I just thought I’d write up a quick list of a few places that are pretty ideal to meditate at in Thailand. Many travelers are looking for a place to sit and have relative peace and quiet, and yet, that is rather hard to find in Thailand. Thailand is not what I’d consider a quiet place in general.
Some Good Places to Meditate in Thailand:
1. Wat Suan Mokkh. This is located in Chaiya province north of Suratthani, which is north of Phuket and Krabi. Chaiya is on the Thailand Gulf coast just south of Chumphon. This is a Buddhist temple started by Buddhadasa Bhikku, who has since passed. There are monthly ten-day meditation retreats (vipassana, anapanasati style). These are silent retreats, and not for everyone. However, there is also the do-it-yourself option where you can show up at the main temple (Thai side, West side of the highway). Sign in and tell the monks you’d like to stay for a couple days or weeks, and they’ll set you up. You pay for your own food, but you can eat breakfast for free after the offerings. There are only 1-2 foreign monks there that speak English, and you probably shouldn’t be bothering them all the time. So, this option is for those that know how to meditate and want to find a place that allows them to stay and do it as long as you’d care to. There are restrooms with scoops for water (showers) and dorm rooms which you’ll share with other foreigners that are staying there. Do be aware that it is an open environment and anything of value that you bring, can be stolen. The foreign residents are not to be trusted – many are down on their luck, or looking for a major life change after years on drugs or whatever else. Suan Mokkh website is here.
2. Wat Pah Nanachat. This is located in Warin Chamrap, Ubon province in northeastern Thailand. It is an Ajahn Chah temple that houses many foreign monks. There are usually a couple of dozen monks as residents, along with some Thais. This option is not for everyone. If you stay, you’re expected to conform to their rules and you eat only until mid-day, then no more meals. You walk on pindabot rounds in the villages to accept food in the early morning hours. You’ll have a very small room to stay in with mosquito net and light. Wat Pah website is here.
3. Khao Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort. This is in Krabi province, and sits at the base of the Khao Phanom mountain chain in Krabi. This is a bungalow style resort with reasonable costs (600-1,000 THB per night) of $18-30 per night depending whether in high or low tourist season. There are paths to do walking meditation in the forest and it’s an absolutely beautiful rainforest location. Though not perfectly quiet, if you request quiet from Son, the manager, he will do everything he can. Keep in mind, some maintenance (weeding) of the grounds takes place almost daily, it’s a very large area that needs maintained and weed-whackers occasionally can be heard during the day. The resort website is here.
4. Top of Wat Tum Sua Buddhist Temple in Krabi, Thailand. This one is a good place for meditators that aren’t so concerned with absolute quiet. There are steps up the side of a mountain to the 900 foot high peak where there is a Buddhist Chedi, Buddha, and other statues. There are a couple quiet areas where you can be away from the majority of tourists. Email me for exact location, I don’t want to publicize it here. Wat Tum Sua website is here.
5. Khao Sok National Park. This is located between Suratthani, Krabi, and Phuket in a large wilderness area. It is out of the way, and that means it is very quiet. In fact, most national parks in Thailand are pretty quiet. There is little grounds maintenance going on and few trucks or parties. Parks are a good place to meditate.
Hope that helps. In general, you can meditate at the national parks for a quieter experience. Or, you can feel free to sit somewhere at a Buddhist temple. Do take the time to read up on proper attire and behavior while on temple grounds. Know that pointing your feet toward a Buddha statue is a sign of disrespect.
Have fun in Thailand!