting checked in. I get a glance at the daily schedule.
During the tour of the grounds the curiosity awakens as we pass by walls filled with quotes, meditation rooms and manifestation stations. I choose to stay in the more traditional wooden style room rather than accepting the free upgrade offered. It’s spacious and has a certain charm about it.
I then get some time to freshen up after the travels and get ready for the first yoga session. It happens to be the first of the retreat – and the first of my life. It’s not a good look. It feels good afterward and leaves me hungry for dinner. I believe that a big part of the experience is discovering all the secrets and surprises Amayen has to offer, so I won’t go through anything in detail. What I will say is this:
- Right now you have a unique chance to experience a more quiet version of the Sanctuary.
- It might seem pricey, but there is a lot of value in all the sessions (meditation and yoga), massages, food, and overall experience.
- The food is fresh and filling. You are served breakfast by the river before yoga, lunch with dessert, and three-course meals for dinner every night.
- The teachers are great. It was my first time doing yoga and I enjoyed it a lot, both the more relaxing sessions and the tougher ones.
Getting from Bangkok to Amayen is a breeze. 45 minute flight, airport pickup (included in the package), and the short drive.
Amayen recommends a few books to read before, during or after the visit:
Read more at Amayen's website
NOTE: since my visit, Amayen has changed it's approach and is focusing on experiences in different locations nation-wide. Check their website for more.