Samui Wining & Dining
AEROBICS TO ZUMBA
A guide to health and fitness options on Samui.

A guide to health and fitness options on Samui.So you have arrived on the sun-drenched (most of the time), tropical, palm-fringed island of Samui. You have relaxed, sunbathed on a number of the islands’ gorgeous beaches, and swum in the warm, clear waters that surround this idyllic picture-postcard destination. You have been spoilt for choice with dining options, and eaten at a number of the excellent restaurants, serving a huge variety of fantastic local and international cuisine. You may have followed this by exploring the bars and night clubs on offer. You have toured the island, visiting temples, waterfalls, viewpoints and the heavily forested island interior. You hopefully had the opportunity to ride an elephant and climb the steep steps to the top of Big Buddha temple, where you delighted in ringing the bells around its summit. You are feeling rested from your crazy busy life that seems so far away right now, but maybe, just maybe, something is missing. Ah, maybe your physical body is not feeling too thankful for all the relaxation and overindulgence.

          

Luckily, there are an increasing number of health and fitness options on Samui to help you out. Doing just a bit of exercise each day is guaranteed to benefit your heart, overall disposition and fitness. Samui has this covered with a variety of water and land-based activities.

          

Consider the water; after all this is an island. Kayaks are available at most hotels and resorts. If you take a boat trip to Angthong National Marine Park, there is normally a kayak option when you arrive. SUP, the common acronym for ‘stand up paddle boarding’, is the latest craze to hit the water, and there is even ‘yoga on a paddle board’ sessions available. Kite surfing is popular, A guide to health and fitness options on Samui.but check out the location as it changes twice a year as the prevailing wind swaps direction. Of course, you can always don a pair of goggles and go for a swim in the ocean or pool. Even if your resort or hotel doesn’t have a pool, you can often jump into one elsewhere for the price of a drink, or a small fee. Swimming teachers are also available on the island, catering for private or group lessons.

          

Back on land, you can walk or run along one of Samui’s gorgeous beaches. Sunrise and sunset are fantastic times for striding or strolling, whilst marvelling at the deep oranges and reds often seen in the skies at these times. Chaweng Lake has a wide and flat paved area on its eastern shore, where you can join with many others who are walking, running, cycling or skateboarding to get their daily exercise. If you are a serious runner, there is also a running club on the island. You can meet up with experienced runners and learn about the more challenging routes or distances. If speed is your thing, you will find Namuang stadium, a 400m running track in the south of the island, near Hua Thanon. Koh Samui Hash House Harriers meet in different places most weekends. All runners or walkers are welcome, and there is always an organised social session afterwards.

          

The continued resurfacing and improvements to the roads in Samui have led to a huge rise in the popularity of cycling. Individuals, clubs and families take to the roads every morning before the temperature rises. Mountain bikers can also venture up some of the back roads and find many off-road tracks that link up across the island. Some resorts have bicycles available, or you can hire them locally.A guide to health and fitness options on Samui. Do check the quality before venturing out, as this is highly variable. A few companies also offer organised tours, a great way to explore the island and get off the beaten track.

          

If you prefer your exercise in cooler temperatures, then gyms and fitness studios are opening up at a rate of knots, catering for most tastes in fitness exercise. Many, but not all, are air conditioned, some have personal trainers you can hire for an extra fee, and some offer classes such as spin, step aerobics, boot camp and cross fit. Some studios specialise in areas such as dance, including ballet, hip-hop, street dance, Salsa, Zumba and even pole dancing. Muay Thai gyms are also springing up all over the island, offering group or private classes in the Thai national sport; some also offer mixed martial arts (MMA). So if you are experienced, or just fancy giving it a go, get those gloves on and start punching and kicking. Most gyms offer daily, weekly or monthly rates.

          

For those of you who would rather have a slightly more relaxed environment for your exercise, yoga studios are plentiful on Samui. They can be found in spa resorts or private enterprises all around the island. Many different styles are available, such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha or Bikram (hot yoga). Some studios also offer Pilates classes, and many teachers will be happy to arrange private sessions for individuals or groups.

          

If you are more into team or partnered sports, then you can find facilities that cater for football, tennis, squash, badminton and golf.

          

“Well that’s all great,” you may say, “But what if I just want to be pampered, eat healthy food and maybe do a body detox whilst I am here.” Well Samui has that covered too.

          

Massage is available on almost every street corner and beach. But if you want something altogether more specialist, then there are many spas or private practices that offer an array of intriguing services. Holistic medicine and healing therapies available include Chinese medicine, acupuncture, osteopathy, homeopathy, counselling, colonic hydrotherapy, hypnotherapy and a wide range of specialist massages. There are steam rooms and saunas; you can even find a floatation tank where you can experience the peace of floating weightlessly in complete isolation with absolutely no distractions.

          

The last few years have seen a definite increase in personal knowledge, understanding and desire to eat more healthily. In response, many cafes have opened to cater for that market. Some offer 100% organic ingredients, with vegetarian, vegan, and raw food options. You can organise a detox through a spa, or one of a host of new ventures cropping up. They will design and deliver your personal program in the form of fresh juices or shakes, direct to your door every day.

          

So, if you can steal yourself away from lazing by the warm blue ocean waters, admiring the awesome scenery, grazing on gorgeous tempting food and cocktails in snazzy locations, or indulging in some expert pampering, then there are plenty of health and fitness options to keep your body ticking over, and give you a thankful, guilt-free and now very calm and relaxed mind.

          

Karan Ladd

 

 


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