Marily, native of Greece but now living in Dublin, has fallen for Pilates reformer. After noticing most wellbeing holidays seem to be a bit more focused on the yoga side of things, she did her research and found 3 world renowned Pilates retreats; one in Spain, one in Portugal, and one in Thailand.

Being European and no stranger to these places, she decided to opt for Thailand, as a taste of the exotic made up her mind for her.

Marily had also made a New Year’s resolution; that for this holiday, she wouldn’t wait for someone who wanted to go with her, nor compromise her wish for a week of Pilates classes. Instead, she would just travel solo and spend the money doing what she really wanted to do.

We spoke to Marily on her return to see what she thought of her Pilates reformer holiday in Thailand:

What was your typical day at the retreat like?

There are activities from sunrise to sunset but, mind you, I joined believing this holiday included, meals, Pilates and accommodation. In reality, it went above and beyond. You are free to join yoga, workshops, nutritional meetings, hikes, etc. – the only thing is there must be a 2 people minimum for something to run, so every day you have to check what is being offered.

The best part was they offered transfers (each day to a different location) to villages about 20 minutes away, then picked you up 2-3 hours later; setting you free to spend your time as you wanted. This happened for the beach too; about 15 minutes away by bus. I was pleasantly surprised to find out about these daily additional offers.

However, the best bonus would have to the free massages everyday. For 6 days. I was beginning to see why this was good value for my money indeed!

Beach on Koh Samui at sunset

Did you meet anyone else on your holiday?

It would seriously be impossible not to. When I showed up, I saw about 10 different guests upon arrival, as well as when I ventured out to supermarkets, local street food markets, Buddhist temples, and especially dinners (which were a communal affair). You were able to recognize who was on the retreat, so it would be more awkward not to meet people!

I spoke with all of the staff and every guest; all of us enjoying the same things, so it was dead easy to meet people and make plans.

How did you spend your evenings in Koh Samui?

To be fair, I would say that 80% of people were there to make a commitment to lose some weight and eat well, and change their lifestyle to have a fresh start in their lives.The food is lovely, fresh, and people love it, as well as shed a few pounds, but this was still my holiday, so I still wanted my desserts, ice cream in the heat, and what not.

The retreats are very health based – and it is great! However, the transfers allow you to get your hands on whatever you would like in the town, and there are hotel restaurants on the beach, so you can still indulge a bit after a days workout.

Evenings were mellow, and everyone was just fine with that; most people are back home by 9pm, the restaurant on site closes by 10pm, but you’re getting so much out of the sun, workouts, exploring and swimming that no one seemed to mind an early night in!

Did your fitness improve during your stay?

My fitness and Pilates skills and levels without doubt improved during my stay. The instructors are really amazing and dedicated and they do work you! But I loved it.

I did notice that for an absolute newbie, they may struggle with the first lesson (as it focused on Pilates), so my advice would be to try a few workouts on YouTube or join a local lesson to give you a feel for it so you get more out of your week.

Every Pilates class was different, so you don’t have to worry about the boredom of repetitiveness.

Guest standing by pool in Thailand with coconut drink

Marily enjoying the retreat’s pool

How was the value for money?

Although my friends were surprised at my splurge, I cannot emphasize how it was much more than amazing; with all that was included, my improvement throughout the week in fitness, the new friends, daily housekeeping, and never having to worry about a thing…

The retreat included everything, if you are not into shopping or dinner out of the resort you will not need to pay for anything extra! I now understand how you get what you pay for!

Will you be staying in touch with anyone you met during your travels?

As I said, I spoke to everybody. One woman I met, I have kept in touch with, and we are going on holiday to Dubai. This one is for pleasure (not activity based) but we will be hitting some Pilates while there.

One morning, I decided to go on a very informal sunrise beach walk (going to bed at 9 can be inspiring), and it was just me, another man, and the instructor. The instructor asked where we worked, and, oddly, we both worked for Google – me in Dublin, him in Sydney. Yet more common interests! It’s very easy to make friends when you already have that common interests the moment you’re on the retreat!

Guest admiring the sea view from retreat balcony

Marily admiring the sea view

What advice would you give to other solo travellers?

I am 29 years old and find it very difficult to find friends who want to do exactly what I want to do (especially with just a Pilates focus), or have the right holiday fund with the right corresponding holiday time off. I am pretty sure this must be a common thing for everyone.

I cannot express how much I wish I had tried this type of holiday earlier. I now look back and realize that I spent a lot of money and time only doing partially what I wanted to do on holidays, and compromising.

Of course, spending holidays with your loved ones is amazing but so are your bonds at home. When you travel with a friend, you tend to box yourself off. When you travel alone, you are open to new experiences and you speak to everybody – who love doing what they’re on the holiday to do – the same as you.

Lesson learned.

If Marily’s solo holiday experience has inspired you to get out and try something different, please get in touch with us at [email protected]. We would love to help you plan your next adventure!

You can get more information about Marily’s Pilates reformer holiday in Thailand here.

Or feel free to browse our full range of singles holidays here.