12 Things To Do In Koh Samui, Thailand

I just returned from the most incredible 10 days on the New Horizon Escapes fitness retreat in koh Samui, Thailand. As part of our itinerary, we had tonnes of fun activities scheduled in. No two days were the same and we were never short of things to do. As always, I have added a fitness twist to these recommendations for if you want an active holiday. If you’re heading to this beautiful island be sure to add these to your hit list!

Explore The Food Scene

The food in Thailand can only be described as authentic. You can pick up a fresh Pad Thai on a street corner for practically pennies. I highly recommend you head to the smaller spots down the back streets and in villages to get a true Thai experience, rather than the larger more westernised restaurants in the town centres. If you’re looking for something healthier, check out my healthy cafe guide which features four insanely delicious spots on Koh Samui.

Ang Thong National Marine Park

This beautiful archipelago of 42 islands out in the ocean reminds me of Halong Bay in Vietnam. You can join a tour or hire out a private boat to take you there, where you can swim in the warm ocean, relax on remote beaches, hike through caves up to stunning view points, kayak along the coastline and explore crystal blue lagoons. It feels like you have stepped into a postcard.

Take A Hike

Outside of the towns, Koh Samui is covered with dense jungles which are crying out to be explored. I recommend using a guide such as Samui Hiking to take you on safe routes. You can climb up mountains and trek up to waterfalls, all while surrounded by incredible scenery. Be sure to hike early in the morning to avoid the blistering heat in the middle of the day.

Train

There are tonnes of gyms all across Samui, with all training styles covered. Why not try traditional Muay Thai? It makes you feel like a badass while giving you a good workout. Or give Crossfit a go at the new Crossfit Triple Shot gym, right on the main road. They offer walk-in classes as well as open gym sessions, so you can get a taste of this challenging form of training. If you just want to lift, Elite Fitness have two gyms on the island which have every single piece of equipment you could ever imagine. They’re a gym-goers dream.

Fishermans Village

This is my favourite area on the island, as it reflects true Thai culture and avoids the mainstream chain shops found elsewhere on the island. The narrow streets are lined with unique boutique shops and independent cafes, and are the perfect spot to pick up some gifts. Be sure to walk through Blue Vanilla gift shop to the back, where theres a hidden cafe with a sea view.

Swim In Waterfalls

The mountainous nature of Koh Samui means there are tonnes of beautiful waterfalls to be explored. Hiking tours can take you to some of the lesser known ones, but if you’re looking for convenience then you can drive right up to Namuang Waterfall and hop in for a swim. Take your go pro to get some epic photos!

Get A Massage

Massages in Thailand are ridiculously cheap. I had a 90 minute full body deep tissue massage for £15! A short walk down any populated street will inevitably lead to a massage parlour. Pop in and grab yourself a bargain!

Shop Til You Drop

The high streets across Samui offer a whole host of different independent local shops. Many of these are full of tat, but a few have more unique hand-crafted goods at bargain prices. You just have to dig around. In town centres you can find day markets and night markets (be sure to head to the evening market in Fishermans Village on Fridays). Check out the beautiful dream-catchers on offer and don’t forget to have a cheeky browse of the fake handbags!

Hire A Moped

Now I am not going condone driving a moped unless you have the correct travel insurance and a license. However, if you do want to hire one, they can be as cheap as £3-5 a day. They are super fun and allow you to explore the island on your own terms. Plus you feel pretty cool driving down the streets on your bike! Just make sure you practice on the quiet back roads before you venture onto the manic main roads, as it all gets a bit crazy on there! Once you’re confident, drive to some of the islands viewpoints such as Samui Viewpoint and Lamai viewpoint which provide stunning views of the island.

Enjoy A Thrill Ride

On our final day we did a Jeep tour across the island and it was incredible. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip! Make sure the Jeeps you go on have the aptly named “death seats” on the roof which you can sit in. They literally feel like you’re on a rollercoaster and certainly get your adrenaline pumping! I loved them. Our Jeep tour also took us to the highest point of the island for a cooking class, which was another highlight of the trip and something I highly recommend. Nothing tastes better than fresh Thai food which you made yourself!

Get Wet!

You’re on an island. Surrounded by the sea. Take advantage of that! Sunset paddle boarding was absolutely stunning, and provided a fun full body workout. You can also try various watersorts, hire Jet skis or hop on a kayak.The possibilities are endless.

Experience Thai Culture

Koh Samui is saturated with traditional Thai culture, and it would be a shame not to experience it. I highly recommend visiting the Big Buddha temple, Tarnim Magic Garden and the Mummified Monk. There are also numerous other temples scattered across the island (such as Laem Sor Pagoda and the Wat Rattanakosi) crying out to be explored, just don’t forget to cover your knees and shoulders when you enter them.

I experienced all of these awesome activities through the New Horizon Escapes fitness retreat. If you want to join me in Koh Tao on the next New Horizon Escapes retreat in Thailand this October you can use the code ZANNA100 to get £100 off! Come and train with me in paradise!

Zanna x

February 25, 2017

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4 Healthy Cafes on Koh Samui, Thailand

The healthy food scene on Koh Samui is still developing. It is not like Bali where there is a whole-foods shop on each street corner and smoothie bowls available in every cafe! Thailand is still predominantly serving local, traditional thai food. Which I love! However, as a foodie fitness blogger I was on a mission to find some hidden healthy spots. I did my research and these four came up trumps. Next time you’re in Samui be sure to stop by and give them a go, you won’t be disappointed.

Greenlight

This was by far my favourite cafe on the island. Located in Fishermans Village, it has an extensive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has classic brunch dishes like granola topped smoothie bowls, poached eggs on toast and shakshuka; as well as fresh lunch meals including build your own “nourish bowls” which can be crammed full of goodies like falafel, roasted pumpkin and feta. They also have a selection of healthy twists on thai food such as the raw vegetable pad thai. Oh and did I mention the drinks menu as long as my arm?! I literally cannot fault this cafe. It even has a resort attached to it, which I would love to stay in one day. I can’t imagine anything better than waking up to such nourishing meals every single day!

Art Cafe

Just outside Fishermans village towards Koh Samui town centre, Art Cafe by June can be found on the road side. It looks unassuming at first glance but I promise it is incredible! Admittedly, the breakfasts here are basic, but the lunch is where this cafe comes into its own. With tonnes of healthy options, as well as veggie and vegan specials, you’re spoilt for choice. Quinoa patties, fresh sping rolls, sweet potato and cashew salads, as well as homemade raw cakes and energy bars are on the line up. The service is super quick, the food is fresh and locally sourced, and you an even buy their homemade granola in little bags – which I highly recommend. It is slightly pricier than most Thai cafes but you’re paying for the quality and its still much cheaper than a UK equivalent.

Fisherman’s House

I had researched the cafe scene in Koh Samui extensively and this one was never mentioned; I think it must be new on the brunch block. I actually stumbled across it while wandering through Fisherman’s Village and was blown away by their all-day breakfast menu and HUGE coffee selection. They are actually a “coffee lab” and as a result have a 12 page coffee menu with every blend and variation you could ever think of. But lets talk about the good stuff… their brunch. Holy moley. The chef is Australian, and he has absolutely nailed the menu. I’m talking poached eggs on toast with pesto, roasted pumpkin and feta. Caramelised banana french toast with salted caramel sauce and crispy bacon. Baked oats and mango chia pots with fresh passion fruit and toasted cashews. The list goes on. And bonus, the service was the best I had the on the whole trip. Make suer you head to the back of the restaurant and grab a seat in the courtyard. The sunlight peaks through the roof and a lazy cat might accompany you for a sunbathe and a stroke. Dreamy.

Cream Cafe

Located in Koh Samui town centre, just next to Central Festival, this cafe strikes the perfect balance between healthy and indulgent. The menu boasts a whole section dedicated to pancakes (how can you choose between banana caramel and nutella strawberry?!) as well as lighter egg dishes and traditional thai food. They also have ice cream, macaroons and a huge drinks menu from fresh pressed juices through to speciality coffees. The highlight was the presentation. The food was instagram gold with juices in jam jars and pancakes staked high. Plus the prices are super affordable and in line with other local eateries.

There are tonnes more cafes on the island which I didn’t get a chance to explore (give Veggie Bean or Vi Kasa a visit if you have time) but from my experience these four were my highlights. If you visit them, be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your food porn!

February 17, 2017

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Guest Post: How To Spend A Healthy Day In Leeds

Leeds, in the heart of West Yorkshire is home to three universities, world class sporting facilities, successful sports teams, healthy eateries, multiple Olympians and a rich culture influenced by many different nationalities. If you’re looking to spend a healthy day out in Leeds you’re not short of options when it comes to food, fitness and fun!

Train Like An Athlete

The John Charles Centre for Sport is the training ground of Olympic diving champions Jack Laugher and Chris Mears and triathletes Alistair and Johnathan Brownlee. Leeds Phoenix Lifesaving club compete at world championship level whilst the diving, swimming and synchronised swimming clubs boast a whole host of national, European and world championship and Olympic athletes. If you’re looking for a new water based sport this is the place to do it! If water isn’t your thing there’s also an athletics stadium, tennis centre and even indoor bowls!

If you don’t mind going a little further afield then Ilkley Lido is the place to be. This outdoor pool is unheated and not for the faint hearted. Sunbathe on the grass with your healthy picnic in the summer months then jump in the freezing water to cool off, are you brave enough?

Continuing with the theme of water sports, why not head over to Yeadon Tarn? It offers a range of activities suitable for all levels of experience courtesy of Leeds Sailing and Activity Centre from sailing to raft building. Take a look at their website www.yeadonsailingclub.co.uk for a full list of everything on offer. The huge expanse of water is also great for dog walking, jogging and leisurely walks.

If water isn’t your thing then there’s still plenty on offer. Leeds is a great place for both indoor and outdoor bootcamps with companies such as British Military Fitness and UK Outdoor Fitness keeping us sweating with their exceptionally varied and fun classes.

Head To The Gym

Gyms in Leeds are brilliant, to put it simply. Every budget and every goal is catered for with chains such as PureGym and Xercise4Less bringing outstanding facilities to the table and Leeds City Council provide affordable yet high quality facilities at the city’s various leisure centres.

Primal Gym is a city centre facility that doesn’t do generic, branded fitness classes. It focuses on conditioning, strength, power and core with all members also having access to yoga and Pilates for optimum flexibility and functionality. You won’t find rows of treadmills and stationary bikes here! Lifting platforms, boxing rings and sprint tracks are just some of the equipment available to use with the friendly and professional staff more than happy to teach you how to make the most of it! Every new member gets a health and movement assessment with an experienced coach to identify areas to work on and set goals to get you there.

Tuck In

With all of this activity you’re going to need something to get you fuelled up for the day. For all of your brunch, coffee, tea and cheeky slice of post workout cake needs look no further than Mrs Atha’s. This charming city centre space is a haven for readers, writers, creatives, hipsters and ladies who lunch. The menu boasts healthy options and their (very) specials on offer to tuck in to and satisfy any taste buds. The emphasis on quality is apparent and I would argue that it’s well worth a trip purely for a sausage sandwiches!

Café 164 is also located within the city centre and the food is exciting yet healthy and balanced with a seasonal menu and a talented kitchen team always pushing the boat out to bring new creations to the Leeds food scene. If you want balance then this is the place to go as the clean eats can be followed up by the decadent treats produced by ‘queen of edible delights’ Catherine James. Follow them on Instagram @cafe164 to get your mouth watering.

Just need some pre-workout motivation? Laynes Espresso, just a stone’s throw from the train station has you covered. Laynes uses coffee beans from roasters selected from all over Europe to ensure that you get quality in every single cup.

Indulge

Trattoria Il Forno makes 20 inch pizzas…… yep, you did just read that correctly! Make sure you take some friends with you to help polish off one of these monsters!

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February 17, 2017

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An Active Tourist Day In London

London is an amazing city, packed full of history, architecture, culture and food. You can easily spend a week there and not run out of things to see and do. The guys over at Expedia have created an active city breaks concept called “Fitness Breaks”. They have challenged me to create a one-day active itinerary, which shows you some of the highlights of the city. As a Londoner myself, I have put together what I consider to be a perfect day, which ticks off a whole host of the major tourist spots and racks up a surprising amount of steps!

The Itinerary

The Park Run

Start your day off with an early morning royal “Secret London Run” around St James Park. This totals to around 5km and is accessible for even running beginners. The route takes well under an hour and is right in the centre of London. Not only will you get some fresh air and be surrounded by greenery, but you will pass by tourist hot spots including Buckingham Palace, Big Ben & Trafalgar Square and your friendly guide will tell you all about the fascinating history of the city.

Total Steps: 5545

Total Calories: 430

Experience Modern Art

After you have finished your run, head for a stroll down the Southbank towards the Tate Modern; passing by the iconic Big Ben and London Eye. On your arrival, explore the Tate Modern gallery and take your time browsing the impressive and thought-provoking collections available there. Be sure to take the stairs when you can and delve into every floor of this incredible gallery.

Total Steps (walk & gallery): 5387

Total Calories (walk & gallery): 460

Explore The Southbank

Once you have soaked up your fair share of modern art, head back down the riverside to the Southbank Centre and food market. By this time you will have worked up an appetite, so tuck into a wholesome salad, or even indulge in a stack of freshly made pancakes! Once you’re satisfied, walk towards St Paul’s Cathedral, crossing the Millennium Bridge in route.

Total Steps: 4871

Total Calories: 389

Climb St Paul’s Cathedral

Now you have experienced the arts scene, its time to delve into the historical and architectural side of London. Take a moment to admire the outside of St Paul’s Cathedral and wander through its gardens, stopping for a coffee along the way. Once you’re inside, take note of the incredibly detailed interior and be sure to take the steps all the way to the top of the dome, to get a stunning view overlooking the whole of London.

Total Steps: 3113

Total Calories: 288

Total daily steps and calories for all activities together (and walking in between):

Total Steps: 20,962

Total Calories: 2347

A total of 20km was covered!

This itinerary allows you to experience London’s beautiful parks, bustling art scene and stunning historical architecture, all while staying active. The close-knit nature of London means that you can easily walk between the majority of the main attractions, keeping you on your feet. The best part? The more steps you take, the more food you can eat! And London has an incredible healthy food scene…

Top Healthy Eateries In London

You could call me a healthy cafe connoisseur. Since I moved to London I have made it my mission to test out every juice bar and brunch spot the city has to offer. Here are my top picks:

• Flour to the People. This little cafe in the depths of Battersea is only really known to the locals. It was recently voted best coffee in Battersea and specializes in homemade sourdough bread with all the healthy toppings you can imagine. It’s the perfect spot for brunch.

• Nama. This cosy cafe in Notting Hill serves up unique vegan food which is all 100% raw. They claim that this results in their meals being packed with even more nutritious goodness. An added bonus is that it is within easy reach of Portobello market.

• Ozone Coffee Roasters. Besides their famous and phenomenal coffee, Ozone in Old street serve up everything from huge omelettes stuffed with roasted veggies through to falafel mountains scattered with fresh flowers. Instagram gold.

• The Detox Kitchen. With multiple branches across Fitzrovia and soho, this is a great healthy cafe to pick up a salad or a matcha latte between sight-seeing.

• Supernatural. This line of juice bars are scattered across London from Canary Wharf to Oxford Circus, often inside Tube stations for the ultimate convenience. Perfect for grabbing a freshly made juice on the go.

• Redemption. These highly reviewed restaurants in Shoreditch and Notting Hill serve up vegan, sugar free and wheat free food with an alcohol free bar. The result? Zero guilt without losing the flavour.

5 Unique London Fitness Trends To Try:

London has something for everyone. New fitness classes and activities are cropping up on a weekly basis. As a fitness blogger, I have practically tried them all. Here are my favourites:

 Oxygen Free Jumping. This trampoline park features huge rooms covered head to toe in trampolines. You can indulge your inner child by flipping and flying around for hours. It is so much fun that you don’t even realise that you’re working out!

 British Military fitness. These challenging classes take part in parks across London and offer a perfect way to get outdoors and explore the local surroundings… albeit while covered in sweat!

 F45. This is by far the most popular high intensity fitness class in London. It will push your body to a new level and make you feel fit, strong and satisfied. Be sure to book online in advance to avoid disappointment.

Yogasphere. Yoga is now available at the top of the iconic Shard building in central London. What better way to start the day than watching the sunrise over the cityscape during a relaxing yoga class.

Rebounding at Move your Frame. Frame are a line of gyms with a serious sense of humour. This workout involves bouncing around on tiny trampolines. You may giggle but you will also work up a sweat!

I hope that you enjoy your London Fitness Break. Let me know any of your London fitness tips in the comments below. You can see the other Fitness Breaks guides from around the world on the Expedia website http://expediablog.co.uk/fitness-breaks/.

Zanna xx

This blog post is sponsored by Expedia.

February 2, 2017

Posted In: London, Travel

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