Siem Reap, Cambodia
Tucked away down a quiet alley, off the hustle and bustle of a main road in Siem Reap, lies the tranquility an peace of a safe haven and jungle sanctuary you can call home.
Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage is a yoga retreat center, offering daily yoga, education and meditation classes. The retreat boasts a beautiful, lush, jungle-y space- including an outdoor dining area, kitchen, meditation areas, lovely guest cottages, outdoor aerial yoga loft, classrooms and outdoor yoga pagoda complete with swinging hammocks to lounge in during your stay.
I myself am not a morning person, but it did not take long for me to adjust and look forward to the gong at 6 am for Hatha yoga sessions. It truly was one of the most relaxing and conversely gently, energizing ways to start the day. After yoga, it wasn’t long before the community gong would sound once more, inviting us to a beautiful, homemade breakfast feast. The meal typically consisted of fresh fruit, oatmeal, homemade yogurt topped with sesame seeds, pressed papaya mango juices, rice pudding, made to order eggs, coffee, jasmine tea and lovely conversation with our teachers and other retreat members. That was the beauty of Blue Indigo, you weren’t just attending a retreat with strangers and instructors, you became part of a family.
Perhaps this is because the amount of love that has been put into this magical place. When you arrive, the owner, France native Jean, greets you with the warmth of a jovial uncle. His kind, gentle nature and infectious, rumbling laugh is something you will look forward to hearing around the property. Be sure to ask him about his life story, it is definitely a fascinating one, and adventures that led him to presently live in Cambodia for almost 20 years. His wife is also a precious gem, she has left no stone unturned at Blue Indigo, pay close attention- all the beautiful details around the property she has hand picked, painted or placed with extreme love and care.
After you have had your fill of the incredibly fresh and organic morning feast, it is time to expand your mind. I had the pleasure of having Jade as our teacher, a young woman with a lot of life experience and incredible way of guiding her students through meditation, morning yoga and to the lifestyle that is yoga. Our daily morning lessons were actually something I greatly looked forward to; it is a wonderfully vast world of yoga and there’s something for everyone to take away or apply to their own lives.
After a little lounge time, preferably swinging in one of the hammocks reading or writing your daily thoughts, you are excited by the sound of the gong's indication that lunch is served. All the meals at Blue Indigo were vegan or vegetarian. At first this may make some apprehensive, especially coming from a carnivorous country like the U.S., but trust me, this is not something you will miss or even think about. I don’t remember the last time my stomach felt so good and satisfied; nor my energy so clean and abundant. Lunch fare varied from dishes like tofu served in a delicious local peanut sauce with cooked greens and steamed rice, to shredded mango salad, juicy watermelon, tomato cucumber salad, vegan spring rolls, mixed green salad, and whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce. (I am getting hungry just reminiscing about it). After you’ve had your fill, you are free to explore the city during the afternoon. Be sure to ask Jean, Patrick, or any of the instructors for interesting Siem Reap recommendations. I stumbled onto some fantastic locales I wouldn’t have otherwise- just grab a bike and venture out.
Come back in the evening and unwind from your adventuring with a guided mediation session and then a Vinyasa yoga flow. Nights are spent at your own leisure- while exploring the wonderfully chaotic and stimulating night life of Siem Reap is a must do (at least once), take a moment to relax in the jungle oasis that Blue Indigo offers at night. Lit with tiny strung lights, the distant sounds of the city in the background- you can’t help but feel the magic of this home. Enjoy a good night’s rest in one of the cottages, in comfortable beds with beautiful lace mosquito netting, a clothing rack, a desk to sit and write down your thoughts and a beautiful pebble-floored shower.
The highlight of my journey consisted of a trek out to an old temple ruin for a morning yoga and meditation session. It felt like a family road trip, piling into the car with retreat goers, instructors- all friends alike- out to a part of the city visitors don’t typically frequent. During your trip, you will likely visit the astonishing sites of Angkor Wat and its neighbors, but be prepared to be further humbled by this secret spot of Jean’s. Breathing, moving, flowing and mediating in synchrony with the earth, at the foot of such stunning ruins and historic beauty, is something I will never forget.
If you get the chance, I would also recommend spending an afternoon swinging in the open aerial yoga loft. By far some of the most fun I had during my stay.
Next time you find yourself in South East Asia or in the fantastic bustle of Siem Reap, come have a stay. Even if you aren’t able to do a retreat, drop in for an inexpensive, wholesome lunch or yoga session.
I arrived feeling tired and sluggish and left more fulfilled, healthy, balanced and at peace than maybe I ever had been. My stay was truly a gift, and I feel incredibly blessed to have a family and place to come home to whenever I’m in Siem Reap.
Some recommendations from the Blue Indigo Cottage family for a retreat:
Keep an open mind, leave electronics at home. Siem Reap is a beautiful bubble, there’s something to be seen for every budget- a little bit of everything. Be open and enjoy.
Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage
Box 55, Krong
Siem Reap 12203, Cambodia
To make a booking or request more information, please visit their website at:
All opinions expressed are my own, my stay and experience was provided by Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage.