I came to Thailand second time with a strong will to take a part in Vipassana meditation retreat. Reading, searching for the right place I came across many paid opportunities and also free options but courses were organized in a certain dates. I couldn’t find any which would match with my stay in this country. Finally, I got recommendation from one Couch Surfing host in Bangkok about monastery in the forest Wat Pa Tam Wua. I was so happy when I learnt that I can go to this one at any time I want, no need to make reservation or inform in advance. That was a perfect solution for me as well as for many other travelers.
A bit about this magic place
Monastery is well hidden in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful nature. Place is well-designed for a peaceful stay: green garden around, few small falls giving the relaxing sound, mountains, caves and lots of space. Participants are required to not make noises or even talk loud. Food we ate was only vegan which is also part of the experience: meditation cleans our mind while food purifies our body. In the afternoon we could only drink (available was water, tea or coffee).
Who can come for Vipassana
Place is well-prepered for beginners in meditation. There is no obligation to keep silence as happens on other Vipassana courses. Besides, there are 3 types of meditation not just sitting one. For beginners, it is really hard to maintain sitting position for few hours every day so hard Vipassana course can be hell and pain in the ass. Here we had a bit of movements throughout a day so it was easier.
Generally speaking I can advise this place for everyone: beginners, experienced in meditation, every age or religion. You can stay there from 3 to 10 days. Longer stays are also possible but monk needs to agree for that and see if you are really motivated. However, if you don’t like the place you can leave any time you wish.
Most of the visitors are foreigners, though Thai people are present as well. Leading meditation monk speaks in both languages.
A bit about the conditions
There are few big halls for sleeping, of course separate for boys and girls. Besides, there are individual wooden houses where you can be totally private. Conditions we lived in were totally comfortable. Of course, it is not a hotel so no fluffy mattresses or bath tubes with bubbles. Monastery is modest but having a hot shower is possible, as well as sleeping good. I have nothing to complain about. I heard in some hard core courses there is just a wooden lag instead of pillow and freezing cold water in the shower. No, no, no, don’t get scared. Forest monastery is really comfortable! There is even a coffee shop where you can get snacks if you are hungry in the evening and internet if you miss your family or have some job to do. No worries also about white clothes. If you don’t have some, backpacking around Thailand, you can just take any from the storage provided. They are second hand but clean.
What about the fee?
Monastery runs on donations, mostly Thai people, not necessarily coming here for meditation. It is part of Buddhist tradition to donate, because it provides good luck and positive karma. Everything here is free (except in the coffee shop). You don’t have to pay for meditation course, food or accommodation. However, there is a donation box and leaving some money is up to you.
Are you already packing your luggage to get there?
All the other information and my impression day by day you will find in the video. Hope to inspire you to try adventure with meditation.