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Discover The Sanctuary, a secluded beach on the Thai island of Koh Phangan

It is is the hidden Thai community said to have inspired The Beach.


Getting to the jungle-backed cove said to have inspired Alex Garland’s cult novel The Beach is a fittingly adventurous experience.


I don’t have to bribe a local boatie to get me there like the young backpacker characters from the book and Hollywood blockbuster it inspired. Nor do I have to swim from a nearby island, flee a gang of armed marijuana farmers, and jump off a waterfall into a pool whose depth cannot be gauged from the top.


But for this far less fearless Kiwi traveller, catching a flight from Chiang Rai followed by a speedboat through post-storm swells so large I feel like I’m on a roller coaster offers up a big enough dose of adrenaline.


Hidden in the little-developed southeast corner of Thailand’s Koh Phangan island, the Sanctuary is a modern hippie-style health resort which has garnered something of a cult following. It’s the kind of place you might hear about when you’re going through a tough time and a sympathetic friend or acquaintance confides that it changed their life. Guests frequently extend their stays, and return again and again.


French guest Pierre-Luc Edmond said he stumbled on the resort after quitting his job in merchandising for a big luxury fashion company in Paris and researching yoga teaching training courses abroad.


“With hindsight it was a period where I was depleted,” he said. “I felt burnt out and I desperately needed some way to recover and rebuild my strength.”







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