Vegan retreat in Thailand
My buddy Jo has joined us with a guest review of a special vegan retreat in Thailand!
If the thought of staying on a ‘retreat’ conjures up images of bland food and generally going without, then AMAYEN Sanctuary certainly challenges that misconception. This fully vegan retreat in Northern Thailand is all about rest and relaxation but it is also very much about good, tasty vegan food.
Situated about 45 mins drive from Chiang Mai airport/Chiang Mai city centre, with pick-up and drop-off provided, AMAYEN Sanctuary is nestled between lush green paddy fields in the countryside.
A major plus for me was the idyllic setting: a river bounding the retreat on one side, providing a calming soundtrack to my stay, and the backdrop of mountains and paddy fields on the other side. It’s a great place for watching wildlife, from birds and dragon flies fluttering past to the tiny squirrels jumping from tree to tree within the retreat. The accommodation feels luxurious and great care is taken to ensure that guests enjoy their time there.
The activities included in the retreat packages are yoga sessions, mindful breathing, mediation and massages (traditional Thai or aromatherapy), all optional of course. There’s a salt water swimming pool and push bikes for those feeling more energetic and a fully stocked library for those wanting to take things more slowly. There are daily excursions to waterfalls and coffee houses. The local coffee is so good, I bought some at a local roastery to take home.
My favourite activity though was the visit to the organic garden, across a small bridge, to gather herbs and vegetables for a Thai cookery lesson given by co-owner and chef, Lin. We made three dishes: fresh spring rolls, green Thai curry (with three different types of aubergine) and bananas in coconut.
All of the meals at AMAYEN Sanctuary were outstanding and left me with a contented full belly thanks to the generous portions. Each meal had a little surprise element, whether that be in the beautiful presentation or the flavours. Most of the meals served were traditional Thai or Chinese but there was also scrambled tofu on toast, enchiladas, and even bread pudding (with a Thai twist). Apparently some people lose weight when they stay. I have no idea how!
Visit the AMAYEN Sanctuary website here to see all the details.
For anyone wanting to extend their stay, Chiang Mai has a number of vegan eateries including Good Souls Kitchen, various branches of Vegan Heaven, and Reform Kafé.