Barefoot & Fancy Free in Koh Samui

When I stepped off the plane into the open-air pavilion that served as the Koh Samui airport, I knew I was in the right place. Soon I’d be barefoot and fancy free in Koh Samui. 

Tucked along a cliffside just 20 minutes from the airport sits Vikasa Yoga Retreat Center. From the outside, it may not seem like much. It sits across the road from what appears to be a run-down gym (although it’s most definitely not run down). And, lining the street are a number of scooters, taxis and piles of junk.

However, the white and purple sign reading Vikasa beckons yoga enthusiasts from the island and around the world. At the front of the property sits an open-air pavilion that’s home to Life Cafe, serving up coffee and vegetarian food for yogis as well as the public. Guests of Vikasa have two buffet meals included in their stay, but can always order a la carte any time of day.

As you venture further into the property you are met with breathtaking views of the ocean and island cliffs in the distance. Once you descend the stairs (there are many), you’ll find yourself in a secluded slice of paradise on Thailand’s largest island. 

With three styles of rooms to choose from, there are accommodations to meet your guests’ needs. As a retreat host, you can book a block of a certain room type or mix and match to give your students options. But you’d better hurry as the yoga caves are basically sold out for 2018!

The property is home to three yoga shalas, all with stunning views. One, the white pavilion, is home to Vikasa’s regular yoga classes which are open to guests and the public. Most retreats book either the large or small shala. The larger of the two holds 20-40 people. But, if I’m being honest, might feel a little empty with only 20 mats. It’s quite large. 

Retreat hosts and guests need not worry about bringing their own yoga props as Vikasa maintains a supply of high-end props for your use, including thick Manduka yoga mats. 

From private huts to gigantic boulders in the ocean, retreat guests have several options for finding solitude to meditate, reflect, or journal. And for those hoping to be a little more social, there’s a lounge near the cafe. And let’s not forget the infinity pool which boasts stunning views of the ocean. 

My favorite part of the property, though, are the hidden gems that aid in its charm. From “Be the Reason Someone Smiles,” written on a dilapidated coconut to the staff shirts that read “Happiness is a Choice,” I could make a game out of finding and reading all the messages throughout the property. And let’s not forget the yoga-themed street art that adorns the walls of many buildings. 

If you’re looking for some fun in the sun while still being able to rest, renew and rejuvenate, then Vikasa will not disappoint. It’s a little piece of luxury at such an affordable rate.