The Sanctuary is a beautiful resort at Haad Tien beach on Koh Phangan. The design is amazing, integrating the natural habitat into every aspect of the main buildings. The setting is gorgeous, right on a palm tree-studded beach. The restaurant also had a great menu. They have many daily activities of yoga and other eccentric interests. However, that’s about the extent of the compliments I can give to the Sanctuary. Everything was overpriced for Thai standards, especially the food. The Thai food was rather bland. They frequently screwed up our order or forgot it completely. The system for totaling a guest’s expenditures, a cashless credit system that requires a deposit at the beginning and then full payment at the end, was a total nightmare. They claimed I didn’t give them a deposit, despite the fact I had a receipt showing the deposit. They also tried to charge me for services I never used. The system is a huge mess. While we met some interesting people, overall the crowd was, in my friend’s words, “too granola.” Perhaps the worst part of the Sanctuary was the staff & the service. The local staff were at times hard to communicate with and unresponsive. The foreign staff, including the property’s general manager, were unfriendly, unwelcoming, curt, and demanding. To say we felt no hospitality is an understatement. It got to such a point where we did everything possible to avoid talking to the foreign staff/management.
The Wellness Center, on the other hand, was a very friendly, enjoyable, relaxing part of the Sanctuary. At first, the manager of the Wellness Center may intimidate inexperienced or unprepared would-be fasters; however this is for the best interests of fasters as fasting can be overwhelming for the the uninitiated or unprepared. After starting a fast though, the staff learns your name immediately, are very supportive, thoughtful, and accommodating. Everything goes as smoothly as possible. A great community atmosphere also develops among the fasters. Fasting here is about USD2000 per week less than comparative programs in California or Arizona with the same results but with the added of advantage of a beautiful beach.
The fasting program is very structured with fasters required to take tablets or shakes every 90minutes, starting at 7am, which I found to be very inconvenient. Each day depending on the length of the fast, fasters also have 1-2 colonic sessions. Each person has different experiences while fasting, some very uplifting and some very weakening. On my 3.5day fast, the second day was challenging as I felt very tired and weak. I did have many benefits as a result of fasting. During my fast, my dark, under-eye circles nearly entirely cleared. While fasting, at first my skin got worse but then cleared and became smoother and clearer than its been in a long time. Surprisingly, I didn’t lose weight during my fast, but actually gained 3.5kilos. Perhaps the most pleasing results of my fast came in the days after my fast when I was slowly adding foods back into my diet. Day 1: Raw fruits, Day 2: Raw veggies, Day 3: Lightly cooked veggies, Day 4: Carbs, Day 5: Proteins. During this time my hunger was greatly reduced; I actually craved and looked forward to eating fresh fruits and veggies. Fresh fruits and veggies were far more appealing to me than cooked foods and proteins. Even now, whenever I have the chance I want to order salad. Many people have told me I look healthier than they’ve ever seen me. All of this after only a 3.5day fast! The fast, along with the vacation, also renewed my energy, excitement, and attitude. As you maybe can guess, I’m definitely a believer and will be back as soon as I can.
All in all, though, I’ll go back to the Sanctuary only to go to the Wellness Center and do another fast. In my opinion there’s no reason for non-fasters to go to the Sanctuary when there are other places on Koh Phangan with just as spectacular location but far better value and a much more welcoming environment.
Sanctuary website with internal links the Wellness Center and its fasting programs: WWW.THESANCTUARY-KPG.COM
Pictures from Koh Phangan and Bangkok, click here