Here is a small selection of genuine reviews. If you would like to read more we suggest that you check out our listing on Trip Advisor where you will find a great many reviews dating right back to 2013

Star review:

‘Kung-Fu training was the most powerful treatment I had’ By Michèle Gielen, ‘mid twenties’, Belgium. July 2017.

I had some health issues the last couple of years, related to stress. There were mornings that I couldn’t get out of bed, just because I couldn’t bent my knees or just stretch my arms. Things that are quite easy to do normally.

Everything in my body hurt. And the worst part, I didn’t enjoy my life anymore, didn’t feel like doing anything and my self-confidence was gone. So I went to the doctor and the verdict was shutdown of the adrenal glands or a serious case of a burnout. I had to take all kind of nasty chemical medication with lots of side effects. But most important I needed to slow down and sleep/rest more. I was still figuring out how this all could have happen? I mean I was only mid-twenties. But yes my life style wasn’t always that healthy, bad food, long days, short nights, parties, deadlines at work, etc...

Doctors warned me that I could take up to 2 years before I would be fully recovered. At first I didn’t believe it, I thought with the medication and the extra resting times, I would be fine in about 2 weeks. Well after those 2 weeks I couldn’t feel any difference. I was going mental!

After 6 months I got some lighter medication and I started to work again, although my doctors prohibited me of doing it. I thought work could clear my mind and I would recover faster. I soon realised that I was just exhausting myself more.

So I followed an advice of a friend, who told me I needed to do a Yoga retreat. So I started searching on the internet. I found a lot of yoga retreats, but what interested me the most was the Kung Fu Retreat add that suddenly popped up. So I contacted Iris, the personal assistant of Master Iain. She helped me out with all the questions I had, which made the decision much easier. So after a couple of months emailing with her, I decided to give it a shot.

People thought I was going nuts. My parents and doctors really didn’t like the fact that I was going to Thailand on my own, after/during a burn out. But for me the only thing I was searching for, was a way to make my body and mind back strong again, like it always had been.

Well to make a long story short, I originally planned for 1-2 weeks Kung Fu. I ended up staying there for 4 months!

The first weeks were rough, I trained hard and slept a lot. Although it didn’t feel like training, yes of course by times it was exhausting, but it was a different kind. It felt like my body was charging up every time I trained. I really loved the Chi Kung and Shuang Yang in the mornings! It was the perfect thing to start the day with. Day after day I could feel that my body was getting stronger. My moves were getting faster, and my kicks and punches were more accurate, My mind became more and more clear. And my self-confidence was growing! Besides that I met a lot of great people, with all their own story of doing Kung Fu.

I really want to thank Master Iain and all the wonderful instructors for their commitment and work! Really, great job guys!

For me, I’m doing well, I feel great! This Kung-Fu training was the most powerful treatment I had in all those years. So therefore I’m still practicing what I learned there. It keeps my mind focused and reduces the stress.

Everyone who is still doubting about the retreat, just go, you won’t regret it, that’s a promise!

Thank you Master Iain!


My Best Holiday Ever! Amy Claire Beals, ‘forties’ Australia / UK. Reviewed 14 July 2013

Nam Yang Retreat is an amazing place to spend your holiday. I met some fantastic like minded people there, who are friends for life, the instructors are brilliant, full of knowledge. It has helped me tremendously in my health & fitness.

I found the Chi Gong classes very good in the study of the energy inside my body, which keeps me focused, stronger internally & in control of my life. The Tai Chi, Meditation, Kung Fu & Chinese Boxing are a great discipline & a self defence that I will always practise. After practising a few styles during my life I have found Nam Yang to be the best for me as it is very balanced in the yin & yang aspects of the art.

The fruit juices, food & hot springs are gorgeous, swimming, exploring and a lovely village with beautiful scenery.

No doubt I shall return, felt very safe & comfortable there with a different martial artist there from all over the world. We had a ball, all the students socialised and we all was there for each other, such nice people.

I am very thankful to have found these great teachers, Master Tan, Iain Armstrong & Steve Keen.

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The Real Thing. Professor David Lertzman, ‘forties’ Canada. Reviewed 1 March 2014

I'd not taken a vacation break in 8 years and really needing something to energize my body, calm my mind, soothe my spirit and feed my soul. A dream come true, Nam Yang gave me all this and more.

Master Iain is world class; his Kung Fu Retreat is top shelf. For a family run business Nam Yang is an outstanding achievement. The people are wonderful, the setting beautiful, the grounds are magical and facilities have all you need. Accommodations are very nice; not like a fancy hotel but much better than you'll find at most residential martial arts centres and certainly way more fulfilling than a resort. Food is simple, healthy and delicious. Being close to Pai is a major bonus; it's a lovely little touristy town and the Thai people are so very special. I gave myself to the experience and reaped benefits to last years. They practice both soft and hard, internal and external martial arts with a great depth of knowledge, care and experience. The natural Chi is very good for meditation. Two weeks was just enough but I wish it could have been longer. Every day just got better!! If you're looking for a great place to train and rejuvenate in a healthy, fun environment with really special people, this is it; if you're looking for traditional Southern style Kung Fu as an authentic lifestyle this is the Real Thing. Thank you Master Iain and family for the very many gifts!

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Transformation For The Body and Soul. Sonia C. Canada / London. Reviewed 18 June 2016.

I was fortunate enough to attend a martial arts retreat at Nam Yang for 2 weeks. I was really nervous going into this, not being fit, having no experience in kung fu, and overall not being sure what to expect.

Master Iain has created such a special kung fu school that transcends way beyond the physical motions.

He has setup a very holistic program which calms the mind, prepares the body for intense physical training. I must admit the first few days were especially intense. I battled with myself to keep with it, to keep pushing myself. I was on vacation after all and was used to being more easy on myself. What is nice though is that the instructors never push you beyond what you should be doing. They challenge you in a healthy, safe way to go beyond your comfort zone. The quality of the instruction was top notch. I always felt I had very personal attention to ensure that I was guided through my individual learning point. I also loved the hands on practice which enables you to apply the knowledge so that it becomes instinctual. The instruction was also great to help make adjustments as a small petite woman. The daily qi gong was really special too. Not only do you feel amazing afterwards with all your energy channels cleared and ready for the day, the backdrop and views are stunning throughout the day. You are surrounded by nature and the setting and program is very well designed to help you focus on learning kung fu. The tea breaks with master Iain were also very insightful and a wonderful informal way to learn more about the philosophy and related disciplines on a deeper level. For me, personally, I also practice reiki energy work which I feel has gotten stronger since being at the retreat. This in turn has also helped me to feel much more calm, relaxed and an overall feeling of well being. The food is also really delicious and nutritious. I wasn't coming here to lose weight but a positive side benefit was losing 8 lbs. More importantly my muscle tone improvement is noticeable - even my shorts are falling off ! I feel totally recharged in my energy levels and overall sense of well being. The other thing which I will say is that the atmosphere and the students are also wonderful people. This is of course cultivated through Master Iain's leadership and energy which I believe also attract other really interesting students from all walks of life from across the globe. I intend on continuing my Nam Yang kung fu studies in London and also will look to find another time to return to Nam Yang in Thailand as soon as I am able. Thank you Master Iain for creating such a wonderful school, retreat to transform people's lives, and also for continuing to shape, evolve and also being dynamic to feedback and requests, as you are able. I felt really well looked after, challenged, and feel more deeply connected to myself. If you have the chance to do this, don't hesitate to book!!!

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Life Changing Experience. Lost 26kg! Vicky Jain, ‘thirties’ Chennai, India. Reviewed 17 July 2015

Pai is the most beautiful place I have ever come across. This small town in northern part of Thailand (4hrs from Chiang Mai) is an amazing place, it cannot be any more better. Shaolin kungfu retreat at Pai changed me physically and mentally. This place is amazingly awsome. I had the most amazing 4months of my life here. The retreat is properly located on the hill so the view from any part of it so beautiful.

Master Iain Armstrong is a very honourable man. I trained under him for 4 months, my stay here for 4 months was very comfortable and homely. Miss Boo who is Master Ian's wife was very much adorable, she always treated me as her son. I am so amazed that with all that comfort I still managed to loose 26kg. Yes I weighed 107kg when I arrived here and was 86kg when my parents saw me after 4 months.

Jan is like a brother to me, his trainings were tough but more challenging and energetic because u would not stop when u start having fun. I was living in a perfect family. I made so many friends from different part of the world who came there to have the same fantastic experience what I had. Now I feel so proud in myself!

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An Oasis Of Traditional Mind / Body Development In The Shangri-la of Northern Thailand. Chris Zetner, ‘forties’ New York. Reviewed 2 March 2016

I finally visited the Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in Pai, Thailand after almost a year of research and online exchanges with Master Iain Armstrong, Chief Instructor of the Retreat. There are a lot of critical minds in the traditional martial arts community, and some might doubt that an institution like this can truly offer as much as it appears to claim. What I experienced at the Retreat has turned out to be one of those rare cases in life where something that seemed too good to be true, not only wasn’t, but actually exceeded expectations.

The programs available at the Retreat are truly comprehensive, with something to offer everyone - and for longer term students in particular, an obviously very well rounded martial training. As an on-and-off student and amateur researcher of traditional Chinese martial arts and energetic / meditative practices for over 15 years, I can say the arts taught here are highly traditional in the core curriculum, with authentic lineages to Fujian and Hokkien styles passed in family and master-disciple lines from legendary southern Shaolin sources. Modern reconstructed acrobatic forms of “wu shu kung fu”, with superfluous dramatic movements, are not what is taught here, but profound and practical traditional Chinese kung fu. The styles taught here are actually famous for their influence on later and more wide spread systems, but are themselves actually much harder to find, and rarely taught in as complete a form as found here.

A stay of even one week here will be potentially life transforming!

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Wonderful experience for mind and body, building confidence, self-esteem and fitness David Stavers, mid fifties, New Zealand / UK. Reviewed 5 February 2016

I stayed at the Nam Yang Kung Fu retreat for 10 days in December 2015 and truly wished I had been able to stay a month or two there.

I went with an open mind but did wonder how, at 55 I would cope with the training. I knew I needed to kick start my fitness and do something about my health – my posture was poor and I had felt drained of energy from work and a busy life as a solo dad; I wanted my mind to calm down and reclaim who I used to be...

Nam Yang rally fulfilled these needs. Master Iain and his assistant instructors showed patience, kindness, instilled fortitude and solid practical training on acquiring Chi Kung movements, intensive physical training which was fun and a variety of practical skills on the path to knowing Kung Fu; there was also meditation and practical advice on a myriad of subjects.

In that short time, I went through a really significant transformation; my mind grew calm, my breathing improved and my fitness and early abilities in Chi Kung improved. The food provided was wholesome and tasty and the social aspect of being with like-minded individuals all striving to reach their own personal goals made the ambiance of the place very, very special. The setting of the camp is incredibly beautiful and calm; the accommodation is simple, clean and comfortable. It is communal and peaceful; I had privacy whenever I needed it.

I will definitely be returning to Nam Yang and would like to thank Master Iain and the assistant instructors for their knowledge, patience and encouragement. A totally refreshing and uplifting experience! I have a new posture, better fitness, clear mind and positive outlook and a bunch of new friends and special memories.

Thank you David S

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