I think there must be many people that are looking for a quiet place to meditate in Thailand – but they have no interest in attending a 10 day silent retreat, or any other guided retreat. These are most likely to be advanced meditators from various schools of meditation who are at a loss where to go to find a good place to meditate on their own.
I have an answer for you…
I too have been wondering about a place like this. I have considered numerous times, creating a place like this – but, time, money, and other obligations have proven bigger than my idea and if I want to meditate I just sit on the floor in a bedroom at my home, or at a local temple for a short while – but it is usually quite noisy.
For years I’ve wanted to find someplace to go for a couple of days to meditate on my own schedule.
Finally I found it. I just happened to read further on a website I’ve visited often, and there it was…
At Wat Suan Mokkhabalarama in Chaiya, Thailand (southern Thailand just north of Surat Thani province) it is possible to stay at the Thai side of Suan Mokkh (the original “main” Suan Mokkh temple), for a few days and practice meditation on your own schedule.
It’s funny, but the option to do so must have been there for years, and I just never saw it mentioned anywhere. So, I’m writing this so you can see it too!
I’ll be planning a stay there for a couple of days for some sitting and walking meditation. If anyone would like to go at the same time and meet up there – great, just let me know.
I will probably leave the car here for my family, and just take the motorbike.
If you have any questions about anything before you go – just write me at: [email protected] and I’ll respond quickly.
Here’s a brief rundown of what they offer at Suan Mokkh:
Dormitory – there are separate mens and women’s dorms. These are basic, and I think they are small rooms for women and open dorm for men, with a mosquito net, mat to lay on. I have not been inside the dorms yet – but will post photos and better description after I return.
Temperatures during April – December are hot and I am not sure if they offer a fan or not. January through March is fairly nice at night – best temperature for the year. I don’t think they have blankets, but meditation cushions and maybe towels would be available.
Restroom – Sinks – Bathing – There are communal sinks to wash and brush teeth, and showering is done by splashing water from a very large clay jar. Restrooms are all located outside the dorms and are very basic. They are sit down toilets – western style, not the squat overs you see some places in Thailand.
Meditation Facilities – There are a number of buildings that can be used for meditation at Suan Mokkh. Some are meditation halls in the middle of the forest, with few sounds. Others are closer to the highway and trucks can be faintly heard passing.
There are also kilometers of dirt trails (almost roads) where walking meditation can be done. It is quite peaceful at Suan Mokkh and you probably won’t have to deal with people talking much at all. The sounds of nature fill the air in the forest – cicadas, frogs, birds, wind.
Library – There is a basement library filled with rare meditation books in English that you might enjoy. I found some great books there on my last visit. If you are staying in the dorms you can check out the books, there is a nun (magee in Thai) that will help you.
Food – Outside the front gate are a couple of Thai food ‘restaurants’ that offer various southern curries over rice. Most dishes are spicy, but there are a couple that are not. There are a number of small convenience type shops where cold drinks and other snacks can be bought as well. If you want different food, a short trip up to Chaiya city can give you many more options. If I happen to be there at the same time you are staying, I will probably be making food runs on the motorbike occasionally.
Meditation Instruction – There is no meditation instruction offered at this location – everyone speaks Thai.