FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you have any further questions or concerns that you cannot locate here, please contact us using our contact form!  We will be very happy to reply and do our best to answer within 24 hours.

About Training
  1. Is it safe to train at the Retreat? Of course it is, and we take pride in our Retreat’s excellent safety record.
  2. What is the philosophical basis of your teachings? Shaolin is a Buddhist tradition so our teachings are based on Buddhism.  Master Iain Armstrong is a Buddhist and studies Buddhist teachings. Our Retreat is open to people of all beliefs, though, and we do not insist on our students becoming Buddhists.  The main emphasis of our teaching is on Kung Fu / Chi Kung / Meditation. The Kung Fu Masters can answer many questions on Buddhism and give introduction to Buddhist teachings and practises if you are interested.  Our teaching is also heavily influenced by Taoism and Confucianism.
  3. I am confused as to which program I should pursue.  What do you recommend? For most people our Shaolin Warrior Program is the ideal choice.  It is entirely suitable for beginners and has a well balanced, stimulating content.   If you prefer a softer program with a lower level of fitness training consider our Internal Kung Fu, Qigong and Meditation program.  Both of these programs are best combined with our Intensive introductory course so as to get you off to a strong start. If you are looking for a more relaxed, spiritual experience with a lot less physical exertion choose our Qigong and Meditation for Life Balance program. Our teachers will be very happy to offer you advice on your choice and it is usually possible to switch between different programs or combine elements to make your own program with just a little advanced notice.
  4. I have zero experience in Kung Fu or Qigong, will this be a problem? You need not worry about being new to this. Many of our students arrive with no knowledge or experience in Kung Fu, Qigong or meditation, but all leave fitter, experienced, and better than when they came. We do have breaks in both morning and afternoon sessions and it is also possible for individuals to rest for a bit if they need to. The morning sessions are not very demanding physically. It is very likely that there will be others here with zero experience. Our advice: Do not hesitate, you will not regret coming. 
  5. Will my previous martial arts background help me in training? Any previous experience should prove very helpful to you and will allow you to progress very quickly with our training!  
  6. How many students are there in a group? Group sizes vary considerably depending on how many people we have staying at the Retreat.  They could be from 3 -30! We have 6 - 12 instructors here so there is usually at least one instructor per 5 - 6 students, although it does  vary.  There can be up to 4 different classes running at the same time each with different teachers - not everyone is combined into the same group.  We do go out of our way to make sure that every student gets the attention that they need.
  7. Are there women attending and/or teaching the program? Yes, we do have female instructors.  Please check our 'Instructor page'.  We have had numerous female students who have immensely enjoyed their fulfilling and exciting experience here. You may find our students' testimonials on Tripadvisor.
  8. I’m already in my 60s, is it still ok for me to train? Students generally range from the age of 18 to 60.  Recently, we had a student of 70 here for 6 weeks and he coped fine with the training so you should have no trouble at all.
  9. Are there any prerequisites before training at the Retreat? We are very flexible and do our best to help all of our students get the best out of themselves.  It is a good idea to work on your flexibility and fitness before joining us, but we always take our students as they are and do our best to make sure that they all leave in much better shape than they arrive, mentally as well as physically.
  10. How do I prepare myself for the training? You should do plenty of stretching and some general fitness work to get started. It would also be a good idea to study Master Iain’s book on Chi Kung.  You may mail us direct to order a copy. Also, if you follow us on Facebook, you could keep an eye on very useful tips and information.
  11. Are there any exercises that I should do to put myself into shape for the training? Yes, the general training in strength, fitness and flexibility would be useful but we recommend to avoid using weights.
  12. I would like to spar but not face hits, and prefer boxing. Is that possible? We often do Pushing Hands training, which is a form of sparing which does not involve hitting each other.  We are a Kung Fu school so our training is very much focused on Kung Fu rather than boxing.
  13. Will I get a certificate after training? Yes, we provide certificates after completing our instructor training courses. For short stays, we can print a very nice commendation certificate noting what training you have done for a small fee.
  14. Do you offer yoga? No, we do not teach yoga. Although yoga is not a part of our program, we highly emphasize in teaching Kung Fu, Chi Kung and Meditation. Meditation is a key part of our training program. Kung fu and Chi Kung, when done properly, is a meditation in motion.  We do have our group meditation classes, but also we encourage our students to meditate individually during their free time.
  15. Can I have more information on your programs?

For more information on our Shaolin Warrior Program, check here.

For more information on our Internal Kung Fu Program, check here.

For more information on our Life Balance Program, check here.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate in contacting us us we are very happy to assist you!

About the Retreat
  1. What are your hours of operation?
    We are open from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. We may be a little flexible if you arrive outside the hours of operation upon informing us of the details of your arrival. For very late check-ins, we have an out of hours’ check-in fee.  Please let us know what time you intent to visit or check in so we can arrange someone to meet you. 
  2. What are the facilities at the Retreat?
    Our facilities include 3 training areas - 2 of which are roofed with mats and a gym to suit specifically Kung Fu students. We also have a Meditation / Prayer Room, Tree House, Dining area where we prepare food and teas, Reception office, Gardens, and a smoking area.  For accommodation, take a look here. For more information on our facilities, check here.
  3. What is the language used at the Retreat?
    English is the common language here and all lessons are conducted in English. Conversation between students is almost always in English. All teachers are fluent and most are native speakers. It is also very easy to get by with English in the local area.  Pai is very popular with western tourists.
  4. Is there a kitchen for student use?
    We have kettles and tea making facilities available to students.  We do not have a student kitchen as it raises hygiene issues. The fridges are appropriate for fruit and pre-prepared food.  Most students like to go out for lunch, though - it serves as a little social activity, breaks up the day and gives a chance to try different local restaurants and foods.
  5. Is there a laundry available?
    Yes, we do have launderette style washing machines at the Retreat. There are three full-sized, self-service washing machines at the Retreat and they cost 30 THB per load (coin-operated).  A decent sized bag of washing powder is also very inexpensive. If you wish to take your laundry in town, the prices vary from roughly 30 THB-70 THB per kilo depending on the type of service and the time frame requested.  
  6. How fast is the Internet at the Retreat?
    We have fairly fast wifi. Obviously the wifi is strongest nearest the routers. Can stream video, make video calls etc., no problem. Our internet connection is 30 megabyte and generally quite able to support two way video on Skype. We are not well informed regarding other video conferencing options so am not sure if they are more demanding than Skype. It can drop out for a few seconds, though. At times the speed can drop, especially during heavy rains in August and thereabouts.  This does not last very long. If you have a really crucial call and can not afford to risk drop out, it only takes 7-8 minutes to get into town where you can use an internet café. The internet cafes have the fastest connections in the area. Another option is to buy a sim card with 3G and make your calls on a smart phone, which could also serve as a backup. Overall, our advice is that the Internet at our Retreat will be fine about 98% of the time. We constantly upgrade our connection as better packages become available.
  7. What type of plugs do you use?
    Two pin plugs like in mainland Europe and most of Asia.  There are 2 double sockets per room.
  8. Do you train under the sun when it is hot?
    We never train under the sun when it is hot. The training area and the gym are roofed. We use the open training area in the early mornings before the sun is hot.
  9. What should I bring to the Retreat?
    Most of what you need when in Thailand can be bought here cheaply. You should consider bringing the following:
  • Your Kung Fu uniform, if you have one.  We supply uniforms for all who want them.  The price for a set of kung fu uniform is 2000 Baht / $57.00 USD.
  • Small selection of comfortable clothes.  Generally, you will need light clothes for warm / hot weather and something which you can train in while your uniform is in the wash.  Long sleeves are useful to prevent sunburn. Clothing is cheap in Pai and not only of excellent quality but also really attractive. In fact, Pai has its own unique fashion industry.  During December and January, nights can be chilly so bring a pullover and some other warm clothing. The absolute lowest temperature we experience is about 7 C.
  • Shoes.  We train in bare feet except on cold mornings.  You will need 'flip flops' or similar which can be bought very cheap in Pai.  If you intend to go running, bring running shoes. You will really not need anything else.
  • Laptop or tablet for internet access.
  • Memory stick / external drive.  We will give you a huge amount of free video, etc. to help with your training.  If you have a device with a USB port you will be able to take the data straight off a memory stick.  Otherwise we should be able to copy it onto your stick / drive.
  • Camera.
  • Weapons.  You may want to bring your own weapons but we can supply training weapons.
  • Wash kit, toiletries, etc.
  • Earphones in case you want to listen to music in your rooms after hours.

For more information, Explore our Retreat!

About Meals and Food
  1. How often do you provide meals?
    Food is one of the highlights of most of our students’ stay. We provide breakfast every day and evening meal 5 days / week. Drinking water is supplied free with meals and is available from the kitchen free of charge at any time for resident students.
  2. What food is provided? Do you have a sample menu?
    Meals start with one or two types of fruit and usually some salad.  We then typically serve two main dishes with rice.  We offer three choices of diet: standard, vegetarian, vegan.  To find out more about the food we serve, please take a look here.
  3. Do you provide lunches?
    Our students usually like to get lunch in the local town as it has a wide choice and they can pick what they most feel like.
  4. Do you provide filtered drinking water?
    Yes, we do. We have 2 good water filters which provide unlimited drinking water.  Tap water is ok for brushing teeth, but we do not advise to drink it in large quantity.
  5. I have a special dietary requirement. 
    We try to cater to individual dietary requirements. While booking, please let us know of your dietary requirement and we will let you know if we can accommodate you.
  6. I am Vegan. Do you serve Vegan meals?
    Yes, we do.  Please notify us in advance and please sit on the vegan table.  🙂
  7. Do you have meals for a Gluten intolerant like me?
    We seldom serve noodles or anything else with wheat in it.  We have had a number of gluten intolerant students before so are quite used to catering for them. You can bring some special noodles just in case you feel wary.  Please make sure you advise us before arrival so we can accommodate meals for you appropriately. 
  8. Can you cater to a dairy-free diet?
    No dairy, no problem!  We provide a vegan diet.

 

For more information on our Food & Home farm, check here.

About our Lifestyle

What will I learn during my stay at the Retreat?

You may find the specifics on the following links:

  • Short Stay (Up to 3 Months).  Immerse yourself deep in the culture and lifestyle of Shaolin Kung Fu and experience for yourself what it is all about! This link has information for stays up to 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, and 3 months.
  • Medium Stay (Up to 1 year).  Give yourself time for serious improvement and make a serious change in mind, body and spirit. This link has information for stays up 6 months and 1 year.
  • Long Stay (Over 1 year). Long stays are for those who want to become outstanding martial artists with superhuman abilities.  This link has information for stays up to 18 months, 2 years, and 3 years. If you are interested in longer than 3 years, it is best you contact us!
  1. How does your camp promote a healthy lifestyle?
    We wake early, sleep early, exercise very intelligently, eat healthy and maintain a strictly stress-free environment. We also promote contentment and tolerance of each other. Very importantly, we employ special breathing methods around which our exercises are based, and we meditate regularly.
  2. What is an ideal duration of stay? It is hard to give an average stay length.  1 - 3 months is incredibly beneficial. We suggest that a 2-month stay would be a lot more productive than one month.
  3. What are the age groups of the students at the Retreat?
    We welcome students who belong to all age groups. We have previously held kung fu classes for children, had students who are in their gap year, and have also accepted students who are in their 60's and 70's. The ages at the Retreat are definitely diverse. 
  4. Does training at the Retreat help me to quit smoking?
    Quit smoking?  People have done it before.  Our programs can help you, but it takes some discipline.
  5. What is an ideal spending money or pocket money? A 10,000 Baht 'spending money' a month should be plenty, provided that people do not want to buy too many things.  Maybe 3,500 Baht for 1 week or 6,000 for 2 weeks. Some people spend a very great deal more though.
About Injuries
  1. Am I going to get hurt if I come train?
    While we can't guarantee that accidents won't happen, the experience at the Nam Yang Training Center is designed to be completely safe. We have never had a serious accident, and everyone who comes here is encouraged to push themselves only to a level they are comfortable with, and they only end up increasing their health, stamina and flexibility. We also teach many forms of meditation that are designed to increase vitality, and these are techniques that anyone can take with them. Additionally, we have tea breaks during training and often discuss the value of different foods and teas during meals. We do not encourage hard sparring since it often leads to injuries.  When people attend one or two classes a week as is common in the West, having to miss a few weeks' training because of an injury is no big deal. When you have flown all the way to Thailand and invested time and money in attending a Retreat like ours, it would be much more serious. This is why we are purposely very protective of our students. Please do understand that we do not accept liability for any injuries sustained whilst staying with us. If in doubt, please take out travel insurance.
  2. Are the teachers familiar with chronic, back injuries?
    Our Chief Instructor, Master Iain, as well as our other instructors have reasonable knowledge of back issues, but they are not qualified to give any treatments.  
  3. I really want to join the program but I have foot pain. Can I still train?
    Yes, you can. Running is not included in our program and we usually train barefoot. The roofed training ground has 2 cm jigsaw mats and will make you stepping on bare feet more comfortable.
  4. I have a knee injury but I would really love to train, would this be a problem?
    Your knee injury should not hold you back. The most important thing to remember is not to do anything which could injure your knee, even if other people are doing it.   So for example, do not squat lower than is safe. In the mornings much of the exercise is fairly soft and aimed at recovery and improving health so if anything, it should help your knee.
About Thailand
  1. Where in Thailand are you located?
    We are located in a small town, high in the mountains, Pai!  It epitomises the Kung Fu dream of training in pure, fresh air with awesome views well away from the distractions of modern life and the pollution of modern cities.
  2. Do I need to know the Thai language?
    Although it will be helpful to know a bit of the Thai language in getting around Thailand, you don’t need to know the Thai language when training at the Retreat. All of our instructors are fluent in English. Our Director, Mrs. Pu Saleephol - Armstrong, as well as our Thai staff could definitely help you should you need assistance in Thai translations.
  3. I am a female traveling alone, is it safe for me to come by myself?
    Yes, Thailand is an extremely safe place!  Thai culture is one based on politeness and social harmony, and as such, the crime rate is extremely low, if present at all.  Females traveling alone should not worry about any danger.
  4. Do I need vaccinations for Anti-Rabies or Malaria? 
    The injections are not particularly necessary.  We certainly would not recommend rabies or anti-malarials.  There is no malaria in Pai. The anti malaria drugs often have severe side effects. Having these vaccinations is definitely up to you. You do not really need any special vaccinations and there is no malaria in Pai.  You might consider hepatitis A just as a precaution.
About the Local Area, Pai
  1. Are there any other activities that I could try in Pai?
    Yes, there is a very great deal to do in the Pai area.  For example waterfalls, caves, hill tribe villages, temples, elephant riding, rafting, jungle exploring and just generally getting out and about on a moped and exploring. Pai, the town itself is a nice place and many people like to just spend time here.
  2. I want to rent a motorcycle in Pai. What should I know before doing so?
    We very much recommend AYA for motorcycle rental.  They will also take luggage on a minibus to be collected in Pai for no extra charge.  Most people use a 125cc moped. Bigger bikes can be fun but I think that availability can be limited.  Most people learn to ride scooters very quickly. They are not difficult, especially if you choose an automatic.  Do please be careful, though, as they are the biggest source of injuries in Pai. A scooter/moped is generally a good idea, and you can pick one up for 100-150 THB per day or 2000-3000 THB per month for a 110cc.
  3. I want to go out on a Friday night. Is it safe in Pai?
    The area is very safe and however people choose to come home, it will be safe. Not only have none of our students ever been attacked on their way home, but we have never heard of it happening to anyone else.
  4. Is there a possibility to get a massage at your location or somewhere nearby?
    We have a very good masseuse who regularly visits the Retreat and administers Thai massage for just 200 Baht / hour.
  5. Are there rivers or hot springs nearby where I could go swimming?
    There are very many places to swim in the area. There are river, hot springs, and swimming pools where you can have a refreshing and enjoyable time. 
  6. What is the weather like?
    November to January - This is the winter season. It’s dry and warm in middle of day and afternoon. Night time is cold enough to require a hat and scarf. Mist hangs on the mountains later in the mornings than at other times of year. Views in the morning amazing!  A very good time to come.

February to April - This is the hot season. It’s dry and daytime is becoming progressively hotter, peaking in mid-April (Songkran Thai New Year). The air is cooler at night and before about 10 am. The middle of the day is hot. The land tends to look a bit dusty and at its least green. Can get smoky from farming activity. Pai is at its least attractive at this time of the year.

May to June - This is the early rainy season and there’s occasional rain.  Although the first rain of the year often falls in May, most days do not have rain and it is not unusual for two weeks to pass with no rain at all.  Rain increases as the year goes on so I suggest just come in May before it gets heavy. Air is a little more humid. Daytime can be cooler if there is cloud cover, night time is warmer because of higher humidity. Land looks beautifully green. Clouds often sit on the mountains creating awesome views.

July to August - The rainy season is at its peak. About half of the days, you will see some rain but may only be for a short time. August has the most rain. Rivers and streams are at their highest, waterfalls are their most impressive. The temperatures are moderated by cloud cover and humidity. Training will often have to take place under the roofed training ground. Plants are at their greenest and most lush. This is arguably the best time of the year to come.

September to October - This is the late rainy season. Rains are dying down but the lands are still beautifully green. The streams and rivers are full. Warm and humid, but the views are still awesome. This is a very popular time of the year.

To learn more about Pai and Thailand, check here!

About Visas

What kind of Visa should I get?

Visa regulations are constantly changing.  We try to keep our information as up to date as possible. If in doubt, please check with us.

  • Short Stays (Up to 30 days) - Thailand operates a 'Visa-on-entry' system whereby people from most countries can simply turn up and be given a visa.  People from most but not all western countries get 30 days on arrival at an airport. Some nationalities get only 15 days - this includes people with an Indian passport.  When arriving in Thailand by land it is usual to be given a 15 day visa. Much more detailed information can be found with your local consulate.
    If you are unsure as to whether you will get a long enough visa on entry we strongly advise that you apply for a tourist visa from your home country.  Please see below.
  • Medium Stay (Up to 9 months) - Before travelling to Thailand, apply to your nearest Thai consulate, or maybe embassy for a tourist visa in person or by post.  These come in single, double and triple entry varieties. They are generally issued automatically and are inexpensive. You will need to fill out an application form and since you are applying for a tourist visa you should state your reason for entering Thailand as 'tourism'.  When you enter Thailand on one of these visas you will be given a 60 day stay. You can easily go to the immigration in either Chiang Mai or Mae Hong Son to get this extended to a total of 90 days for a cost of 1,900 Thai Baht. If you possess a double entry visa, after 90 days you will need to re-enter Thailand.  You will be able to book a minibus trip for this purpose in town. It is not expensive and does not require a further visa application. You then have another 60 days which can be extended to 90 as above to give you a total stay of 180 days.With a triple entry visa, you will be able to do a second border run to give you a total of 270 days. Not all embassies / consulates issue triple entry visas but most do.
  • Long Stay (Over 9 months) - We will advise you how to extend your visa.  Since regulations seem to change so frequently at present, we will need to base our advice on the latest information available.  At the moment for most people extending their stay is very easy. If you are intending to stay long enough that you will have to renew your visa, you may want to contact us for some help and advice.  
  • Applying for visas from within Thailand - Despite what anyone might have told you, applying for a visa after you have entered Thailand is almost impossible unless there are special circumstances.  It is much easier to get your visa before you arrive.
About Booking and Payment

Booking

  1. How far in advance should I book? We prefer to have as much advanced notice as possible but will always do our best to accommodate you.  As things stand at the moment the months November - April (inclusive) tend to get heavily booked and we sometimes have to turn people away during this period.  Hence we recommend booking two months or more in advance.  May - October tends not to be so busy so during this period advanced booking is not so important.  If in doubt please contact us.
  2. What is the best day to arrive at the Retreat? We recommend arriving on a Wednesday or Saturday as these are our rest days so if you arrive in these days, you will be able to relax and prepare yourself for your early morning training the next day.  If that does not work for you then we will be happy to arrange for you to arrive on whatever day suits you.
  3. I'm ready to book. Once you are ready to book, please fill out our booking form so we can create your booking and send you an invoice.
  4. How do I book/Pay? Once you confirm with us that you are ready to book and have filled out our booking form, you will need to pay the 40% deposit in advance using card, PayPal or bank transfer. The 60% balance can be paid upon arrival at the Retreat. For students who are arriving in the next 5 days, we require full payment.
  5. Are my dates available? Please fill in our contact form and enter your arrival and departure dates.  We will be very happy to check availability on the dates you have requested and will do our best to reply within 24 hours. 
  6. I want to take a look around before booking, can I stop by? Yes, you can come by for a tour and ask questions in person first before booking.  If you’d like to do this, please contact us with the date and time you had in mind so we can organize for a Instructor meet you. 🙂  Please remember that during the period November - April we are sometimes full so booking in advance may be better.
  7. I cannot decide as to which month to come, what would be your highly recommended months? I would recommend August / early September as the weather is usually not too hot at these times and student numbers are usually low.  December and January also have cooler weather and the nights can be quite chilly.  March and April are the hottest months and are generally considered the least pleasant.
  8. Can I combine the Shaolin Warrior Program with the other programs? Yes, you are more than welcome to learn the Shaolin Warrior Program with the other programs.  We can advise you on the best way to combine the programs once you arrive.
  9. Is there a discount for volunteering? There is no discount for volunteering.  We may be able to arrange group discounts if there are a number of you. 
  10. How much does private tuition cost? The cost of private classes depends on which instructor teaches them.  The cost ranges from 700 to 5,000 Baht / hour, depending on which teacher.  For more information on our Instructors, check here. For more information on our prices, check here.

If you are ready to book, please fill out our booking form.

If you have any further questions or concerns about booking, please contact us.

Payment

  1. I am ready to confirm my booking, what are my payment options? We will mail you an invoicewith full instructions as to how to make payment.  The options are: debit/credit card, PayPal, bank transfer and, of course, cash.  Before making a bank transfer please be aware that we count the payment according to how much we receive so if the payment arrives shoort we will ask you for the balance.  More information on the methods of payment are found here.
  2. Do you take US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros? We will take payment in these currencies if we need to, but Baht is the best. It is best to use one of the many banks in Pai when exchanging, as they have a higher rate compared to the ones at the airport.
  3. Can I pay using my credit card or debit card when I arrive at the Retreat? When students arrive here, they will be able to pay their balance by card.  We can accept visa and mastercard; either credit card or debit card. Of course, cash is still fine, or Paypal.
  4. When does the billing rate cost, start or begin? Usually the time that someone pays for is arrival day to departure day, same as any hotel or similar.  
  5. How do I find the current conversion rate? Please use the website,  www.xe.com, for current currency exchange rates.
  6. What is the cost for the Cancellation Insurance? If you are worried about refunds, you should buy our insurance.  We are now offering an insurance scheme to cover cancellation / early departure.  If you would like more details, please check here.

If you have any further questions or concerns about payment, please contact us.

Directions

How do I get to the Kung Fu Retreat?

You will need to arrive in Thailand, head for Chiang Mai, the capital of the North, then on to the town of Pai.

  1. To Thailand: First, the best way arrive in Thailand is to fly to Bangkok or Chiang Mai.  Chiang Mai is much closer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. There is an abundance of hotels, guest houses, etc. in Bangkok to suit all budgets, should you need to arrange an overnight stay.  There are usually a lot of good deals available at www.ebookers.com. Otherwise, search individual airlines and check what deals they are offering.
  2. To Chiang Mai: For flights, we recommend checking with www.bangkokair.com or www.airasia.com. They should come in at 1000-2000 Baht each way and take a little over 1 hour. You could also get an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok’s central station, Hua Lam Pong, for a little over 1000 Baht each way. Booking in advance is recommended. Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late.  The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside.  If you are on a very tight budget, you can go to Kao San Road in Bangkok and get an overnight coach for about 300 Baht or so.  This is the least comfortable way to travel. We recommend the flight, especially if you have not spent much time in Thailand before.
  3. To Pai: You have a choice between taking a minibus, taxi, or flight.
  • Minibus - The minibus trip costs about 200 Baht and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains the like of which you have probably never seen before.  The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure in itself so we recommend that you travel during daylight. The most popular minibus provider is AYA service (www.ayaservice.com). Their office in Chiang Mai is opposite the train station.  To get there from the airport, take a taxi with a meter. It should take 15 - 30 minutes depending on traffic and cost very little. Once you arrive, book on to the next available minibus if you have not booked already. Minibuses run between about 7.30 am and 5.00pm.  If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3.30pm, you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat.  If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, we recommend that you still go to the AYA service office when you arrive and book on to a minibus for the next day.  Then look for a guesthouse nearby. You should get a nice room with fan for 400 - 500 Baht.
  • TaxiWe can arrange for a taxi from Pai to come to the airport to meet you. Alternatively you could speak with drivers in the taxi rank outside the airport. Recently taxis have been charging about 4,200 (134 USD) Baht for the trip. This does vary and will likely be higher if late at night or in December / January. If we arrange a taxi for you, we will need to pay in advance, so please do not pay the driver otherwise he will think that he has just got the best tip of his life and likely to take a week off!  If you do want to give a tip, 100 - 250 Baht would be about right. Please contact us in advance if you would like us to arrange a taxi.
  • Flight. Wisdom Airlines has recently started providing flights from Chiang Mai to Pai for 1790 Baht per flight for 1 person. Currently, you can only book tickets in person, through a booking agency or by phone. Wisdom Airlines is the only carrier that flies from Chiang Mai to Pai.
  1. Pai to the Kung Fu Retreat.  When you first arrive in Pai the easiest way to get to us is simply to book a taxi.  The taxis are a little way up the main street from the AYA service office. Motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 Baht.  For a minibus / car 200 - 250. Ask for Kung Fu or Kun Iain / Kun Pu. If in doubt, ask the driver to call 0864286739 for directions in Thai.
  • Directions:  Head out of town towards the airport / Mae Hong Son.  On the far side of the airport turn right, parallel to the runway.  We are the first turn on the left, about 400m down the road, on a right hand bend.  We have a prominent sign. If you need help planning your journey, please email us at [email protected]
Checking-In

Checking in at the Kung Fu Retreat:

Our check-in time is 2:00 PM. We like to have someone waiting ready to meet you when you arrive, show you to your room, answer questions and generally help you out. Hence we need to know when you will be arriving. Our check-in time is  2:00 PM on a Wednesday or Saturday. This allows for you to settle in comfortably, be given a guided tour of the Retreat and have tea and a conversation with a senior teacher (who will speak with you about what you want to achieve in your time at the Retreat) before going for dinner.  If you think you will be arriving before or after 2:00 PM, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can arrange for someone to meet you.

For stays of a month or more, we can also arrange check-in at the following times:
  • Daily: 11.45 AM or 2.00 PM.
  • Daily except Wednesday / Saturday: 6.45 PM.

Please make sure to let us know in advance when you will be checking in. Check-in is at reception, please follow the stone path around the kitchen to find it or follow the signs posted.

  1. Can I arrive before the check in time, drop my bags and wait or take a look around? Yes, please just let us know when you will be arriving.
  2. Can I change my Check in Time? Yes, if you are running late or have had a change of plan,  please let us know at least 3 hours in advance of your original check in time so that we can rearrange your check in. If you do not tell us in advance it means that someone will have been hanging around waiting for you needlessly so there will be a re-booking charge of $20 US.  If at least 1 day in advance, please email [email protected] If less than 24 hours notice please telephone: 0613154180.
  3. Can I arrange a special Check In outside of the usual times? Generally speaking, yes.  There is a charge for this:

Day time 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM : $30.00 USD

Night Time 8:00 PM - 9:00 AM : $50.00 USD

Obviously, you can avoid paying this charge completely by just checking in at the next scheduled time.  If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact us.

As featured on :

National Geo
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What our students say about us :

National Geo

The retreat is located – not by chance – in an harmonious place that fills you with its peaceful glow and even a sea dependent, who grew up by the coast and can’t spend one week without longing for the sounds and smell of the ocean (only people raised by the seaside know what I mean), feels completely at peace there! This truly is a life sanctuary that will replenish you with a magical vibration attuned to all living things! There aren’t many places with this vibe. I felt this in the Pacific Islands, especially Rapa Nui and Bora Bora, and both the Pacific and Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat were the only two times in my life when I felt like crying when leaving a place…

(Read more) Natália C. – 3 March 2018

l

While they suggest staying for a week or more my boyfriend and I were only able to stay for 2 days. They welcomed us in even for this short stay and made us feel just as important as students who were there for months. The training was well rounded, and the instructors were knowledgeable, patient, and all spoke fluent English. Training starts at dawn and is almost all day long which made our two days feel like a week on our body. We felt like we were at a true Kung Fu training camp with bamboo structures, great nutritional food, amazing mountain scenery, and incredible instructors. Everything was better than we expected…

(Read more) Kockununa – 9 February 2018

l

A most satisfied student here....after learning 'Chi Gong' in UK by authentic Chinese masters I practiced this arts teachings for many years, benefiting in all it has to offer to prepare for Kungfu. What I quickly realised in Nam Yang is that I was doing many incorrect postures causing me pain in the long term. Learning 'Chi Kung' from Master Ian and his team was without question what I needed to truly learn this ancient art. All the team individually helped me fine tune key areas of my life physical, mental and spiritul…

(Read more) Serksta – 1 February 2018

l

I booked initially for 1 week but extended twice, until I had to return to my country. I never thought i would have such an interesting time. The combination between qi kung, kung fu, strong warm ups, meditations, strechings, weapons, sanda... makes the experience so complete for body, mind and spirit, as they say. It’s a healing place, in any sense, physical or mental. The instructors are one of the most remarkable things of the retreat: since they love the kung fu as a way of life, that feeling is transmitted on the trainings. They are serious with their job, and friendly on the treatment, patient and strict at the same time. The way of teaching is based on explaining the reason why of every movement, so everything makes sense. You find easily the motivation for learning and enjoying, and wanting more…

(Read more) Lara A. – 10 November 2017

l

Master Iain and his instructors cater for all types of students at differing levels and grades of either internal or external kung fu. I am mid forties and fairly fit yet the retreat in Pai made me feel healthier and rejuvenated in such a small space of time without the usual 'thrashing' or 'beasting' you may have faced in other martial arts / boxing .. why? It was down too the good balance of hard / soft training that was conducted in a mature and intelligent manner - all of which is built on respect for each and every person at the retreat...

(Read more) Chris – 15 February 2018

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