30 Days Life Balance Qigong and Meditation Retreat in Pai, Thailand

Qigong and Meditation Retreat Thailand

This training will enable you to do things which most people go through life never knowing to be possible. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat will teach you to feel chi energy, to see it, and to project it out of yourself and into another person. As you would expect from a course involving meditation, you will be taught to focus your mind, develop your concentration, and become fully aware, fully present. Get in touch with your own chi and heal yourself from the inside out!

Meet the instructors

Master Iain & Michael
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  • 3 daily training sessions
  • Experienced English speaking teachers
  • Immerse yourself in the genuine arts of ancient China
  • Discover how the old Chinese masters developed mind, body, and breath
  • Time off on Wednesdays and Saturdays to explore the local area
  • Daily healthy breakfast and dinner five days a week
  • Train in a relaxed and constructive atmosphere
  • 29 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced


22 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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  • Gym
  • Dining area
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant
  • Laundry
  • Library
  • Wireless internet

You will be staying at Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat. All of the 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 a very easy walking distance of the training facilities and the restaurant.

There are two types of room, shared and private rooms. Shared rooms can accommodate two people. They are spacious, have separate bathrooms and toilet or 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.

The private rooms are designed for single occupancy. These rooms are finished to a high standard with tiled walls and thicker mattresses. Each "house" has two rooms which are completely separate. They are located slightly further away from the centre of the retreat, which gives a quieter feel. Nam Yang also supplies communal tea and coffee making facilities and fridges.

The rooms are very spacious and comfortable with fan and en-suite shower room and toilet or wash room. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat have wireless internet which is free to all those staying.


Two large training areas. Both with breathtaking views. One is open air, perfect for early morning chi kung. The other is roofed and matted but unwalled to ensure a constant circulation of fresh air. Ideal when the sun is hot.

This is divided into a matted training area, a hard floor training area and an area with equipment such as the general's pole, punch bags, kicking dummies, weights, parallel bars, chin up bars, gymnastics rings, and much more. It is designed to provide serious kung fu students with all that they need. It is not at all a hotel gym.

Restaurant or kitchen serving healthy food cooked with medicinal herbs. Tea and coffee making facilities. Library, washing machines, and clotheslines. Wi-Fi good enough for video calls and to stream video. The retreat has a good stock of training equipment including weapons, focus mitts, kick shields, skipping ropes, and much more.

The kitchen, gardens, and orchards provide healthy, organic food which you collect and serve fresh. They specialize in growing herbs. Whilst they are not able to grow all of your own food - you 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 you get the best quality food.

Additional facilities include a prayer house, which may be used for meditation or prayer, an office, and a huge statue of Tat Moh (Boddhidharma) the Shaolin founder.


The program covers five full days each week with Wednesdays and Saturdays reserved for rest, relaxation, and exploring the local area. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday run as follows:

06:00 to 07:00 - Tong Ling Qigong

Many are vaguely aware of the great benefits of Qigong and meditation to health and longevity but do not really understand how it works. Here is an overview. Chi (or Qi) circulates around the body in a daily cycle, mainly but not entirely through pathways called meridians and vessels. Chi is stored in energy centers or reservoirs called tan tiens. The two main sources of chi are the earth (yin chi) and the sky (yang chi). When the chi in the body is circulating freely, and is balanced between yin and yang, you will enjoy good health.

Opening the meridians through stretching exercises and guiding chi through them facilitates strong, smooth circulation of the chi. Drawing in fresh chi from the earth and sky keeps our chi plentiful and allows us to balance yin and yang. Expelling stale or excess chi keeps your chi fresh and prevents it becoming excessively strong. By its nature, Qigong is simple and easy yet amazingly effective. Anyone can practice it successfully, regardless of age or fitness. The essential requirements are a properly trained instructor and good, fresh air.

07:00 to 8:00 - Sun Frost White Crane Tai Chi

Usually referred to as "Shuang Yang" (sun frost) for short, this is the internal form of the white crane art. It is performed in a very soft, relaxed way, gently opening the chi flow in the meridians, training elasticity into all of the tendons, and massaging the internal organs. Whilst superficially very similar to normal Tai Chi, it is part of the Buddhist Shaolin tradition, rather than the Taoist Wutan tradition. Many people practice the Shuang Yang primarily to benefit their health, vitality, and longevity. Whilst the slow, gentle nature of the training make it ideal for older or less fit people, make no mistake, this is a genuine martial art.

Weight is sunk down and movement is generated from the core of the body, moving out to the limbs like a wave through water. Training connects all of the tendons in the body into one resilient, elastic network with incredible strength. All movements are performed with the whole body. Benefits of the Shuang Yang art: Shuang Yang training gently stretches and releases the body’s tendons in a slow rhythmic fashion, increasing its strength, and stimulating chi to flow. Shuang Yang practice involves a great deal of flexing and twisting in the torso, as well as opening the meridians and energizing the tendons, which strengthens muscles which we do not usually use.

It also wrings out and cleans the internal organs, pushes fluids along their course and manipulates the joints of the spine, keeping them moving freely to promote a healthy spine and body. Shuang Yang training is performed in a meditative state and is a genuine "meditation in motion". It requires sinking of the chi, calming of the mind, and breathing from the core of the body. Regular practice greatly improves health, vitality, and combats ageing.

08:00 to 08:15 - Break for freshly made Chinese tea

In line with a long tradition, Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat takes great care in making their tea!

08:15 to 09:00 - Meditation, relaxation, and self massage

The meditation program includes mainstream Buddhist meditation for mindfulness and awareness, meditation on the Chi energy - circulating, guiding and strengthening, self-healing meditation, visualization, and manifestation. It shuts down the chatter of the mind and focuses you. Students aim to become concentrated, effective individuals able to work as a force for good.

09:00 to 09:15 - Stretching practice to open the meridians and release trapped energy

09:15 to 11:00 - Breakfast followed by morning break

11:00 to 13:00 - Bodhidharma’s vein tendon Qigong

Vein Tendon Qigong is a simple but effective system which tones all of the fascia in the body and increases its elasticity so that it can store energy. It is a straightforward system which emphasizes reverse abdominal breathing and therefore trains elasticity into the internal organs, energizing them and making them resilient to injury.

Further practice of Sun Frost White Crane Tai Chi. Pushing hands: touch sensitivity exercise with a partner which develops connectedness, stability, grounding, and awareness. Further meditation. On Tuesdays a trip to Mae Kong Temple for a special meditation in a very unique environment.

13:00 to 15:30 - Mid day break

15:30 to 16:30pm - Deep stretching session

Beginning with a short physical warm up, this is a very intense stretching session with particular emphasis on hips and spine. It opens the meridians and releases bad energy, bad experiences, and bad emotions trapped in the fascia, especially around the hips. It is also great for improving posture which in turn completely transforms our dominant emotions and moods.

16:30 to 18:00 - A series of specialist classes

Classes covering advanced breathing techniques, relaxation drills, and further meditation. Tuesday afternoon also includes chanting. Thursday afternoon includes detailed small group tuition on the Sun Frost White Crane Tai Chi.

18:00 - Dinner followed by free time

Early nights are recommended.

Friday is a special day. As usual the training will begin at 6:00 a.m., but you will head out of the retreat to a local beauty spot (different one each week) where you will practice Qigong, sun frost white crane tai chi, and perhaps meditation and appreciate the different energy. Mountain tops, giant Buddha statues, viewpoints, and waterfalls are amongst the venues Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat chooses. You will return to the Retreat at 9:15 a.m. for breakfast.

After breakfast, Friday is mindfulness day on which you will engage in a full day of quiet, deep meditation, and Qigong practice. Meditations include laying, sitting, standing, and walking with a variety of guided journeys delivered by a teacher. You will also engage in quiet, mindful practice of the sun frost white crane tai chi, gentle stretching, and active relaxation. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. followed at 7:00 p.m. by evening Qigong practice.


Master Iain Armstrong
Master Iain is a Kung Fu philosopher and author with 36 years of living Kung Fu. Trained personally by Grand Master Tan Soh Tin in Singapore, he’s a two-time world champion and veteran of real street battles. Famous for his high-quality Kung Fu teaching, his instructional films and magazine articles, and for his demonstrations of Iron Shirt Qigong, Master Iain is a mine of information but retains a very practical, down to earth, and realistic approach. Most people who meet him are struck by his air of calm, patience, and wisdom.
Michael is an enthusiastic teacher whilst at the same time maintaining a very relaxed attitude. He first came to the Kung Fu Retreat in 2015 and loved what he found so much that he returned home and worked hard until he had saved enough money to return and join the instructor training program. He intends in the future to open his own kung fu school. Although he has lived most of his life in the US Michael is originally from Guatemala and speaks Spanish as well as English. He is very interested in the history of Shaolin Kung Fu and Nam Yang Pugilistic Association.


This training will take place in Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat, Pai, Thailand. When Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat set out to design the Kung Fu Retreat, they inspired to make all of their dreams about a perfect Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and meditation school come become reality. They spent many years choosing the ideal location then set about building a full time, a residential school with all of the elements needed by serious students and teachers alike.

The Pai Valley is an area of incredible natural beauty. High in the mountains, it epitomizes 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 your training.

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 travelers 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.

The retreat is set on two acres of land on the side of a mountain spur, bordering the jungle, and with awesome views across the Pai river valley to mountains which rise steadily to the mighty Himalayas.

In the early morning, when you begin training, the mountains are usually shrouded in mist which gradually clears as the sun rises. Indeed, the sun rises are a highlight of many people's stay. The school is built in the local Shan style architecture according to Chinese Feng Shui principles.

The views from the retreat are truly awesome and all of the rooms are built so that when you walk out of your front door you get the full impact. Most of their students say that although the pictures look amazing they do not do justice to the reality!

Nearby places

  • Pai - 10 minutes



  • Garden
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Library


For most of Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat guests, the food is one of the highlights of their stay. Quality food is essential for martial artists in hard training. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat has their own kitchen garden, herb garden, and fruit trees all of which are entirely organic. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat is now partially self-sufficient for fruit and vegetables. What they don’t grow by themselves, they will choose carefully usually from the local farmers' market or from people they know well.

The rice is bought from a rather remote hill tribe village in the mountains. By buying rice directly from poor ethnic minorities, they support their families. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat prepares local style food with an emphasis on the use of beneficial herbs to increase its value. Their diet is calculated to best support your training as they understand that you are what you 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. Meals will start with one or two types of fruit and usually some salad. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat then typically serves two main dishes with rice. Most dishes are vegetarian but Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat does serve meat. There will always be at least one vegan dish as part of each meal. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat will also try their best to cater for specialist diets.

Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat 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. They also serve specialist teas two to four 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. Almost any style of food can be purchased in Pai, (Italian, western, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and much more).

The local diet is based mainly around rice, meat, fresh-water fish, vegetables, fruit, and spices. Kindly note that seafood is relatively expensive in the mountains. Local fruit and vegetables are great, fresh, and very cheap.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Organic
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

Pai is a hub for adventure tourism. Most of the students hire a moped so as to get around and appreciate what the area has to offer. Moped hire is very cheap. Safety first is recommended when dealing with mopeds. There is a huge range of activities available locally, including:

  • Chinese tea growing communities
  • Elephant camps
  • Exploring caves, with or without guides
  • Nightlife in Pai town
  • Off-road motorcycling or driving
  • Rafting, either a serene trip down the Pai River or more adventurous white water rafting
  • Swimming in pools or river
  • Tubing
  • Visiting hill tribe villages
  • Visiting temples
  • Walking
  • Waterfalls
  • Zip-lining

There is also a masseuse available on call who specializes in traditional Thai massage, herb massage, and oil massage. The cost of the massage is 200 TBH per hour. Compared to prices in the West, this is ridiculously cheap.

What's included

  • All training included in itinerary
  • 88 Qigong sessions
  • 80 meditation sessions
  • 2 free days to explore the local area
  • Automatic visa on entering Thailand
  • 29 nights accommodation
  • Daily breakfast
  • Evening meals five days a week
  • Free drinking water and teas made with beneficial herbs
  • Use of all facilities, including gym and training areas when not being used for teaching

What's not included

  • Additional activities
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Goods purchases
  • Insurance
  • Lunches
  • Personal expenses
  • Private tuition

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Arriving at Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat, but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. Once in Bangkok, you can book a domestic flight to Chiang Mai.

Arrival by bus

Once in Chiang Mai, take a minibus to Pai. Minibus trip costs about 200 THB and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains. The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure.

You are recommended to travel during daylight. The most popular minibus provider is AYA service. Their office in Chiang Mai is opposite the train station. Book the next available minibus if you have not booked already.

Arrival by train

Once you arrive in Bangkok, you can get an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok’s central station, Hua Lam Phong, for around 1000 THB each way. Booking in advance is recommended. Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late. The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside.

Minibuses run between about 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3:30 p.m, you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat. If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, it is recommended that you still go to the AYA service office when you arrive and book a minibus for the next day. Then look for a guesthouse nearby. You should get a nice room with fan for 400 to 500 THB.

Arrival by taxi

Once in Chiang Mai, take the 25-minute flight to Pai Airport (PYY). When you first arrive in Pai, the easiest way to get to Kung Fu Retreat is simply to book a taxi. The taxis are a little way up the main street from the AYA service office. A motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 Baht. For a minibus or taxi car, it will be 200 THB to 250 THB. For further information, please kindly to send Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat an inquiry.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Quality of activity
Overall impression
30 days / 29 nights
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This training is available all year round. It is possible to start any day you wish, although Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat recommends arriving on a Wednesday or Saturday.

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