Where to do a Buddhist meditation retreat in Thailand

A different experience in Thailand. Photo by: David Luekens.A different experience in Thailand. Photo: David Luekens

With that in mind, we ’ ve spotlighted 16 authentic venues where travellers can nang samadhi, to use the Thai phrase for sitting in meditation, during retreats and courses of varying lengths and levels. This is far from an exhaustive list of meditation centres and monasteries in Thailand. The aim is to point out the most democratic and dependable options that we think are most desirable for english-speaking travellers. We ’ ve left out the many venues that do not typically adapt non-Thai speakers. A typical kuti or monastic cottage Photo by: David Luekens.A typical kuti or monastic cottage Photo: David Luekens

Buddhist meditation is the main concenter here. We ’ ve not included the many “ health centres ” that offer secular-styled meditation along with yoga, detox and other activities. ( If you ’ rhenium concerned in that kind of thing, Ko Pha Ngan has one of the more extensive yoga and health scenes found this side of Bali. ) At most venues you can expect a blend of seated and walking meditation to go with listening to Dhamma talks and meeting with instructors. At the monasteries, you may besides be asked to perform daily chores, to chant Pali scriptures and to bow in court of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

Chow time. Photo by: David Luekens.Chow time. Photo: David Luekens

In addition to the above three terms, you may want to familiarise yourself with other terms and techniques related to Theravada Buddhist meditation, such as Vipassana ( Insight ), Samatha ( Concentration ), Metta ( Loving-kindness ), Sati ( Mindfulness ), Anapanasati ( Mindfulness of Breathing ) and Satipatthana ( the Four Foundations of Mindfulness ). By and large, multi-day retreats are not easy. Most venues will expect you to rise by 05:00 in the morning ; to refrain from eating after noon ; to stay in spartan lodgings divided by gender ; to wear non-revealing white clothes ; and to otherwise follow the Eight Precepts. In some cases, adhering to only the Five Moral Precepts may be acceptable. Walk the path. Photo by: David Luekens.Walk the path. Photo: David Luekens

Most of these venues operate on a donation-only basis, although some request particular fees from those staying in provide lodgings. It ’ mho fine to turn up unannounced at some, while others request advance notice.

Northern Thailand

Overview: The north is probably the most popular Thai region for meditation retreats among extraneous travellers, and Chiang Mai the most popular destination. The practice up here tends to focus heavily on Vipassana, often with influences from burmese masters like Mahasi Sayadaw. It can get chili up north — bring a perspirer ! Meditative at Doi Suthep. Photo: David Luekens

Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong, Doi Inthanon
The external meditation center set behind this historic temple was founded in 1992 by Ajahn Tong, a idolize monk known for his domination of Vipassana. besides containing a sacred 15th-century chedi, the wat stands near the access road to Doi Inthanon National Park and offers 10-day and three-week retreats. Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong Voravihara
Off Highway 108, Chom Thong, Chiang Mai
T : ( 053 ) 342 184
information @ watchomtong.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.watchomtong.com/meditationcoures Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
Many travellers know this mountaintop wat as a popular attraction overlooking the north ’ s largest city. Descend some stairs from the gilded chedis to find the attached International Meditation Centre, where foreigners are invited to learn Vipassana based on the teachings of Ajahn Tong. Stays stove from four days to three weeks, making this a flexible option and a safe stake for beginners. Wat Phadhat Doi Suthep Rajawora Vihara
Doi Suthep Mountain, Muang Chiang Mai
T : ( 053 ) 295 012
doisuthepinfo @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.fivethousandyears.org/ Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai
This synagogue runs popular two-day and four-day courses that are good options for foreigners who are curious about meditation but wear ’ thyroxine feel ready to commit to a longer withdraw. Dinner is available, as opposed to breakfast and/or lunch alone, like in most monasteries. The wat besides offers drop-in monk chats held in the library of the associate Buddhist university. Wat Suan Dok
139 Suthep Rd, Muang Chiang Mai
T : ( 053 ) 278 304
thaimonkchat @ yahoo.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.mrlearnning.com/ Wat Pa Tam Wua, Mae Hong Son
Situated about center between Pai and Mae Hong Son in Thailand ’ s northwestern corner, this cliff-rimmed monastery has proven democratic with backpackers thanks to its “ edge of the world ” feel and flexible approach. Beginners and know meditators are welcome, and there is no minimum or maximal length of stay. Volunteering is besides possible. Wat Pa Tam Wua
One kilometer off Highway 1095, Huay Pha, Mae Hong Son
T : ( 081 ) 031 3326
watphathamwua.2561 @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.wattamwua.com/

Northeast Thailand

Overview: Many of the monasteries in Isaan fall under the Thai Forest Tradition, in which monastics aim to live as closely to how the Buddha lived as potential. Revitalised by the late Ajahn Mun, authentication of this austere tradition include surviving in the afforest, using the human body as a meditation subject, and maintaining mindfulness throughout all activities. Locals chat with a foreign monk at Wat Pah Nanachat Photo: David Luekens

Wat Pah Nanachat, Ubon Ratchathani
One of the many branches of nearby Wat Nong Pah Pong, this forest wat is the only one in Thailand that uses English as its primary terminology. It began in 1975 as a home for the alien disciples of the late Ajahn Chah, a monk who made profound principles attainable through simile and fib relation. The days begin at 03:00 and men staying longer than a week are expected to shave their heads and eyebrows — beginners should look elsewhere. Though women can stay here, they should be aware that there is no nun community and a erstwhile nonmigratory monk was excommunicated in 2009 for presiding over an ordination ceremony for women in Australia. Wat Pah Nanachat
One kilometer off Highway 226, Warin Chamrap, Ubon Ratchathani
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.watpahnanachat.org/about While Northeast Thailand has many other forest monasteries that focus on meditation, such as Wat Pah Baan Taad in Udon Thani and Wat Hin Mak Peng outside of Nong Khai, these can be a challenge for non-Thai speakers. If you ’ re a self-sufficient and experienced meditator, you could give them a shot.

Central Thailand

Overview: This region has some bang-up options for travellers looking to give meditation a shoot without committing to an intensive retreat ( although those are available besides ). It ’ mho besides celebrated for its outstanding female meditation teachers, including “ rebel ” bhikkhunis at one wat. At Wat Mahathat. Photo: David Luekens

Little Bangkok Sangha, Bangkok
This group meets for “ freestyle meditation ” sessions on Mondays from 18:30 to 20:00 at the Rojana Dhamma Centre off Sukhumvit Rd. The laminitis, british monk Phra Pandit, has trained in the traditions of Mahasi Sayadaw, Ajahn Chah and Dhammakaya. besides check out the Sangha ’ s Facebook group to find out about English-language talks, meetings, retreats and early Buddhist events happening in the Bangkok area and beyond, including many that are not organised by “ Little Bang ” itself. Rojana Dhamma Centre
Sukhumvit Soi 23, Khlong Toei, Bangkok
T : ( 02 ) 664 2095
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.littlebang.org/ Wat Maha That, Bangkok
A stone ’ south hurl from the Grand Palace in Bangkok ’ s historic zone, the day by day meditation courses offered at this big and historic temple have been attracting curious travellers for decades. Conducted at 07:00, 13:00 and 18:00 and survive two hours, the novice Vipassana courses are led by English-speaking monks. The sprawling wat doubles as a university and foreigners can arrange longer stays for meditation and Buddhist studies. Wat Mahathat Yuwarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara
3 Maha Rat Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
T : ( 02 ) 222 6011

Wat Prayong, Bangkok This temple ’ s one-week retreats are desirable for beginners thanks to the steering of Mae Chee Brigitte, an english-speaking german nun with more than three decades of courtly Buddhist train. The wat sits amid rice paddies near Bangkok state ’ randomness far eastern molding, well removed from the urban bustle. A favored teacher of many extraneous Buddhists based in Thailand, MC Brigette occasionally teaches at other venues, including Wat Tham Krissana near Khao Yai National Park. Wat Prayong Kitiwannaram
Khlong Sipsi Rd, Nong Chok, Bangkok
meditationthailand @ yahoo.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.meditationthailand.com/
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.facebook.com/mindfulnesretreats The House of Dhamma, Bangkok
This little center occupies a yellow shophouse in the Lat Phrao area of northern Bangkok. One- and two-day basic meditation courses are guided by Ajahn Helen, a british teacher and artist who spent 11 years ordained in the Zen Buddhist tradition of Korea before train in Vipassana under several Thai masters. She besides teaches Metta meditation along with Reiki and other courses, including “ The Art of Presence for Kids ”. The House of Dhamma
26/9 Lat Phrao Soi 15, Chatuchak, Bangkok
( 02 ) 511 0439
dhamma.art @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //houseofdhamma.com/index.html Wat Songtham Kanlayanee, Nakhon Pathom
One of advanced Thailand ’ s more challenging monastics is not a bhikkhu but rather a bhikkhuni, a give voice first used when women were ordained during the Buddha ’ s life. Thailand ’ s Theravada institution silent refuses women the right to become equal to their male counterparts, but this did not stop English-speaking Dhammanda Bhikkhuni from ordaining in Sri Lanka in 2003. Since then, she became abbot of this synagogue in Nakhon Pathom to serve as a home for Thailand ’ s growing community of bhikkhunis. Foreign women are welcome to visit for a day, or stay to join the monk routine for up to one workweek. Wat Songtham Kanlayanee (or Songdhammakalyani)
195 Phetkasem Rd ( Highway 4 ), Muang Nakhon Pathom
T : ( 034 ) 258 270
dhammananda9d @ gmail.com ; agnes.chetsumon @ gmail.com

Eastern and Southern Thailand

Overview: This section covers retreat options found near some of Thailand ’ s beaches and coastlines. southern Thailand is celebrated for respective meditation centres based in the custom of the late Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a native of Surat Thani province. At Wat Suan Mokkh, the Garden of Liberation Photo: David Luekens

Wat Marp Jan, Ban Phe
Based in the forest meditation custom of Ajahn Chah, this monastery with a boat-shaped wihaan lies only 10 km from the Ko Samet ferry piers near Ban Phe in mainland Rayong province, 200 kilometer southeast of Bangkok. The abbot, Ajahn Anan, speaks English and there may be extraneous monks around equally well. feel meditators are welcome to stay and join the monk life, and the abbot leads more structured retreats from time to time. Wat Marp Jan
6 km off Sukhumvit Rd ( Highway 3 ), Klaeng, Rayong
T : ( 038 ) 026 252
marpjan @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //watmarpjan.org/en/ Wat Khao Santi, Hua Hin
Who said you have to skip that beach time in rate to do a retrograde ? The five-day founder courses at this make temple in Hua Hin —set near the popular Wat Khao Takiab —take place merely from 08:00 to noon and meditators part ways each day, staying in their own chosen accommodation. Khun Reinhard, an english-speaking german teacher who trained at Wat Suan Mokkh, provides steering alongside the monks. Wat Khao Santi
Between Takiab Soi 8 and Hua Hin Soi 89, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan
kr.emailcontact @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //meditationinhuahin.org/index.html Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya
This forest monastery is a key part of the bequest of Bhuddadasa Bhikkhu, whose progressive philosophy sought common footing between all religions and made him one of the most respect Buddhist thinkers of the twentieth hundred. Though he died in 1993, you can distillery practise at the consort International Dharma Hermitage. Beginning on the first of each calendar month, the 10-day retreats are inactive the go-to pick for many backpackers. Wat Suan Mokkh International Dharma Hermitage
1.5 km off Highway 41, Chaiya, Surat Thani
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.suanmokkh-idh.org/index.html Dipabhavan Meditation Centre, Ko Samui
For those who would prefer to meditate on a beautiful island, this sea-view center is associated with Wat Suan Mokkh and offers similarly styled retreats. Beginning on the 11th and 20th of each month, the one-week retreats unfold amid the afforest in the mountainous inner of Ko Samui —a universe removed from Chaweng Beach ! Dipabhavan Meditation Centre
1 kilometer from Hua Thanon, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
T : ( 096 ) 993 6955
hypertext transfer protocol : //dipabhavan.weebly.com/ Wat Khao Tham, Ko Pha Ngan
Set on another sea-view hillside, this time on Ko Pha Ngan within view of Samui, this belittled monastery and retreat center has ultimately re-established itself after the 2013 passing of long-serving instructors Rosemary and Steve Weissman. Retreats are now led by Phra Mae-ti-ko, who returned to the monkhood at Wat Suan Mokkh in 2015 after three decades as a professor. Fine for beginners, the 10-day retreats start on the 10th of each calendar month. Wat Khao Tham Insight Meditation Centre
Ban Tai, Ko Pha Ngan, Surat Thani
T : ( 087 ) 974 9465
took.sookkasem @ gmail.com
hypertext transfer protocol : //www.kowthamcenter.org/

Multiple regions

Overview: We ’ ve added this segment specifically for the SN Goenka meditations centres found in all regions of Thailand. SN Goenka Vipassana centres
Thailand hosts nine of the 203 meditation centres operating on four continents in the custom of the late SN Goenka, an Indian-Burmese teacher who was implemental in popularising Vipassana during the twentieth hundred. The 10-day courses are held at least doubly per month at the centres found in the provinces of Bangkok, Prachinburi and Kanchanaburi in the central region ; Chanthaburi in the east ; Udon Thani and Khon Kaen in the northeasterly ; Lamphun and Phitsanulok up north ; and Nakhon Si Thammarat down south. While these retreats are challenging, they ’ ra besides considered desirable for beginners due to the steady handiness of teachers for person attention. All of the centres provide English-language direction. hera ’ s a good account of one novice ’ randomness experience at the Dhamma Dhani concentrate in Bangkok. If given the choice, we ’ five hundred choose for the Dhamma Kancana centre near Sangkhlaburi, as the air tends to be cooler there and the set is more scenic than most. SN Goenka Vipassana centres in Thailand: Dhamma Dhani, Khlong Sam Wa, Bangkok : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.dhani.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Kamala, Muang Prachanburi : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.kamala.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Kancana, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.kancana.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Canda Pabha, Pong Nam Ron, Chanthaburi : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.candapabha.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Puneti, Muang Udon Thani : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.puneti.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Suvana, Nong Ruea, Khon Kaen : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.suvanna.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Simanta, Pa Sang, Lamphun : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.simanta.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Abha, Wang Thong, Phitsanulok : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.abha.dhamma.org/
Dhamma Porano, Lan Saka, Nakhon Si Thammarat : hypertext transfer protocol : //www.porano.dhamma.org/

Reviewed by
David Luekens
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends a lot of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea .

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