A Dive + Yoga Retreat
Koh Tao, Thailand
March 14-21, 2020
Join Wander Women Retreats for our second annual eight day women’s dive + yoga retreat on the island paradise of Koh Tao. The calming, healing benefits of both yoga and scuba diving are well documented – prepare to leave Thailand in a puddle of bliss!
For this retreat we’ve partnered with PADI, the world’s largest diving organization, to offer a tasting menu of all the incredible diving opportunities the Gulf of Thailand offers. We’ll take in some of Koh Tao’s most famous dive sites, from Sail Rock to Chumphon, explore continuing education courses from PADI Enriched Air to PADI Digital Underwater Photographer to PADI Freediving, and even try UV night diving (if you’re keen!). We’ll also learn about keeping our beautiful oceans sparkling with a cleanup dive, a conservation workshop and a private documentary screening at a local cinema.
And as for the yoga? You’ve never seen a more beautiful island on which to practice. We will explore creative vinyasa flows and try out yin yoga, SUP yoga, and more. There might even be a Sangria Sip + Salutations class on the itinerary (okay, there definitely is.) And all along the way, we’ll explore the connection between scuba diving and yoga, both of which hold conscious breathing at their core. Don’t be surprised if your buoyancy improves and your dive times increase as a result of this retreat!
This isn’t a crazy, four-dives-a-day-every-day diving trip. And it’s not a militant, up-before-sunrise-for-meditative-breathing yoga bootcamp, either. It’s a fun exploration of a bit of both! And that’s not all – we’ve got hiking, temples, and viewpoints all on the itinerary too. We’ll share meals, talk daydreams and swap travel stories, and you’ll meet the incredible Koh Tao tribe who make this magic happen. I want you to leave feeling inspired and well-adventured.
Bonus — new profile picture practically guaranteed. You’ll end the retreat with professional photos, including underwater portraits by an award-winning underwater photographer.
This retreat is available to all level of divers. We will match you to other divers at your experience level and have shared yet tailored experiences for all.
Optional Open Water or Advanced Open Water upgrade: For those who aren’t yet certified, we are offering a pre-retreat extension that includes accommodation and online e-learning prior to departure. Contact us for details! If you are not certified and are unable to extend your retreat, again, contact us to discuss your situation.
The dates of this retreat are March 14-21, 2020. The cost, including literally just about everything, is just $2,600 per person for a double share and $2,400 for a triple share.
This is less than the cost of most yoga retreats alone, and includes diving, professional photos, a PADI certification, and more. What I love about living and traveling in Southeast Asia is that luxury is financially accessible in ways it isn’t in other parts of the world, and I created this retreat with that in mind. Nab a spot now — spaces are limited.
• Seven nights shared accommodation in a private pool villa
• Breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday
• All scuba diving (aside from one optional night night)
• All yoga
• A private island tour of our insider favorite spots
• A welcome massage
• Professional photo sessions – on the yoga mat and under the sea!
• A free Wanderland Guide To Koh Tao ebook
• A custom welcome bag
• All on-island transportation
• An on-call dive medic who has consulted on our program
• 5% profit donation to local charities
What’s Not Included
• Dive equipment rental (see prices below)
• Optional Night Dive or UV Night Dive (see prices below)
• Pre-retreat add-on for Open Water Certification (contact us for more details)
• Alcohol – though a post-dive champagne toast here or there may be be thrown in (and by maybe we mean definitely!)
• Transport to and from Koh Tao (We are happy to help with your travel arrangements, however. There are dozens of ways to get to and from Koh Tao and after many years of making the journey, we know all the best ones!)
• Travel + dive insurance (see more information below)
Oh, The Places We’ll Go
Subject to change, and expect surprises, but here’s the general idea.
Day 1: Arrivals + welcome massages. Private dinner at villa and late night yin session.
Day 2: Morning vinyasa flow + quick hike to Fraggle Rock Viewpoint. Afternoon welcome dives followed by a group dinner on the beach.
Day 3: Two tank morning dive followed by lunch at a hip local cafe and some free time to explore. In the evening, a chilled yin yoga session followed by dinner + private ocean documentary screening at Koh Tao Cinema.
Day 4: Early morning yoga followed by a beach clean up, and a two tank conservation dive trip — one clean up dive and one stop at a popular artificial reef dive site. In the evening, a marine conservation presentation cocktail hour and group dinner at a favorite island restaurant with epic views.
Day 5: After a morning vinyasa flow, it’s Choose Your Own Adventure Day! Pick from PADI Discover Freediver, PADI Enriched Air or PADI Underwater Photographer. Optional Night Dive or UV Night Dive and pizza delivery at villa.
Day 6: Three-tank full day trip to Sail Rock, the Gulf’s most famous dive site. Sunset SUP yoga + another beautiful beachside dinner.
Day 7: Full day tour of hidden beaches, viewpoints, the local temple, and a lunch and a cooking demo at a local Thai cooking school. In the afternoon, Sangria Sip N’ Stretch yoga and a beach party followed by a festive farewell dinner.
Day 8: Breakfast delivery at the villa followed by personal time + departure at your leisure.
Where We’ll Stay and What We’ll Eat
We will be staying in a spa-like private pool villa set in a lush coconut grove, within walking distance from the heart of Sairee Village. There are luxurious outdoor showers, beautiful examples of Southeast Asian art, and comfy Western-style beds.
Double rooms have one king-sized bed and triple rooms have one kind-sized bed and one single bed. Of course you can room with a friend but if you’re traveling solo, fear not, so are most of our Wander Women guests! We’ll do our best to pair you with someone we think you’ll click with based on your intake forms — and we’ll all be besties by the end anyway.
We’ll be making full use of the villa by having dive briefings given poolside, and smoothie bowl breakfast delivered to our dining room daily by our dear friends at Living Juices and Coconut Monkey. That won’t be all — a private chef will drop by regularly to whip up healthy, delicious, instagram-able meals.
Outside lunches and dinners will be held at a curated selection of our favorite restaurants on the island, and offer a variety of local Thai specialties and healthy Western favorites. Koh Tao is a foodie’s paradise and we’re excited to show off the best of the best! Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and other diets can easily be accommodated.
Koh Tao is one of the world’s top destinations when it comes to number of annual dive certifications issued – in fact, it’s second only to Cairns, Australia. Travelers flock from across Southeast Asia to take their first breaths underwater in the coral reefs fringing this little rock – myself included! – and it’s simple to see why: teaching standards are high, conditions are breezy, dive sites are abundant, and it’s a seriously blissful place to decompress after a day underwater.
We’ll hit some of the Gulf’s top dive sites, including Sail Rock and Chumphon pinnacles and the wreck of the HTMS Sattukut, and enjoy Koh Tao’s unique coral gardens, rocky swim throughs, and artificial reefs. We’ll rock a cleanup dive, and give you the opportunity to sign up for an optional night dive or a UV night dive if you’re still craving more compressed air.
You’ll also get to take home a fresh new continuing education certification! For the Choose Your Own Adventure day, choose between the following courses. Each are one day PADI dive courses.
Digital Underwater Photographer: Ace the shot! Learn about underwater photography techniques, how to interact with marine life, and editing tips. An underwater camera or a camera rental (which we can facilitate) is required for this course. Read my review of a longer version of this course here.
Basic Freediver: Try it without a tank! The “DSD” of freediving, Basic Freediver teaches basic freediving principles, practices breathhold techniques, and gets your fins wet in the introductory skills.
Enriched Air: Dive safer and stay down longer! An Enriched Air certification is good for life and will allow you to dive on nitrox around the world. Plus, it feels great. If you need a break from diving for any reason, this course can be conducted as a dry course. Read my review of a longer version of this course here.
Dive and Downward Dog With Us
Hi! My name is Alexandra Baackes, and Koh Tao is an island I feel blessed to have called home for the better part of seven years. I first visited during a summer abroad in college, and quickly returned post-graduation to work in the dive industry as an underwater videographer. I’ve spent the majority of my twenties here — I kind of grew up on this island.
Today, I’m a full-time travel blogger and I could go anywhere – but still, Koh Tao calls me home. I love helping friends and readers plan trips here, and I’m absolutely thrilled to be once again sharing this dream trip with what is sure to be a kick-ass group of women. I’m a PADI Divemaster and AmbassaDiver and a RYT 200 Registered Yoga Teacher.
The Wander Women team on Koh Tao consists of one of the most experienced, energetic female dive teams on the island, a crew of passionate and talented yoga teachers, and an incredible community of female entrepreneurs we partner with. You’re just going to be blown away — I know I am!
Praise For Wander Women
I was so honored to be a part of the very first Wander Women retreat. Alex and her retreat team created such a thoughtfully curated experience for us on Koh Tao, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Everyone was so eager for us to enjoy their little piece of paradise. Every detail was taken care of and it was obvious to me the care that went into planning. I made wonderful new friends and we still keep in touch (shoutout to my #OGWanderWomen crew). I highly recommend making a Wander Women retreat (or many!) part of your plans. You won’t regret it. — Rika
Wander Women Retreats was an experience of a lifetime! It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded travel girlfriends. I met some of the most amazing women – now friends – on the retreat! I learned so much from the dive masters and instructors on the trip that became a better diver! Hands down – one of the best trips of my life! — Katie
Thank you so much for all who made this trip so wonderful. Everything was so thoughtfully planned- the food, the accommodations and all the activities. I left the retreat feeling empowered by all the incredible women involved in making this retreat so special. — Taylor
The Wander Women Koh Tao Retreat really felt like it was built just for me. I felt so comfortable the entire trip, learned so much, and really gained a new love for both diving and yoga. I had such a blast with the other girls and will cherish the memories we made forever! I loved every second of it. Thank you Alex + Koh Tao Team! — Brittany
This retreat has limited space and is likely to sell out quickly. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your spot. Payment plans are available.
Can’t make this one? Check out our other retreats — guests attending multiple retreats receive 10% off all of them. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to know when enrollment opens on future retreats. Remember, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any and all questions or concerns over if this is the right retreat for you. I’d love to chat!
Wander Women Koh Tao: A Dive + Yoga Retreat in Thailand
$2,200.00 – $2,400.00
Why women only?
Guys, I love you, and I promise that future retreats I have in mind will be open to you, too. But diving is still a male-dominated industry, and I wanted to take a week to celebrate the sisterhood of scuba. (Please don’t judge me that I say phrases like, “sisterhood of scuba.”)
Will I have time to do my own thing?
This is your retreat and I want you to make it exactly what you want! There’s so much I want you to see and experience on Koh Tao, we will have a pretty full schedule. However, it’s packed with restorative moments like beach time, massages, and relaxing by our private pool. And any time you want to bow out to have some “me-time” or do your own thing, that’s totally cool.
Can I do a payment plan and pay in installments?
Absolutely. Email me at email@example.com.
How much money will I need to bring?
You can pre-pay for the optional night dive for $50USD or the UV night dive for $75USD. For rental gear, a full set of the below is available for the week for $150USD, or you can rent by the piece:
• BCD: $40USD
• Regulator: $40USD
• Wetsuit: $20USD
• Mask set: $10USD
• Fins: $10USD
• Dive computer: $60USD
Is it possible to have a private room?
Technically that’s possible. Contact me for more details.
Will I need travel insurance?
Yes, everyone will be required to have travel + diving insurance for the duration of the trip. World Nomads offers both at incredibly affordable rates — I recommend their scuba dive insurance and their travel insurance, which will reimburse you in the case of flight delay, medical issues, and more.
Is there an age requirement?
You must be 18 years old or older.
What about visas?
Thailand is a visa-free country for most passports. If you’re from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and most of Europe, you can enter for thirty days visa-free. I’ve been navigating Thailand’s visa rules for years and I’m happy to help you figure out your specific situation.
I want to extend my trip to explore more of Thailand. Any suggestions?
Absolutely! I’ve been traveling Thailand for a decade and can give you tons of advice — starts with my destinations page, and we can talk from there.
What is the refund policy?
The $500 deposit to secure your space is non-refundable. Beyond that, if you cancel at least 60 days before departure, you’ll receive 100% of your remaining retreat fee back. If you cancel between 30-60 days before departure, you’ll receive a 50% refund. Cancellation less than 30 days before departure will result in a 0% refund.
Is there a waiting list?
There will be a waiting list on a first-come, first-served basis in case spaces open up. If the retreat is full and you’re still interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the waiting list.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Yes. Departure is not guaranteed until the minimum number of guests is met. If the minimum is not met within one month, your deposit will be fully refunded. Please do not book flights or other non-refundable travel until we guarantee departure.
I still have questions, or cute photos of my dog. Can I contact you?
Um, yes please! My email is email@example.com.