Dispatch: A Visit To Thanyapura

Holly Bennett had the chance to visit Thanyapura–a sponsor of Challenge Laguna Phuket and host to the Junior Challenge children’s race.

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Are you keen to swim, bike and run in a world-class training facility, with the stunning scenery and charming culture of Southeast Asia as a backdrop? Do you seek a break from the chaos that tends to clutter your mind as you struggle to balance your triathlon hobby with your career, family and the demands of everyday life? Do you long for a peaceful, productive and health-focused training retreat, with the added bonus of on-site access to freshly cooked organic delights? Then Thanyapura Sports and Leisure Club on the island of Phuket, Thailand may be the place for you.

I had the chance to visit Thanyapura–a sponsor of the Challenge Laguna Phuket Tri-Fest and host to the Junior Challenge children’s race–earlier this week. I’d heard of the place previously, due to its association with the race and its well-known staff–Ironman Champion Jurgen Zack (a long-time Phuket resident) serves as senior coach at the center’s Triathlon Academy. And Zack isn’t the only legendary pro to tap into the Thanyapura action; Chris McCormack is hosting a Team MaccaX training camp this week, formatted around Sunday’s Challenge Laguna Phuket race.

Interestingly enough, Thanyapura was not founded as a dream destination designed for triathletes (though you’d never guess that today). Rather, German entrepreneur and expat Klaus Hebben first created a school, the Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS), to suit the needs of his own learning-challenged son. The school now serves up its holistic education to 250 students representing 28 different nationalities, a truly international student body. The school’s campus comprises one section of the Thanyapura compound, a 23-hectare inland site nestled next to protected national parkland.

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But the experience at Thanyapura (which translates to “land of abundance”) stretches far beyond the schoolroom. The Sports and Leisure Club boasts a plethora of athletic facilities, including a 50-meter pool with electronic timing and an underwater observation window, an all-weather outdoor track, a state-of-the-art cardio and strength training center, six outdoor tennis courts, soccer and rugby fields, a Pilates studio and a beach volleyball court–and that’s the short list. There are numerous group fitness classes available to members and visitors (who range from professional athletes and teams to Phuket locals looking to get in shape), and also ongoing triathlon training sessions that take advantage of the sparkling pool, nearby jungle-framed cycling routes and run trails and the ocean for organized open water swims.

Then there’s the Integrative Health Centre, focused on preventive, regenerative and anti-aging techniques incorporating cutting-edge Western medicine and traditional Asian approaches to wellness. Programs are custom-tailored to each individual’s needs, a sampling of which includes mind/body performance, weight management, disease prevention and sexual health. Thanyapura’s Mind Centre promotes the study and practice of mental training techniques, whether through practical applications such as stress reduction for corporate clients or sport-focused mind/body integration, or through more ethereal meditative practices. It’s not uncommon to find guests involved in silent meditation retreats at the Mind Centre, designed with architectural elements that mimic a temple. Thailand is renowned for its food, and Thanyapura’s gourmet organic restaurant DiVine delivers delectable fare (with ingredients from the center’s own farm, of course), as well as healthy fresh juices and even biodynamic wine. Cooking classes are available on the off chance one becomes bored with the hundreds of other activities available on-site.

With so much to choose from at Thanyapura you’ll hardly want to go home. The good news is you won’t have to–the compound also includes its own 77-room Sport Hotel, with bike storage built into each accommodation.

For more information–or to book a stay in swim, bike and run paradise–visit Thanyapura.com.

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