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- “Study the science of art.
Study the art of science.
Develop your senses.
Especially learn how to see.
Realize that everything
connects to everything else.”
— Leonardo da Vinci
Join us in Thailand for a 5-day nature retreat where you will learn to habitually bring your full attention into the present moment using meditation and flow psychology, thereby heightening your ecological awareness of the natural surroundings in one of our Planet Earth’s most awe-inspiring tropical paradises.
Unplug from today’s hyper-connected world and reconnect with nature while exploring white sand beaches, hiking up to the most panoramic lookouts, and trekking through the refreshing tropical jungle. Then, top it off with 2 more days of nature immersion sailing the 42-island Ang Thong Archipelago.
On this adventure, you will learn about Thailand’s unique tropical island ecology and immerse yourself in the biodiverse rainforest of Koh Phangan’s Than Sadet National Park. It’s the perfect ecosystem to expand your ecological awareness and develop a deeper appreciation for the interconnected wonders of nature.
We will also experience Thailand’s unique forest monk tradition where orange-robed monks spend their days walking and reciting prayers in the jungle. You will learn the amazing story of the local forest monks who lobbied to preserve the unique ecology of Koh Phangan and had the foresight to advocate for the establishment of Than Sadet National Park.
Whereas Thailand is known for its Buddhist temples and monasteries, it’s also one of the most animistic societies in the world. Exploring Koh Phangan, we will gain insight into the Thai traditions of building Spirit Houses and honoring Sacred Trees found throughout the island while also exploring the island’s fascinating Buddhist monasteries.
Each day will include an in-depth workshop for learning life-changing practices, including: sensory immersion meditation, flow psychology and creative storytelling, partnered with ecological knowledge about the tropical flora and fauna.
Make lifelong friends, surrounding yourself with motivated individuals who want to foster a better world in harmony with nature. Then, return home transformed and eager to share your ecological knowledge with your local community.
We will start the adventure learning about the traditions of Thai Buddhism on a tour of Wat Koh Tahm, a mountaintop monastery buried in the jungle. Here we will explore Buddhist ideas about liberation from desire and anxiety, and join the monks on our first walking meditation session.
Afterwards, we will travel to Than Sadet National Park and hike to the upper elevations of the cloud forest to learn about rainforest ecology and experience the panoramic view of the coconut plantations with the Ang Thong archipelago in the distance from the spectacular Dome Sila viewpoint.
After the hike, we will visit the Phaeng Waterfall for a refreshing swim in the crystal clear pools, followed by a shore lunch and a visit to the majestic Guanyin Temple overlooking Chaloklum Bay. Known as the ‘Goddess of Mercy Shrine’, this fascinating Chinese temple is dedicated to the legendary bodhisattva Guanyin.
Inside the Great Treasure Hall, we will learn the fascinating stories of 3 legendary bodhisattvas: Puxian who is depicted seated on an elephant, Wenshu who is seen sitting on a lion and the 1000-hand statue of Guanyin.
To top it all off, we will watch the sunset over the spectacular Mae Haad peninsula from the 360 Bar and visit local hotspot The Dome for an interactive music, bonfire, and sweat lodge experience.
At the Guanyin Temple, we will participate in an in-depth workshop on the philosophy of meditation and self-compassion to gain a deeper understanding of how the mind’s craving (desire) and aversion (fear) perpetuate a cycle of dissatisfaction.
We will explore how the Western practice of the pursuit of happiness through ephemeral desires and materialism programs us for the cycle of seeking instant gratification and social validation followed by dissatisfaction. Then we will we find out how to break this cycle by using mindfulness triggers and self-compassion.
In the morning, we will rise and climb Khao Ra (627 m), the highest peak on Koh Phangan. Along the 3-hour journey, we will explore how the tropical rainforest ecosystem changes as you climb to higher elevations.
On the hike, you will be introduced to the practice of bringing your full attention to your immediate sensory experience and we will practice our first sensory immersion meditation session in the tropical jungle.
After the hike, we will swim in the Khao Ra waterfall that flows from the cloud forests above, followed by a wholesome lunch on one of the island’s popular patios facing the mountains.
After lunch, we will go on a boat adventure to Bottle Beach, which is only accessible by boat and jungle trek. At the beach, we will learn about the beach ecosystem and climb to a small mountain lookout to do another sensory immersion meditation session. After that, we will have a few hours to play volleyball and frisbee, swim, and relax on the beach.
An hour before sunset, we will return by boat to explore Hin Kong Bay, which is the largest tidal bay on the Island. Here we will learn about the importance of mangroves for the health of the environment and we will practice a third session of sensory immersion meditation while walking barefoot on the sand flats and enjoying the sunset.
While exploring Khao Ra, we will learn about the fascinating rainforest ecosystem and how to identify the abundant trees, mushrooms and plant species in the tropical jungle ecosystem.
We will also learn about what’s been coined the “Wood Wide Web”, the interconnected mycorrhizal fungi networks that link plants and trees together in the soil and make the miracle of life on Planet Earth possible.
Mushrooms are the fruiting, reproductive bodies of these fungal networks, playing a crucial role in maintaining the ecological balance. New scientific research is uncovering just how crucial fungi are to the evolution of life on Planet Earth — without fungi, there would be no forest, nor any humans to appreciate it.
You will enjoy a free day where you can relax at the beach and explore the island with your new friends. In the morning and early afternoon, there will be two optional workshops to choose from (they will also be recorded if you wish to view them later).
At 3 pm, we will do a 1.5-hour jungle hike from Haad Rin at the southern tip of the island to the spectacular Tri-Bay Lookout and then on to the legendary party at Why Nam Beach. Along the way, we will visit Haad Yuan Bay to take in the incredible views, then follow the inspirational coconuts marking the road to Why Nam.
We will watch the sunset over the mountains at Why Nam and spend the evening dancing to some of the world’s best house and trance music before returning to our resort by longboat under the stars.
We will explore how understanding ecosystems and the ways nature creates resilient lifeforms and biodiversity are becoming crucial to producing technologies and healthier living environments for both human beings and the global ecology.
We will learn what makes a compelling story and why we all need to become good storytellers to break through the noise today. You will follow a 7-step process for crafting narratives around your experiences so you can better capture people’s attention.
Many people come to Koh Phangan for the world famous Full Moon Parties and they never even realize that one of Thailand’s most spectacular national parks is just around the corner.
For our last 2 days together, we will experience full natural immersion on a sailing adventure to Ang Thong National Marine Park where we will sleep outdoors under the galaxy of light we call the Milky Way.
Ang Thong translates as “golden bowl”. It occupies almost 250 sq. km. and includes 50 sq. km. of limestone islands and karst topography rising from the sea as dramatic rock cliffs and bizarre rock formations that give the impression from a distance that they are levitating.
Naturally, this makes it one of the best places in the world for a sailing adventure. On our sailing expedition in Ang Thong National Marine Park, we will learn about the ecological wonders of this archipelago and enjoy several magical islands that we will have completely to ourselves.
Caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches await us. We will go snorkeling to learn about the unique marine ecology of the shallow coral gardens and explore the ancient geological erosion patterns that make the rock islands appear like they are levitating on the water.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is a protected nature reserve consisting of 42 islands. It is world famous for its natural beauty and it is home to Emerald Lagoon, the location that inspired Alex Garland’s novel The Beach.
In his book, Garland places the secret beach in the Gulf of Thailand, not the Andaman Sea. But when the book was made into the Hollywood movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, it wasn’t practical to film in the isolated wilderness of Ang Thong so Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi was used instead because it was more accessible for the bulky filming equipment.
All of the islands in Ang Thong National Park are uninhabited and undeveloped except for two. One being Koh Wua Talap where will stay one night and the other is Koh Paluay, which is inhabited by sea gypsies who earn a living from fishing.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Koh Phangan to enjoy a feast and then a beach bonfire to share our experiences and stories from this epic adventure.
The first night under the stars, we will explore the major constellations and gain an understanding of why ancient cultures were so obsessed with the heavens. We will explore the cosmologies (how life and the cosmos began) of different cultures and how they gave their people a deep sense of wonder and belonging in the Universe.
We will learn what astronomer Carl Sagan had to say about the Vedic Cosmology in particular, which is the ancient worldview that aligns most closely with the discoveries of modern science and astronomy.
Throughout our adventure in Ang Thong, we will learn about the marine and jungle ecology, connecting that knowledge to the animistic traditions of Thailand.
We will gain a deeper understanding of how ecological awareness can restore our connection to the cycle of life and cultivate a more holistic awareness of the sacredness of the earth, air, water and sunlight that sustains our health and vitality.
On Koh Phangan, we will be staying at Phangan Cove Resort near the village of Srithanu. You will get your own private bungalow steps from the white sand beach and the town of Srithanu, which is Thailand’s yoga mecca.
For the nature immersion experience in Ang Thong National Park, you have the option to camp under the stars or stay in your own private bungalow on the Ranger’s Island.
All transportation, our daily educational workshops and all the meals we share together are included. There will be lots of great options available at each meal for vegetarians and vegans.
Snacks, travel insurance, and a SIM card are recommended.
We will pick you up at the Tong Sala Ferry the night before the Koh Phangan Quest begins, but you should arrange for airfare and transportation to Koh Phangan from Bangkok (feel free to contact us with questions as we’d be happy to help you).
Early bird pricing is available until January 1st. The regular price afterward will be $1995.