Sept 5-14: “The Sanctuary”, Koh Phangan, Thailand
A Thai LongBoat (Haad Rin)
Travel Notes: Departed Bangkok and took a bus / Catamaran south to the island of Koh Phangan. The trip took about 8 hours or so. From the ferry at Koh Phangan we took a combination of taxi and long boat to a secluded bay, called Haad Thaan. The bay is about 15 minutes by long boat from Had Rin and is home to “the sanctuary” – a set of bungalows, restaurant, spa and detox centre with a quiet little beach. Our home for the next 10 days.
On an island paradise, reknown for its parties, “the sanctuary” is indeed that. A labrynth of buildings into the rocks, hills and bay resplendent with relaxation spots, hammocks, cushions, yoga sites, massages and book libraries – it is designed for relaxation & comfort and seemingly keeping you from straying into the toxifying boys, towns and bars around every corner. A hefty challenge in itself.
All of which seemed like a great concept really. Start our around the world adventure with a “Detox” – a 7 day fast and colonic treatment on a tropical island. For me at least it was pretty symbolic, a chance perhaps to recalibrate the body (and mind) for the path ahead; to mark a new beginning, by spending some time repairing the damage of a sedentary and unbalanced Tokyo lifestyle! Megumi I think was just happy to go along with it and likely hadn’t paid much attention to this part of the trip preparation, so I fancied she was in for a little bit more of a surprise.
The fast isreally more like a 12 day program to detoxify your body and very much focused on cleansing bowel and intestines as a priority. It is a significant process which I had done some research on & together with a few recommendations from friends, felt right about enough to give it a good ol’ try, though its certainly not for the faint hearted!
The Wellness centre at the sanctuary - note the Hammocks & Ange in the background
For those not to scared off by the word “bowel” and willing to keep reading at this point – let me paraphrase the experience for you a little. The Fast program (from the sanctuary at least) essentially involves 4 key components:
Preliminary Detox – cutting out all meat, dairy, alcohol, carbohydrates etc for 2-3 days prior to starting. This is in order to bring your bodies PH (ie overall acidity) down to within a certain range. (I also chose to quit smoking again for good measure!)
The 7 Day Fast – All day for 7 days you take a course of clay / psyllium shakes, fruit juices, herbal pills and probiotic pills designed to brush & flush your system. You end up essentially ingesting something every 1.5 hours so you don’t feel that hungry or get cravings except at night. (well me at least anyway)
The Colonics – This is the bit for the not so fragile. Every day around 4pm, we would have a colonic treatment. Which essentially involves flushing your bowel with 7 litres of coffee. Certainly one of the more interesting body interactions out there, feel free to look it up, if you want more detail 😉
Post Colonic – You finish the fast and get to slowly reintroduce solid foods to your system, this takes several days and you need to build up your bacteria levels again to help with digestion.
In all, we had factored in 9 days for the fast, plus changed our diet completely for a few days before hand. On arriving, we walked straight into the Wellness Centre only to find Angela, a good friend from Japan, comfortably entrenched in a hammock 2 days already into her own fast. With another fast buddy in play, we were well encouraged and as we were literally able to pass our litmus (PH) test first time (many people fail) we were good to go – one last salad before we started!
I will give you the full post-mortem of the experience in a follow-up post.
Continue to ‘ 8 days, no Food & a Beach’ – Part 2