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Accomodation

Facilities

Food & Home Farm

Region / Pai

Team

EXPLORE

ACCOMMODATION

All of our rooms are designed with serious Kung Fu students in mind. Every room has an inspiring mountain view from the front door and a roofed front terrace to sit in the shade and get the benefit of the views and the fresh mountain air. They are within very easy walking distance of the training facilities and the restaurant.

SHARED ROOM

These rooms hold two people. They are spacious, have separate bathrooms and toilet / washrooms and are equipped with fans. They are arranged in two buildings, each with six rooms. The front terrace is two meters deep and serves as a social area where students can relax and chat outside of training time.

  • Main room 4×3.5m with front and back doors.
  • Furniture: 2 single beds, 2 chairs, and shelf unit.
  • Fittings: wall mounted fan, main light, reading light above each bed, mosquito net over each bed.
  • En suite shower room 2×1.25m with heated shower and towel rail.
  • En suite toilet 2×1.25m with wash basin, mirror clothes hooks and 2 shelves.
  • Towel supplied.

PRIVATE ROOM

Designed for single occupancy. These rooms are finished to a high standard with tiled walls and thicker mattresses. They are located slightly further away from the centre of the Retreat which gives a quieter feel.

  • Main room 3x3m.
  • Furniture: single beds, chair, desk, wardrobe and shelf unit.
  • Fittings: wall mounted fan, main light, reading light above each bed, mosquito net over each bed.
  • Bathroom 2 x 1.5m with toilet, heated shower, wash basin, mirror and towel rail
  • Kettle for tea and coffee making.
  • Towel supplied.

DOUBLE ROOM

Designed for couples, these rooms feature a 6’x6 double bed. They rooms are finished to a high standard with tiled walls and thicker mattresses. They are located furthest away from the centre of the Retreat which gives a quieter feel, a little more privacy and awesome views.

The double rooms are the best value rooms by far. They are the best rooms in the Retreat but are charged at the same price as the shared rooms!

  • Main room 4×3.2m.
  • Furniture: double bed, chair, desk, wardrobe and shelf unit.
  • Fittings: wall mounted fan, main light, reading light above each bed, mosquito net over each bed
  • Bathroom 2 x 1.5m with toilet, heated shower, wash basin, mirror and towel rail
  • Kettle for tea and coffee making.
  • Towel supplied.
EXPLORE

FACILITIES

To get the best results in Kung Fu you need the right training facilities. It is not simply a question of high quality. You also need the right things and they have to fit right with your training program. That is why we are constantly adding to our facilities. We believe that after 10 years of development, we have it about right and that we are well ahead of what most other training centres have.

Training Areas

The training areas are sometimes used for private tuitions but usually are available for personal practice.

Outdoor training Ground

( 8m x 18m )
The training areas are sometimes used for private tuitions but usually are available for personal practice.

Roofed Training Area

Cleverly designed with roofs but no walls so that fresh air constantly blows through and keeps the temperatures down. These areas are ideal when the sun is hot or rain is falling. One is 14x14m, the other 12x12m. Both have stunning mountain views. The larger one is located under a Bodhi tree (Buddha tree) which gives a very calm, profound energy.

Kung Fu Gym

Not just another hotel style gym. This is a specialist Kung Fu / martial arts gym designed to provide the facilities that serious training demands. Facilities are a mix of old style kung fu equipment seldom seen now and more modern equipment which we think is beneficial.

It is divided into three sections

Section 1: Gym area

  • GENERAL’S POLES
    Bamboo or wooden poles for training arm and leg techniques and toughening the body – especially the wrists. Considered essential by many of the old masters but usually ignored today because difficult to set up. We are very proud to have these.
  • TYRE DUMMIES
    Another difficult piece of equipment to set up but one of the best for training direct kicks like the front thrust, side thrust and back thrust. Both power and technique are needed to make the tyre buckle. Feel welcome to kick these as hard as you like – that is what they are made for!
  • PUNCH BAGS
    We have five heavy bags and one light bag. All are of different designs and are suited to slightly different training methods. Hung and filed to professional standards.
  • WEIGHTS
    Although the use of weights is controversial in martial arts we do have a small weights set and bench. Good for use by martial artists, not intended for serious bodybuilders.
  • PARALLEL BARS, CHIN UP BARS, STRETCHING BAR AND GYMNASTICS RINGS
    All of these are great for bodyweight training (callisthenics) which we think is ideal as part of a Kung Fu training regime since it emphasises strength and tendon development over muscle size.
  • SANDBAGS
    A must in any credible Kung Fu school. Canvass bags filled with sand for iron fist training.

Section 2:

  • MATTED TRAINING AREA
    Equipped with 2cm jigsaw mats.

Section 3:

  • HARD FLOOR TRAINING AREA
    Has punch bags and wooden poles (Mei Hua Chong) for balance, stepping etc.

Meditation / Prayer Room

The central point in the Retreat. This is where we have our altar to the Buddha as well as the principle Kung Fu deities Kwan Kung (the Chinese God who is the patron of Kung Fu and sworn brotherhoods) and Bodhidharma, (Tat Moh) the monk who founded the Shaolin tradition. Occasionally used for ceremonies it is usually available for quiet prayer, meditation and contemplation. It has a very unique, charged atmosphere. Respectful behaviour, please.

Tree House

Built into a huge, living teak tree in such a way as not to damage the tree but rather to harmonise with it. We love it! A great place to meditate, exercise, relax with a book or just admire the views.

Weapons

No Kung Fu school is complete without weapons! Although they are not as important a method of defence as in days gone past training with weapons is a great way to develop strength, stability, coordination and confidence. Perhaps, more importantly, it is fun! Few people fail to feel a thrill of excitement when they first enter the weapons room.

Training Equipment

We are equipped with focus mitts, kick shields, rubber knives, various bamboo safety weapons, skipping ropes, boxing gloves and a variety of weights and stretching aids all of which are available for you to practise with.

Features

  • GIANT STATUE OF BODHIDHARMA
    Bodhidharma is considered the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu as well as Chan (Zen) Buddhism and is credited with introducing both shoes and, very importantly, tea into China.
  • RESTAURANT
    We have a large restaurant / dining area where we prepare food and teas which we consider best compliment our training. We specialise in the use of beneficial herbs. Meals are a social time when students and teachers eat together and talk.
  • WIFI
    Our wifi is good enough to make video calls with skype etc and to stream video. It can drop out but usually for a few seconds only. Bearing in mind that we are based in Thailand’s most remote province on the edge of the jungle we find this quite amazing. There is no extra charge for using the wifi, it is included in the training fee.
  • GARDENS
    We have a number of gardens and an orchard where we grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and coffee. You will be very welcome to walk around them and maybe sit down to meditate, relax or read.
  • TURTLE PONDS AND TORTOISE GARDENS
    Nothing to do with Kung Fu training, but fascinating
    to sit and watch our pets while relaxing between training sessions.
  • TEA TABLE
    Chinese tea and Kung Fu are inseparable! Our tea table serves as a focus for discussion of Kung Fu theory, ethos, tradition, philosophy, culture, history and values. We have a good selection of teas and are constantly experimenting with different ones.
  • SMOKING AREA
    Although we do not encourage smoking, we realise that for some it is a necessity so we have a special smoking building far enough away from the rest of the buildings not to interfere with others. It is roofed with a light for night times but not walled so as to facilitate views and fresh air.
  • WASHING MACHINES
    We have two coin-operated washing machines that cost 30 Baht which will take care of laundry. We also have washing lines for drying clothes.

FOOD & FARM 

 

Quality food is essential for martial artists in hard training so we have our own kitchen garden, herb garden and fruit trees all of which are entirely organic. We are now partially self-sufficient for fruit and vegetables and we specialise in growing our own medicinal herbs. What we don’t grow ourselves, we choose carefully, usually from the local farmers’ market or from people we know well. Our rice is bought from local villagers: by buying rice directly from cash-poor ethnic minorities, we support their families. We prepare local style food with an emphasis on the use of beneficial herbs to increase its value. Our diet is calculated to best support our Kung Fu training: we understand that we are what we eat.

Food prepared on site is as fresh, organic and healthy as possible and is usually delicious local Thai or Shan style, or occasionally Chinese or southern Thai style.

We typically serve two main dishes with rice. Most dishes are vegetarian but we do serve meat once or twice a week. There will always be at least one vegan dish as part of each meal. We also try our best to cater for specialist diets. Meals are usually accompanied by one or two types of fruit and some salad.

We supply breakfast daily and evening meals on training days. Drinking water is supplied free with meals and is available from the kitchen free of charge at any time for resident students.
We also serve specialist teas 2 times a day. Either high-quality Chinese tea – something integrally connected with Kung Fu training – or herbal tea for health benefits.

The instructors eat in the dining area, together with the students, which is a testimony to the quality of the food and helps provide a good ethos for the school. Meal times are therefore ideal for discussing Kung Fu and asking questions.

Almost any style of food can be purchased in Pai, (Italian, western, middle eastern, Chinese, Indian etc). The local diet is based mainly around rice, meat, fresh-water fish, vegetables, fruit and spices. However, seafood is relatively expensive in the mountains. Local fruit and vegetables are great, fresh and very cheap.

EXPLORE

FOR MOST OF OUR GUESTS, FOOD IS A HIGHLIGHT OF THEIR STAY

Our kitchen gardens and orchards provide healthy, organic food which we collect and serve fresh. We specialise in growing herbs. Whilst we are not able to grow all of our own food, we support poor farmers in the hill tribe villages by buying food directly from them at market prices ensuring that they get a good income and we get the best quality fresh food.

“The food is fresh and very tasty, really, the best currys in Pai. Healthy,
non gluten and no milk, with vegan and vegetarian options.” 

Lara A.
AS LOCAL AS POSSIBLE

Specialized Diets

DIETS THAT WE CAN CATER FOR:
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
DIETS THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO CATER
FOR BY PRIOR AGREEMENT
please confirm with us:
  • Fruitarian
  • Raw Vegan
  • Celiac

The more specialised the diet, the less variety there will tend to be.

Diets that we cannot cater for:
  • High Protein (Body Building)
  • Severe Nut Allergy

If you feel that you need a lot of extra protein to facilitate muscle growth, we suggest bringing a protein supplement.

Lunches
  • We do not supply lunches. Most of our students prefer to choose their own lunch from the wide variety on sale in the town. Since we draw students from a very wide variety of countries and cultures the food that we serve will be different from what many people are used to. Choosing a lunch that they are used to seems to be very helpful for many of the people who have recently arrived. We do have a student fridge available to store food so if you do not wish to go to town every lunchtime, no problem. It is also very easy to ask someone to buy you a lunch from the town and food delivery services now operate in Pai – so you can simply order food in! Many people choose to eat fruit for lunch, a choice influenced by the abundance of high-quality local fruit available very cheaply.
AS LOCAL AS POSSIBLE

Home Farm

We are extremely proud of our small farm! There is something incredibly rewarding about watching your food grow, picking it, and finally eating it. It also ensures that the food is absolutely as fresh as possible, naturally ripened and free of any harmful chemicals.

Our garden is expanding all the time so expect to see even more things growing when you arrive!

Because we grow our food naturally, the supply is seasonal. Different fruits and vegetables come into season at different times of the year. September – October is perhaps the most prolific months. The hot, dry season in March – April yields the least.

WHAT WE ARE GROWING:

  • VEGETABLES
    Aubergines, gourds, a variety of greens, cucumbers, pumpkins, winter melons, green beans, Chinese radish, dill, carrots, sweetcorn, bamboo shoots.
  • FRUIT
    Mangoes bananas, papaya, red dates, passion fruit, jackfruit, oranges, pomelos, limes, cafir limes, lum yai, Thai custard apples, tamarind, pineapple, guava, pomegranate.

    Trees which we have planted but which have not yet borne fruit: durian, avocado, egg fruit, coconut, star fruit, rambutan, lychee, snake fruit,

  • HERBS
    Moringa, ginger, Thai ginger, lemon grass, holy basil, sweet basil, coriander, turmeric / curcumin, blue pea, mint, aloe vera, eucalyptus, black pepper,
  • COFFEE
EXPLORE

Region – Pai

High in the mountains, 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. It is easy to grow and prepare healthy, natural food in the farmland around Pai and this allows you to eat the sort of diet which best supports our training.

Why did we locate here?

The Pai valley is an area of
incredible natural beauty

Thailand is a great country with a relaxed, happy positive vibe. This is why it is so popular with tourists. It is easy to travel to, easy to get around in and easy to get by in English – unlike many countries in Asia! Very importantly, visas are easy to get.

This area is famous amongst the Chinese for having some of the best Chi in the world. It flows down from the plateau of Tibet, high in the Himalayas towards the lower land to the south. This makes it perfect for the practice of Kung Fu and Chi Kung.

Pai is an incredible town with a unique culture. It is massively popular with travellers and has all of the facilities that you might want. Very easy to get by in English. A fun town where everyone wants to stay longer. Pai town centre is less than 10 minutes from the Retreat by moped but cannot be seen from the Retreat because of a mountain spur.

Ideal really: when at the Retreat, you will feel that you are right away from the town but to get there when you want is not so difficult.

The are many fascinating excursions available locally for example temples, caves, hill tribe villages, Chinese tea growing communities, elephant camps, rafting, waterfalls, walking.

If you are going to spend your time and money on the training experience of a lifetime, why not go somewhere truly special?

Live Music

Pai attracts musicians from all over the world, and you can find great live music for free every single night in town.

Fire Shows

Pai attracts a wide variety of performers. There are fire shows almost every night of the week, where performers dance with different fire props.

Hiking

There are many beautiful hiking trails to be found in Pai, some that feature waterfalls and swimming holes, and there is also the unique Pai canyon.

Food

There are many offerings of healthy, local and affordable meal options in nearly every cuisine type available throughout town.

ABOUT PAI

Pai Town

Pai is the main tourist centre in Mae Hong Son, Thailands remote North West province, and ideally suited to receive and entertain foreigners. It has a population of about 3000 who, at peak times, are heavily outnumbered by tourists, mainly backpackers (for whom Pai is almost a compulsory stop) and the more adventurous Thai and foreign tourists who have braved the minibus ride through the mountains.

The Pai district is popular with tourists because there is so much to do here. We take two days off each week to rest and recover from hard training which provides an ideal opportunity to explore the local area. A stay at our retreat can be a holiday as well as a training experience.

Pai acts as a hub for activities and excursions, such as trekking (usually with an overnight stay at a hill tribe village), elephant riding, caving, rafting, off-road driving / motorcycling and visiting waterfalls, temples, hill tribes etc. The favourite way to get around for most is to rent a small motorcycle for about 80 Baht ($2.50US) per day or 2,000 Baht per month.

As you would expect in Thailand, the town also boasts a number of beautiful Buddhist temples housing monks.

A Taste of Pai

Shopping & Eating

Pai contains a multitude of restaurants and bars, all very reasonably priced (modest meal about 100 Baht), many market stalls selling local food and goods, and shops selling any supplies you are really likely to need. Even a few small supermarkets! Of particular note are stalls run by local hill tribe people selling clothing, handicrafts, fruit etc.

Of particular note is the night market which takes place on the walking street every night of the year. Stalls line both sides of the roads and a few of the side streets. Many local artists offer their work for sale as well as hill tribe people selling their tribal craft work, and an entire section of the market devoted to food and drink. Strolling down the walking street in the evening is one of Pai’s most popular activities.

Changing Weather

Climate

The seasons in Pai are quite distinct and vary as follows
  • NOVEMBER – JANUARY
    Winter season. Usually dry although occasional rain is possible. Warm in middle of day and afternoon. Night time cold enough to require hat and scarf. Mist hangs on the mountains later in the mornings than at other times of the year. Views in the morning amazing! This is the most popular season in Pai with tourists and the town tends to be relatively busy. Good for training as it is not too hot.
  • MAY – JUNE
    Early rainy season. Occasional rain. Air a little more humid. Daytime can be cooler if there is cloud cover but hot if there is a clear spell, nighttime warmer because of higher humidity. Land begins to turn beautifully green. Clouds often sit on the mountains creating awesome views.
  • SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER
    Late rainy season. Rains dying down but the land still beautifully green, streams and rivers full. Warm and humid. Can be hot if no cloud cover. Views still awesome. A very popular time.
  • FEBRUARY – APRIL
    Hot season. Very dry. Daytime becoming progressively hotter, peaking in mid-April (Songkran, Thai new year). Air cooler at night and before about 10.00am, middle of the day is hot. 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 year. The Thai Water Festival takes place in mid-April and can be a very fun experience.
  • JULY – AUGUST
    Peak rainy season: about half of the days will see some rain but may only be for a short time. Rivers and streams at their highest, waterfalls most impressive. Temperatures moderated by cloud cover and humidity. Training will often have to take place under cover. Plants at their most green and lush. Training aided by high humidity which seems to make the body more pliable and fresh, invigorating chi which comes together with the rain. Arguably the best time of year to come.

Summary:

  • NOVEMBER TO JANUARY
    Dry, hot in the day but cool at night. Most popular time of year to visit Pai. Perfect if you do not like rain.
  • FEBRUARY TO APRIL
    Hot and dry.
  • JUNE TO OCTOBER
    Rainy, but not every day. Humid. Not too hot in the daytime, warm but not hot at night. Views at their best, particularly later in the rainy season.
  • MAY
    Intermediate between hot season and rainy season.
The Beauty of Pai

Gallery

Photographs can not truly capture the beauty and energy of the
Pai Valley. You have to come experience it for yourself.