Frequent Asked Questions
Is the meditation centre open to women and men?
How much does it cost?
The meditation centre operates on a donation basis. Guests are invited to make a donation if they wish of an amount of their choosing. There is no minimum or maximum amount and no obligation or pressure on guests to donate.
By donating, you will be joining your fellow guests and those staying in your kuti before you in enabling others to enjoy the opportunities and benefits offered by the centre.
Any amount is gratefully received and applied towards running the meditation centre.
Is it possible to ordain as a Buddhist monk?
The meditation centre is aimed at those who wish to practice meditation as lay guests. As we are part of Wat Sriboonruang, a working Theravada Buddhist temple, guests who stay for long periods of time and demonstrate a sincerity and commitment to the practice may be invited to take ordination. Please contact us in advance if this is something you are interested in.|
How long can I stay?
If you are committed to your practice, abide by the meditation centre guidelines and are benefiting from your time here, you can stay for as little or as long as you wish subject to your visa conditions.
What are the health requirements?
We ask that all of our guests are physically and mentally able to undertake a retreat in the tropical climate of a remote part of Thailand.
This can involve sitting for long periods of time (chairs are available if it is not conducive for you to sit on the floor), walking for 15 minutes at a time potentially three or four times a day (between the meditation centre and the main monastery) and some minimal physical activity such as sweeping, washing up and cleaning. Those in wheelchairs will be able to move around the area assisted, but please note that the meditation centre is not specifically designed to be wheelchair accessible.
While Fang does have medical facilities to cover a fairly broad spectrum of illnesses or injuries, these do not equate to those of an advanced hospital in a developed nation nor is it equipped with specialist facilities. There is a pharmacy in Fang but guests should ensure that they have sufficient quantities of any prescription medication they require before arriving at the monastery. Please notify us in advance of any special health requirements you may have so that we can discuss these and make arrangements as required.
Guests should also note that meditation can lead to experiences which may trigger or exacerbate psychological conditions. Please consult with your health expert before attending.
What are the rules of the meditation centre?
We ask that guests voluntarily observe the eight precepts (attha-sīlā), ancient undertakings of morality and conduct which form the foundation for conducive meditation practice by protecting the body and mind from acts and thoughts which may hinder meditation and progress.
The eight precepts are:
- To abstain from harming or killing any living beings.
- To abstain from taking what is not rightfully given.
- To abstain from sexual conduct.
- To abstain from lying and false or harsh speech.
- To abstain from the consumption of intoxicants and drugs.
- To refrain from eating after noon.
- To refrain from dancing, singing, listening to music, seeking out entertainment, using perfumes and beautifying the body with cosmetics.
- To refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.
Guests may eat after noon if there is a medical requirement, but we ask that you do so in your kuti.
Smoking is forbidden at all times in or around the temple grounds or within the meditation retreat. If you are currently a smoker wishing to take part on our program please ensure that you have given before your arrival – attempting to do so during your stay is not advised.
There is absolutely no alcohol consumption permitted during the entirety of your stay. While meditation can assist those dealing with addiction it the meditation center is not equipped for dedicated detoxification or rehabilitation.
Where is the temple and how do I get there?
Please contact us for any travel directions. The GoogleMap of Wat Sriboonruang is available clicking here…
Will I need a visa?
Yes and it will need to be valid for the duration of your stay. Please visit the Thai consulate website for your home country for more information.
What are the living arrangements?
During the time at the meditation centre you will stay in one of ten single, fan room kutis, each with a Western-style flushing toilet and shower.
Please note that each kuti is for single occupancy only; couples will be required to sleep separately for the duration of their stay and refrain from all forms of physical contact including holding hands etc.
There are amenities such as a fridge, hot water boiler for teas and coffee, microwave, toaster for shared use at both locations and we also provide a library which contains many good books on Buddhism and meditation for you to study during your free time.
What does a typical day look like?
While there are fixed timings at the start and end of each day for meditation and chanting (please see our ‘Meditation Retreat’ page), there is ample space in-between to practice, relax and unwind. We have set this up so that guests can practice for up to 4 to 6 hours each day and still have plenty of time to enjoy their stay here.
In particular, we recommend that our guests enjoy the numerous benefits of visiting our friends at the nearby Thai Massage located a two minute walk from the temple.
Guests are welcome to spend their free time reading from the library, relaxing, helping around the temple or taking part in informal chats with the monks and novices.
Can I bring my laptop/mobile devices?
WiFi is available at the main temple and we encourage guests to use this only for logistical or travel purposes.
We ask guests to ensure that devices are turned off at all times between the start of the morning chanting and the end of the evening chanting.
There is no Wi-FI available at our retreat centre.
What about food?
Breakfast is taken with the monks and novices each morning and there are several restaurants a short walk from the temple where you can eat delicious local food for lunch.
There is also a supermarket in town and several convenience stores, markets and pharmacies nearby where you can stock up on breakfast cereals, fruit, juice and snacks.
Most people find they can eat comfortably on 200 Baht per day and somewhat less when on the eight precepts.
Please note that we will not provide “special” diets and that, while we can provide vegetarian food if required, there is no requirement for the monks or guests to eat a vegetarian diet. We aim to develop an attitude of realizing that we are dependent on the gifts of others and as such show gratitude for whatever food we receive.
What other costs should I budget for?
There will be some additional costs involved in your stay which include buying white clothes for your ceremonies and time on 8 precepts, helping out with shared provisions (tea, coffee, drinking water etc.) and any personal food, drinks or snacks that you decided to purchase.
You should also budget for general living expenses and money for any day trips you decide to take during your stay.
I have never meditated before. Will this be a problem?
No. You will receive basic meditation instruction and Dhamma (the teachings of the Buddha) lessons from our English speaking team who will be happy to help answer any questions you may have and to assist you in your practice.
Again, this is not a traditional intensive retreat as we aim to provide a much more “beginner friendly” experience and provide our guests with a basic base level knowledge of Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness which they can then integrate into their daily lives.
What type of meditation will I learn?
Phra Clyde is a trained and experienced vipassana meditation instructor, and this form of meditation is the focus of the teaching, activities and practice at the meditation centre.
Can I practice Yoga, Tai Chi, etc during my stay?
Yes. We have no problem with guests practising these activities however you will be asked to do this within the privacy of your own room.
Do I require insurance for my stay?
Participants on our program are required to have suitable health insurance for their time at the temple and as such we do not provide our guests with insurance of any kind. Guests are solely responsible for evaluating and determining the type, extent and levels of any insurance coverage they need or desire for their planned travel period.
What will the weather be like?
Northern Thailand has three distinct seasons: the cool season, hot season and rainy season. Chiang Mai is known as the ‘cool capital’, and in comparison to the oppressive heat of Bangkok, the climate is far more agreeable. If you feel that you would struggle to sleep and practice in hot, humid conditions, you may wish to consider visiting between December – February.
What clothes should I pack? What should I bring?
When taking part in chanting and meditation at the center, when around the temple grounds or accompanying monks on alms rounds, please wear white clothes, which can be purchased from local markets here relatively cheaply, to identify you as an 8 precept meditator.
Outside of the meditation center, white clothing is not required, but out of respect for the temple, the vows and practice of the monks, lay supporters and fellow guests, please dress conservatively at all times even when leaving the temple. This means wearing loose-fitting clothing that hangs below the knees, covers the shoulders and, for women, is not low cut or revealing.
We recommend that guests considering bringing the following items with them:
- Sun screen
- A good flash light – power outages are common during the rainy season and a head torch is a great idea for your time at the retreat.
- An alarm clock for those early morning alms rounds!
- Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for meditation.
- Personal water bottle.
- Mosquito/ insect repellent (lots of!).
- A good stock of personal medication.
- A small first aid kit.
- A light jacket or fleece. Long-haul transportation such as night buses and trains often crank up the air conditioning.
- A thin rain jacket will also come in handy for unexpected showers that can pop up even during the dry season.
- Make photocopies of your passport, travel insurance documents, receipt for traveller’s checks, and any other important documents and keep them in a separate place outside of your money belt.
- Power adapter – most of the power outlets in Thailand accept both the US style flat pronged plugs as well as the rounded European style power plugs. To ensure that you can connect everywhere, consider bringing a universal power adapter and check the voltage ratings (Thailand uses a 220-volt system) on your devices/chargers.
- Earplugs – a set of earplugs might just make sure that you get a good night’s sleep!
- Pack some warm clothes (jacket, fleece, hat, socks etc.) for the “winter” season – it gets very cold overnight and in the early mornings.
Most of the above items can be purchased from shops around Fang so if you do plan to travel light please don’t worry about packing everything that we have recommended.
Local laundry services are available but may be unable to deal with delicate or special fabrics. Please note that there are no local dry-cleaning facilities.
Please note that the meditation center does not have meditation cushions as commonly used in the West (such as zafus or round and raised cushions). Please feel free to bring your own as preferred.
Will mosquitoes be a problem?
In Thailand, insects are simply a fact of life. As we ask that you follow the Eight Precepts while here, this involves refraining from killing ants, mosquitoes or other insects. Instead, repellents, mosquito coils and relocation of insects is encouraged.
The retreat kutis are fitted with mosquito screens on the windows. When packing for your trip, remember that dark clothes tend to attract mosquitoes. We strongly recommend that all future guests visit their own GP/health centers well in advance of their trip to seek health advice for travelling to the North of Thailand.