MAGICAL, MYSTICAL MUSEFLOWER
It is dawn, on a misty morning in Chiang Rai, I watch the sunrise from my cabin and feel immense gratitude for the last 3 days I have spent at Museflower Retreat. There is magic in the air here, it’s almost tangible: in the energy of the trees, the birds, the light, the water, the gentle hum of the insects, the inherent serenity. It also radiates from the lovely staff, their genuine joy is not something you can fake nor teach, not with any amount of hospitality training.
Upon discovering I live in Phuket, other guests will routinely comment that “surely there are retreats like this in Phuket?”. The simple answer is ‘no, there isn't’. Museflower focuses first and foremost on the emotional and mental elements of wellbeing. This is not a place for wheatgrass shots and coffee enemas - there are plenty of fantastic places in Phuket which focus on the physical aspects of well being but that’s not what Museflower is about - and that's not why I’m here.
I first came to Museflower in June 2020, immediately after the rigorous first lockdown ended. My Mum had passed away shortly before we went into lockdown and given the circumstances, there was simply no time or space to grieve. Museflower gave me that. I have since returned no less than four times and I know this will not be my last visit. Being here is a akin to a receiving a huge hug in the cushioning bosom of mother nature: I leave feeling restored, connected and clear.
There is so much to do, or not do. The program is full yet you are free to come and go as you please. This has always suited me perfectly, as someone who doesn’t like to be told what to do! On some days, I lie by the lake or the saltwater pool and just read a book for 8 hours straight. I listen to my body and follow my inutition, not a schedule set out by anybody else. There is yoga every morning with the lovely Khun A, if you feel like it. There are energy healing workshops, meditations, organic farm tours and the most sublime spa treatments, if you so desire. Nothing is mandatory, the easy going itinerary is in perfect keeping with the serene surrounds.
One activity I always make time for is the early morning, guided bike tour. Having not been on a bicycle for 20 years plus, I was apprehensive the first time Tony took us out. I wobbled about like a jelly on a twig for the first few minutes but soon found my balance. It is true what they say - you never forget how to ride a bike! The lake ride is my favorite, a 20km meandering lane that snakes all the way around the waterway, with contrasting topography on all sides. It also offers a rare glimpse into local life, with small farms and fishing posts dotted along the route. There is something about the simplicity of this life and the freedom of pedaling into the wind which brings me back to myself, free from limiting beliefs....I feel lighter and yet more grounded for it.
The food at Museflower is vegetarian and cooked quite simply, in typical Thai style. There is an organic farm on the premises and another larger organic farm close by, where much of the ingredients are sourced. Whether it's a duck egg omelette for breakfast, pad thai for lunch or tom kha soup with mushrooms for dinner, you can be guaranteed it will served with a broad smile by the lovely Khun Dada (pictured here below). If it's fancy food you are after, then probably better you bring some of your own snacks to supplement the menu provided, which is designed to nourish rather than impress.
If you are thinking about taking a few days away, I hope you will make it to Museflower Retreat. It's one of those places you want other people to experience, in the hope they will enjoy it as much as you do. "Let nature inspire' is the mantra here, I can't think of three better words to surmise the experience and I'm already looking forward to returning....