One thing you’ll quickly notice after spending some time in Chiang Mai is that there is a thriving yoga and wellness community here. There’s something about the combination of the laid-back lifestyle, sun everyday, gorgeous natural surroundings, a Buddhist culture where even the wildest high school students will sit still in silent meditation, and abundance of fresh produce (we get mangoes, bananas, coconuts and a wide variety of vegetables year round) that tends to tempt even the most un-yoga/spiritual-y people into trying out the yoga thing, going for regular massages and attending a meditation retreat or two. It’s just what you do here.
With a number of excellent yoga studios in town, a roster of awesome international teachers and simply beautiful places to practice (my favorite is Wild Rose Yoga in a gorgeous wooden teak house tucked away in the Old City), Chiang Mai and the rest of the north is a major hub for classes, workshops and retreats.
Recently a friend of mine, Christophe, who has been living and teaching in Chiang Mai for the past eight years has started up a series of yoga holidays around the north. His company, Thailand Yoga Holidays, doesn’t run your typical yoga retreats. Instead of simply staying in a retreat center for the length of the trip you visit some of the coolest spots in and around Chiang Mai including places that you certainly wouldn’t be able to find on your own, like a serene floating yoga studio situated in a national park outside of town, while also indulging in some of Thailand’s less spiritual offerings – one night you could be eating a simple yet satisfying vegetarian meal made from local ingredients in Chiang Mai and the next you could be downing bottles of Leo in Pai before heading back to the boutique hotel to go jump in the pool. Of courses, there are daily yoga and meditation classes – and regular massages! – that are designed to fit the group while also giving you personalized attention.
Christophe wanted to create itineraries that showcased the variety of what Northern Thailand had to offer and he’s truly done just that. After living here myself for four years, I feel like I’ve seen and done a lot of what there is to do here, but looking over Christophe’s itineraries makes me realize I still have so much more to discover and fall in love with Chiang Mai all over again.
Now, considering I’m someone who tends to to walk instead of paying for transportation when I travel and have been known to sleep in rooms with holes in the walls because they were the cheapest, these holidays are a bit pricier than what I would normally recommend – a shared room for an upcoming 10-night holiday starts at 85,000 baht or about $2,500 USD. However, I’ve started to try and shed some of my super frugal ways, and totally believe that these trips are 100% worth it.
All onsite transportation, including a chartered plane, along with meals, massages, yoga, accommodation and more are included and, between being one of Christophe’s students myself and knowing just how special the places he’s taking you to are, I know the holidays are incredible.
This November Christophe will be holding a 10-night Northern Thailand holiday that’s open to everyone and includes nights in Chiang Mai, Pai, Chiang Dao and more. Not only is November one of the best months visit Thailand – the weather is perfect up north – but the trip coincides with Thailand’s famous Loi Krathong festival where you’ll witness the thousands of lanterns floating into the sky firsthand – priceless. You can learn more about the holiday and read the full itinerary here.
If you’re interested in joining, you’ll want to book soon for major savings!
Make sure to book before July 16th to receive the substantial early bird discount of 10,000 baht off — that’s about $300 — that you can put toward your airfare. (Plus, if you’re from the U.S. the dollar is at one of the highest points I’ve seen compared to the Thai baht in the past four years at 33.9 baht to $1!)
If you’re ready to go, book here now!
If you want to learn more about Thailand Yoga Holidays – they also offer private holidays and retreat hosting services for yoga teacher – you can always visit their website or FAQs. I’ve also been helping with some of the company’s content so feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below.
And, if I still haven’t convinced you to check out Thailand Yoga Holidays, I’ll be offering an additional special discount to those on my mailing list later this week so be sure you’re signed up to save even more…
Hey! I'm Alana and I've spent nearly the past decade living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, working as a writer and photographer. I started Paper Planes as a place to share local insight, special places, and how to travel well through a range of experiences — from hostels to high-end hotels, street meat to multi-course meals.
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That sounds awesome! We’ll have to look at our itinerary and see where we will be!
Oh yes! The floating yoga center looks amazing.
This looks amazing! I would love to do this (you had me at floating yoga studio!) We are thinking of heading to South East Asia over Christmas, so might have to look into this a bit further!
The holidays from the company go to some of my favorite places in northern Thailand, and ones you probably wouldn’t find on your own – they’re incredible!
Wow, this sounds amazing. I’m visiting Chiang Mai again next April purposefully as I’d like to do a yoga retreat. Do you have any other recommendations? Preferably 3 nights? Thanks
Doesn’t it?? Most of the retreats I’m familiar with run for longer than 3 nights however there’s a studio in Pai that runs regular 5-night retreats – http://xhaleyogapai.com. I’ve never been there so can’t necessarily recommend it, but may be something you’d be interested in looking into!
Hi Alana, thanks so much for this great summary. Quick question: The picture shown on the water… do you know if that is the “OM waters resort”? I’ve heard so much about it and was wondering if that was it. Thanks!
Hey Kate – yes it is 🙂 Pretty, huh?
Stunning. I’m debating between a retreat at OM waters and the Amaravati Ashram. Have you been to the latter and if so, do you have any feedback?
I haven’t been to the ashram but I’m sure you’d have a great experience either way!
i’ve heard about om waters but i havent had the chance to get out there yet. looks absolutely amazing
12 Comments on Yoga in Chiang Mai – and a Dream Retreat