All intentions of getting up for 7.30 tai chi go out the window as I savour my comfy bed and the ocean breeze wafting through the mosquito net. Pilates at 8.30 goes the same way, and it’s 9.30 by the time I get to a breakfast of fruit and nuts. Peppermint tea only; I seem to be drinking gallons of the stuff.
I decide that today is the day to explore my surrounds: Kamalaya Koh Samui is set on a fairly precipitous site with huge boulders and coconut palms round a central cascading stream fronting a private bay. The resort’s structures are heavily disguised amongst rampant vegetation. At its core is a cave that has been used for centuries by Buddhist monks as a place of meditation and retreat; radiating out from here is the wellness centre (consultation and massage rooms, saunas, relaxation pavilions, plunge pools), a yoga pavilion, a fitness centre, two restaurants, a library and more, all interconnected by numerous pathways with plenty of steps – you get fit just going to and from therapies!
There’s a sweet swimming pool carved out of the natural rocks and a gorgeous empty beach. The only sound is birdsong and the occasional “sawadee kap” when you pass a gardener or other member of staff.
An Asian foot massage is part of my detox package, and I treat myself to a pedicure after it. The open-air salon has uninterrupted views of the ocean and islands beyond. I pick up my book, but soon put it aside and gaze outwards. If I’m honest, there’s a bit of inward gazing going on, too. Thoughts of what I’m doing, where I’m going, what it’s all about. It’s good to take stock once in a while.
I read somewhere that Kamalaya “honours the sacredness of solitude and shares the joy of community”, so I decide I’ve had enough of navel gazing and opt for the shared table at dinner. I meet (and bond with) three open-minded women – a doctor from Germany, a financial controller from the UK and a sustainable tourism adviser in Oman. What an interesting group! Our conversation ranges from holidays in Asia to the colour of our pooh. Sorry, but that’s what it all boils down to here.
Today I get up even later but manage 60 lengths of the pool. Huge boulders that stick up through the pool floor loom large and grey through my goggles. Dragonflies skitter over the water and there’s nobody else around.
After another mind-bendingly sweaty far infrared sauna, I subjugate myself to a manual lymphatic drainage session. I’ve never been a fan of this type of “massage”, because (a) it isn’t massage, in my book, and (b) I get fidgety and irritated with the prissy little sweeps and taps on my face and neck. Today is no different, I’m afraid.
At dinner, we discuss the number of times we need to get up in the night to go to the loo – there’s comfort in knowing that we’re all experiencing it. We also talk about how wonderfully caring the therapists are, and how professionally Kamalaya is run. Even the girls on the more intensive programmes feel safe, secure and in good hands.
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