ISLAND FITNESS

Written by root. Posted in Featured Article, FEATURES

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Published on March 01, 2020 with No Comments

Enjoy both a tropical escape and unforgettable fitness holiday? Make it happen at Koh Samui’s luxurious hotel, Belmond Napasai.

Words & Images BELMOND LTD

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Whether conquering the waves, being pampered with slimming spa rituals or trying your hand at authentic Thai boxing, Koh Samui has endless options to help you stay in shape. And the ideal base for all of the above and more is Belmond Napasai. “Our gym, Muay Thai boxing ring, watersport facilities, yoga sky deck and complimentary bicycles provide everything you need to stay active during your tropical holiday,” says Assistant Sport Manager Khun Chud. “You can always find the time for leisure on the golden sands of our private beach… After a tennis match, of course.”

A true Thai treasure nestled in the hills of the northern coast of Koh Samui, you’ll find Belmond Napasai, enveloped in acres of lush greenery. The villas are tucked between cashew and coconut groves, amidst blooms of hibiscus and branches of bougainvillea. After you’re welcomed with coconut ice cream, wander through the gardens to meet the resident water buffaloes.

Through its doors, teak furnishings bring the feel of nature inside, while traditional weavings and cotton drapes billow in the breeze. The hardest decision you’ll have to make is whether to look out onto the sugar-white sands of the beach or the rambling wild of the jungle.

The one thing we say you must do? Kickstart your wellbeing and take part in complimentary fitness options that change with the season, along with a range of classes offered throughout the year at the grounds of the hotel. Sure, there will always be plenty of time to R&R with the cool sea breeze across your face but why not make it also an energetic and fruitful island-fitness holiday at Koh Samui by taking advantage at what’s available in Belmond Napasai.

For starters, feel your pulse race as you take one of the resort’s bikes for a tour through the jungle, guided by one of its local experts. It’s an excellent way to sneak in some cardio, while keeping your eyes open for the island’s exotic flora and fauna. Pick your partner and head to the resort’s tennis courts, free to use for all guests including racquet and ball hire. Whether a total novice or a seasoned pro, a healthy competition with your friends, family or colleagues will get your blood pumping and work off any of those extra calories.

For those looking for something truly authentic, try your hand (or foot) at Muay Thai, traditional Thai boxing. The national sport of Thailand and known as the ‘art of eight limbs’, this combat technique requires the use of hands, feet, elbows, knees and shins. The sport is so intrinsically entwined with Thai culture that the country celebrates Boxer’s Day every March. The event is held in honour of Nai Khanomtom, a prisoner of the Burmese King in the 18th century, who used his exceptional unarmed fighting skills to defeat 10 of the king’s best champions and earn his freedom. “Every part of the Thai is blessed with venom,” remarked the impressed king, “even with his bare hands he can fell 10 opponents.”

Complimentary classes are held each week at Belmond Napasai to introduce visitors to this time-honoured and historic sport. It’s an exceptional cardio activity and will help build core and muscle strength. “One hour of Muay Thai will make you move more and work up more of a sweat than is possible in the gym,” explains Khun Chud, who also serves as the resort’s Muay Thai instructor. “Getting started is simple, even for beginners. We’ll teach you the very basics of kicking, punching, elbow and knee movement.” For those looking to take their studies further, Khun Chud can also offer personalised one-on-one sessions to help you achieve your individual goals.

AQUATIC ADRENALINE
You don’t have to stay on terra firma to find ways to stay in shape. The dazzling waters of the Gulf of Thailand beckon, filled with fun activities that double as a great workout. Take to the waves in the resort’s kayaks. As you propel through the azure tides, the swaying palms dotting the horizon, it is easy to assume that this is a leisurely pastime. However keeping the kayak moving even at a low speed of around half a mile per hour will burn almost 500 calories over 60 minutes. Without noticing, you will be making around 500 strokes per mile with the oar; with the resistance of the water, this is a phenomenal way to tone your back, chest, stomach and arms. Not only that, but being away from your everyday cares in this picture-perfect setting, totally in control of your own speed, will work wonders to combat stress.

Try your hand at windsurfing, also complimentary for all guests. This is also a great calorie-burning sport, calling on many muscle groups to keep you standing and balanced, making it superb as both a cardiovascular workout and a core-strengthening exercise.

For those accustomed with exercising above the waves, consider delving beneath them for an exciting sub-aquatic experience. With a great position near some of Thailand’s best diving destinations, Belmond Napasai is a fantastic base for scuba diving and snorkelling adventures. PADI-certified instructors also run introductory sessions twice
a week in the resort’s pool.

The natural resistance of the water provides great muscle toning throughout your body and helps improve physical stamina, while an hour scuba diving can easily burn as many calories as you’d work through in a standard gym. Moreover, scuba requires mindfully-slow, deep breathing to optimise air consumption, similar to breathing exercises required during meditation. This helps promote a calm, clear and relaxed state of mind that, combined with the fascinating underwater encounters with local plants and fish, will work wonders for your general sense of wellbeing.

And if you are in search of more peaceful pursuits, you might wish to unwind beside the freshwater infinity pool. With stunning ocean views, it’s the perfect place as the sky turns pink.

MIND/BODY BALANCE
Maintaining physical fitness often goes hand-in-hand with improving mental and emotional health. Exercise is proven to provide an endorphin release that combats stress and leaves you feeling positive. However, for those in need of an additional spiritual top-up, Belmond Napasai has you covered.

Take part in a complimentary yoga session, offered throughout the week on the panoramic skydeck. Expert instructors will lead you through a series of stretches and poses, promoting flexibility and muscle elasticity, paying special attention to breathing techniques and mindfulness. Not only can yoga help de-stress and promote a calm, relaxed state of mind, other benefits include boosting immunity on a cellular level, improving sleep quality, reducing the risk of heart disease and it can even ease chronic conditions such as back pain and arthritis.

Further holistic indulgence can be found at Napasai Spa, a tranquil sanctuary offering treatments rooted in traditional Thai medicine and Oriental philosophy. Feel light as a feather with the Kra-Chap Slimming Body Ritual; a combination of Sea Salt Body Scrub, Contouring Body Wrap and Slimming Massage to help tone and define your silhouette. Or enjoy a Traditional Royal Thai Massage, an ancient therapy with a history dating back over 2,500 years. This mindful treatment uses pressure and body manipulation to boost internal energy flow, balancing the spirit and providing the ultimate in relaxation.

EXPLORE THE ISLAND
Decide to give the fitness activities a rest? Don’t forget to explore the beautiful island of Koh Samui. For an insight into Eastern spiritual practices, visit the temple of Wat Phra Ya. A golden statue of The Buddha towers over visitors at a striking 12m in height. Two rainbow-coloured dragons trail down the temple staircase, guarding against ill will.

The jungle is so lush and the waters so clear that it feels as though nature offers an insight into the divine here, too. Explore the untouched inland with a jungle trek, passing thunderous waterfalls and hilltop lookouts. Nestled behind the rock formations of Hun Ta Hin Yau on the southeastern side of the island, the Lamai Viewpoint offers breathtaking views. Gaze over the treetops and out across the sea.

You simply won’t be able to resist jumping in. Your scuba diving introductory lesson in Belmond Napasai’s infinity pool comes in handy. Hit the open water at Ang Thong National Marine Park. The reserve offers 100sq km of perfectly-preserved waters that teem with colourful corals and tropical fish. Be sure to stop for lunch at one of the many hidden coves.

For it is through the captivating flavours of Thai cuisine that this tropical land is truly brought home. Venture into the nearby town of of Maenam for a local breakfast from the legendary Pancake Man, or learn the tricks of the trade with a cooking class at Belmond Napasai. Led by local chefs, you’ll learn to recreate authentic recipes and will cook with ingredients grown in the hotel’s acres of farmland.

And after all the adrenalin-pumping activities, nothing feels more satisfying than to just sit back and relax. Come nightfall, the hotel grounds are lit with fire torches and fairy lights strung through the trees. Enjoy Mediterranean and Asian dishes at its fine-dining restaurant, Lai Thai, or tiptoe towards the sound of the sea and find the beach restaurant. Try the traditional hotpot or expertly prepared local seafood as the waves lap gently on the shore. On the way back to your hillside villa, breathe in the delicate scent of frangipani mixed with the sea breeze – indeed, a true slice of paradise for a sense of serenity and calm.

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Bangkok daily via codeshare with Thai Airways for easy connections to Koh Samui. Discover things to do in Koh Samui in www.muhibah.com.bn

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