Wonderland Healing Center was founded by a group of friends, who wanted to live a community-based life. And since Wonderland began, it’s become one of the most popular wellness centres on the laid-back island of Koh Phangan. Besides the great mix of yoga classes, there are meditation sessions, an outdoor pool, holistic healers, a herbal sauna, and incredible vegan food. Wonderland is a place of healing in every sense.
During my week-long retreat, almost everyone I met at Wonderland decided to extend their stay (including me). I’m not sure I’ve ever fallen in love with a place so quickly. And after days of relaxing, moving, and connecting, I decided I might never leave.
Wonderland Yoga Retreats
The wellness and yoga retreats at Wonderland are refreshingly flexible. You can book anything from a couple of nights to a 22-day programme. The Wonderland Healing Center schedule is updated at the beginning of every week. So you can check whether there are specific classes that appeal to you before you book. And classes don’t start until 8 am. By the standards of most yoga retreats I’ve been to, this is a deliciously relaxed start to the day.
Mornings at Wonderland begin with a yoga class. During my stay, Alon’s Vinyasa classes were an invigorating pre-breakfast treat. His focus on alignment and injury prevention impressed me daily. But after trying a few different classes, you’ll quickly find out which teachers you connect with most. There are lots of wonderful teachers at Wonderland and each one has a different style and approach to teaching.
Besides Vinyasa and Hatha, there are sessions in Ashtanga, Yin Yoga, Laughter Yoga, Pilates, and a fun, dynamic class called Yoga Medicina. On a typical day, there are three yoga classes. If you have the energy, you can do all of them. Equally, no one will care if you feel like napping in a hammock all day.
Most of the classes at Wonderland are aimed at beginner and intermediate-level yoga students. But unless you’re an advanced yogi, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make progress in your practice. And don’t underestimate the challenge of trying to flow gracefully on a seriously humid day.
Meditation at Wonderland Healing Center
It’s definitely not all about yoga at Wonderland Healing Center. Meditation is just as important here and there are usually two sessions happening during the day. At Wonderland, meditation sessions range from sound healing, music meditation, and Yoga Nidra to simple guided meditation practices. The chance to be quiet and still every afternoon was something I started to look forward to.
But it was the evening sessions that were truly special. Although the evening sessions each had a different focus and facilitator, I found each one impactful in its own way. There was a women’s circle, that left me feeling empowered, supported, and full of love for the women around me. And ‘Inner Dance’ – a combination of energy work and sound healing – was an intense, trippy experience.
On another evening, we focused on cultivating loving kindness. Although still mostly a group of strangers at that point, we danced, practised eye gazing, and shared our past experiences in a raw way.
Vegan Food at Wonderland
The vegan food at Wonderland Healing Center is mind-blowingly good. During my stay, the meals were consistently fresh, nourishing, and colourful. And even though I’d read lots of reviews, nothing prepared me for the delicious banana pancakes that were served every morning for breakfast. I topped my pancakes with coconut yoghurt, chia seed pudding, and tropical fruit, but there was also homemade granola, fresh bread, and vegan spreads to fill up on.
At lunchtime, the salad and hot food buffet were always impressive. Bowls of crunchy bean sprouts, red cabbage, and green leaves sat next to simmering pots of Thai curry and nutritious stir-fries. Most of the Wonderland retreat packages generously include a daily fruit smoothie or fresh young coconut to drink. After a sweaty yoga class, these turned out to be the most refreshing treats imaginable.
And for anyone who’s not sure they’ll survive a week without sweets, there are vegan chocolates available to buy. The dairy-free truffles and coconut balls are so rich and delicious, I think they’d satisfy even the most sceptical of non-vegans. Everyone gathers three times a day in the dining area for meals, which for me, ended up being some of the best opportunities to get to know other people on the retreat.
Accommodation at Wonderland, Koh Phangan
A big part of what makes Wonderland Healing Center so otherworldly is its design. Chunky wooden furniture surrounds the pristine outdoor pool. The bamboo huts along the main path are perfect for hiding away with a book. The outdoor yoga shala is all polished wood and stepping stones cover patches of grass. Hammocks swing from palm trees, floor cushions brighten the dining area, and lamps and fairy lights make Wonderland glow at night.
There’s also a herbal sauna on-site to help relax achy muscles or sweat out any leftover stress. And there’s an on-site massage hut, where you can sign up for traditional Thai massages and oil massages. Accommodation at Wonderland Healing Center ranges from six-bed dorms to private doubles and bungalows, so there’s something to suit most travel budgets.
All of the accommodation is simple but comfortable. If you love your privacy, then it might be worth requesting one of the double rooms that don’t overlook the pool. Or if you’re travelling solo and hoping to meet new people, the dorms are a great choice.
There’s so much more to Koh Phangan than partying. Yes, the island is famous for the Full Moon, Half Moon, and other ravey parties that don’t end until dawn. But if alcohol-filled buckets aren’t your idea of a good time, don’t let that side of Koh Phangan put you off. Because Koh Phangan is an incredible island. It’s a place where waterfalls tumble down jungle-covered mountains, sandy roads lead to quiet beaches, and small towns hum with laid-back energy.
The quietest time to visit Koh Phangan is between April and June when the roads are safer and accommodation is cheaper. And if you want to avoid the Full Moon crowds entirely, plan to visit at a time when the party calendar is at its quietest. During my stay at Wonderland Healing Center, I felt like I was wrapped up in a picture-perfect bubble. But when I finally headed out to go exploring, it was nice to see the sights crowd-free.
Most people fly to the larger island of Koh Samui, before taking the ferry over to Koh Phangan. And Koh Tao, the third sister island, is a popular diving destination. But if you have the luxury of time, it’s worth being as flexible as possible with your bookings. Because Koh Phangan, and particularly Wonderland, has a habit of changing even the best-laid plans.
Healthy Day Passes
Even if you don’t have the time or inclination for a full-on retreat, you can book a ‘Healthy Day’ pass at Wonderland Healing Center. During a Healthy Day, you can take part in any of the yoga, Pilates, or meditation sessions, have two vegan meals, and take as many hammock naps as you want.
The yoga and drop-in activities vary from week to week so check ahead if you want to try a specific class. Whether you’re backpacking or on a luxurious holiday, a Healthy Day is a wonderful way to refresh and relax.
Detox Programmes at Wonderland
Although strict detox programmes don’t appeal to me these days, there are still plenty of people who commit to them and who seem to benefit from them. Wonderland Healing Center offers a few different detox and fasting programmes, but the staff tailors these to each individual guest. There’s a coconut water fast, juice fast, herbal supplements detox, and a three-step detox package.
If you’re fasting, you can still take part in as much yoga and meditation as they want. There’s also a consultant onsite to offer support throughout the programme. But I have to warn you – one of the best things about Wonderland is the food. And anyone who can resist the incredible vegan buffets has stronger willpower than I do.
Planning a retreat at Wonderland Healing Center, Koh Phangan?
- Read the reviews on Tripadvisor here.
- Check Wonderland’s availability here.
- The best way to get to Wonderland is by ferry from Koh Samui to Thong Sala pier.
- Wonderland will send a driver to pick you up from the pier.
- Check-in time is 2 pm.
- But guests are welcome to arrive earlier and take part in all activities.
- Wonderland offers a laundry service, which is brilliant for longer trips.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen because – it’s relatvely expensive to buy in Thailand.
- You might also like: Salty Pelican Yoga & Surf Retreat, Portugal
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