Spa Girl Abroad: Kalani Oceanside Retreat

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Greetings from Kalani Oceanside Retreat

A hidden haven on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawai’i, Kalani Oceanside Retreat is nothing but a pure escape to the jungle at it’s finest. And your off-the-grid experience can be as luxury, or as rustic, as you’d like it to be .

From modern cottage to treehouse to big ole’ hale (Hawaiian for ‘house’) to glamping with wi-fi, Kalani has it all.

Indulging in massage, sauna, a full schedule of mind-body activities, plus wandering an endless jungle trail surrounding the property makes Kalani one of the rare places on earth I’ve never wanted to leave. What’s great about Kalani is you can be as social or introverted as you wish…the community feel is thriving, yet plenty of solo time can be found to write, reflect, meditate. It’s a writer’s paradise, quite literally.

The food you ask? Incredible. The kitchen caters to everyone from vegan to paleo to the kid who loves Lucky Charms (you’ll probably find the organic version here, though ;). Three times per day, a conch is blown which lures Kalani guests and their hundred or so volunteers head to the most beautiful buffet that rivals Whole Foods (get in line early or show up on the late end to avoid waiting long). Plus, you’ll undoubtedly graze on tropical delights such as guava and starfruit that fall from trees here.

I was first introduced to Kalani when I attended a 30-day intensive yoga teacher training at the retreat center. Kalani’s feels much like a second home to me, and has been my go-to getaway spot on the islands ever since. E como mai (welcome) to my one of my second homes 🙂

Would love to hear about your experience at Kalani, and/or retreat centers like it, fellow Spa Girls and Guys! I LOVE discovering new retreat spa centers. I’m heading to Bali next month…send me your tips!

Mahalo (thank you) and Coconut Kisses,

Beach Girl Abroad

Spa Girl Abroad: Sanctuary Thailand

DSC01093It’s not simply the fly-ferry-longtail boat journey to The Sanctuary
Thailand
that will leave you wanting to disappear into this lush jungle-beach ‘alternative’ resort forever (and ever…).

(Don’t worry, you can also arrive by speed boat…check out the spa’s website for further info 🙂

Longtail Taxi Boat

Longtail Taxi
Boat

I adore Sanctuary Thailand! In wintertime, I found myself dancing around a moonlit beach bonfire, rocking in the New Year alongside the most eccentric and varied group I’d ever met: de-toxers and re-toxers, jet-setters, yogis. During my summer visit, I loved the young, health conscious, and flashpacker (upscale backpacker)-solo-traveler vibe.

The Sanctuary Thailand boasts a full-service Spa and Wellness Center, a full-on yoga and meditation schedule with classes held in a gorgeous open-air shala over looking lush jungle, accommodation ranging from mat-on-floor dorms to luxury tree houses, a delicious restaurant, and a Wellness Center offering a comprehensive detox program.

spa time for a thai massage

Spa time!

Gorgeous houses and private rooms are scattered throughout the jungle-beach property. Several accommodation-spa-yoga packages are available.

I’ve stayed in the gorgeous dorm above the restaurant for 200 baht per night ($4!), and in the Wellness Center’s Detox Dorm during a week-long cleanse.My 5-day detox (3.5 days fasting) was a less than $500 and included dorm, cleanse, my “last meal”, plus yoga, spa treatments, and unlimited steams (the clove-spiced steam room before or after a thai massage is to-die-for!).

the dorm gets a clean up

Dorms at Sanctuary
Thailand

The Wellness Center not only offers 2-14+ day detoxes, but also sells Kombucha, wheatgrass shots, and hosts plenty of reading material which can be enjoyed from any hammock or cushy chair on the property.

The restaurant’s menu includes tasty and healthy food which would appeal to any Modern Day Wildwoman (or man). You can order anything
from Thai to Indian, vegetarian to meat-eating with salads, salmon,
and steak. I indulged plenty in the Raw food section which not only
caters to detoxers, but anyone! And trust me, raw food tastes
especially delish during the hot Southeast Asian summer. I sampled
raw treats like “Not yogurt” (blended raw papaya, full of good-for-you enzymes) to “Raw Pad Thai” (made with raw radish) and raw soups.

Raw Pad Thai

Raw Pad Thai

striking a pose<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
like the good ole days in LA LA la

Coconut kisses,

Beach
Girl

Spa Girl Abroad: Onyang Hot Springs

Onyang Hot Springs South Korea

I’ve been feeling the pull to venture out for a solo daytrip for a couple weeks now…and what could be better than a day at the hot springs after dancing, singing, playing, “heavy-weight lifting” with 4 year olds all week???

So I ventured off in the AM, not quite settled on which hot spring to go to…I just headed out to Seoul Express Bus Terminal and figured I would wing it.
At the suggestion of my “Korea Sparkling” guidebook (a freebie I picked up at a tourist office), it was between Icheon Hot Springs and Onyang…both a little over an hour outside Seoul.
I asked the lady at the ticket window, “which better, Onyang or Icheon?”
She replies, “Onyang!”…and so I hopped on the 10:10am bus.
I was pretty excited to be off doing something on my own, and somehow got the idea that I was going to some rural area. I was a lot disappointed to see that Onyang looks a lot like…well..parts of Seoul! :/
Anyways, the actual Onyang Hot Springs are located inside the Onyang Hot Springs Hotel. I paid 5,500 won to get in, was handed towels and locker key, and in traditional Korean bathhouse style, stripped down to my birthday suit! The layout of the hotsprings is similar to any Korean bathhouse or jjimjilbang, with several baths of different temperatures and wet/dry saunas.
Onyang is the oldest hot spring in Korea, and is supposedly a tourist hotspot. However, I was the only Westerner there and could feel quite a few stares, but I just looked these ladies in the eyes and gave ’em a big smile that said, “don’t worry about me, I’ve done this Korean spa thing before”…
I beelined for the outdoor pool, where the sun was shining and I was thinking, “suntan suntan suntan”. Ahhhh the power of a little sun. I lazed in the pool for a while, then layed out on the ground around the hot spring pool. It felt so good to just allow the healing waters and sunlight do their magic. At one point, a Korean lady offered me her spot in the shade, which I politely declined. It’s so funny how they want to be whiter and us Westerners want to be darker.
My favorite part about the outdoor pool was what I want to call “massage waterfalls”. These are amazing! It was almost as good as getting a deep tissue massage. You just stand in the pool, underneath the waterfalls, and direct the water towards your shoulders, neck, back, tight hammies, anything. This week in particular, my stress had manifested itself in my neck. Fun. Been getting acupuncture all week for it. And I was able to get lots of those kinks out with the waterfall massage.
After a few hours at the springs, I hopped on another bus back to Seoul. Slept like a baby the whole ride home.