A little reminder to ourselves I found at Wat Umong - Photo Credit: Yone L
A little reminder to ourselves I found at Wat Umong – Photo Credit: Yone L

One of the things that was on the top of my bucket list was to go on a meditation retreat. When I had first backpacked through Thailand I have some vague memories of trying to look up a proper meditation centre but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time during my trip to partake. For once it wasn’t a problem related to budget! As there are quite a few places that are donation based or simply free. The only catch is being able to sign up for them in time.

This time around though I made a big point of giving that mental detox to myself. It plays well into that realm of doing something selfish for yourself – in a good way. I would to even take the time again to go on another retreat sometime soon but I think that might be difficult but well I guess we all need to try to make it work!

I even think of it as a great form of giving yourself a vacation from your daily life or even as my friends joke from the holiday I was already in.

Interested in going for a Meditation Retreat? There’s quite a few around beautiful Chiang Mai that are worth just visiting in case you want to see some temples off the beaten path (with the exception of Doi Suthep!)

The Dhamma.org website is probably the best resource to find a Vipassana Meditation centres all over the world and they are donation based. The only slight obstacle I found is that you need to sign up way in advance and have your dates set because the spots fill up fast. Now if you are anything like me you don’t really have much of a concrete idea where you will be in the next week let alone where your mind will be at in a month’s time it makes it a little complicated to arrange all the travel arrangements. Full disclosure when I found out about Dhamma.org on June 2014 all the retreats were booked solid for 6 months..

Here’s a bit of a roundup of places I’ve found for the ones in Chiang Mai to help you choose;

  • Wat Doi Suthep – Fivethousandyears.org

    This is actually the one that I went to and if you want a little insight into my meditation retreat experience you can read Part 1 which gives a bit of the lay of the land while Part 2 gives tells of my process.
    Duration: 4 days, 5 days, 7 days, 10 days, 14 days and 21 days.

    Good to know: You need to wear white clothing for the duration of the retreat.  Also for cooler months I’d recommend to bring a white scarf or a white jacket so you don’t feel too chilly at 5am up in the mountains. I also didn’t really need to buy a alarm clock ,they were fine with me using my cellphone and I committed to myself to leave it at Airplane Mode for the duration of the retreat. As for booking you can always email them to check on availability but calling them was more efficient because they might have last minute cancellations (which was my case!)

    If you are a newbie I would recommend doing no more then 10 days for your first time. Actually that’s what the temples also recommend I guess it’s just so we don’t over shock ourselves?

  • Wat Suan Dok – monkchat.net

    Duration: 2 days (starts every Tuesday and ends Wednesday)
    If you are pressed for time and unsure if you could do the retreat for at least 4 days this option is perfect. Wat Suan Dok offers weekly 2 day retreats for everyone. No need to book, just head to the Monk Chat Office at Wat Suan Dok any Tuesday (though check the website sometimes if there isn’t any holiday or last minute cancellations).

    Good to know: You need to wear white clothing for the duration of the retreat.

  • Wat Umong – dhammathai.org

    I visited this temple after my own retreat and had I known of this place before I would have probably come here instead. Maybe in the future! This temple is simply gorgeous to walk through as well. Spread throughout the temple are Dhamma quotes that really make you pause and reflect (as pictured above). But also this temple has lovely tunnels that you can go into and stop for a few minutes and meditate if you wish.

    Duration: 2 to 7 days

    Good to know: You need to wear white clothing for the duration of the retreat.

  • Wat Roempeng – watroempeng.net

    Another great temple to visit just outside of the city, though if you aren’t a meditation beginner this temple would suit those looking for a longer retreat or have at least completed a 10 day retreat. I one other person who did the 26 days and thought it was really good as a meditation immersion. He had also mentioned it would be possible to do longer then 1 month but when I asked at the temple it seems that the only option is either 10 day or 26 days.

    Duration: 10 days and 26 days

    Good to know: You need to wear white clothing for the duration of the retreat and bring customary offering for the opening ceremony.


Hope this post helps you with deciding or finding out where to do a meditation retreat while in Chiang Mai! If you do manage to go I’d love to hear any feedback about your experience 🙂

2 thoughts on “Meditation Retreats in Chiang Mai”

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