Whether you are deeply into spirituality, are wondering what it’s all about, or want to give yourself a well-deserved break from the everyday toils of regular life, there are several terrific places in and around Chiang Mai where you can experience a soothing and restorative spiritual retreat. Great for mind, body, and soul, more and more people are now starting to see the benefits in taking a little time out for themselves.
As Thailand is predominantly a Buddhist country the vast majority of retreats are at temples. You will also find workshops that are dedicated to yoga, meditation, and also a handful of places that are operated according to different belief systems, religions, and ideologies. Whilst many offer instruction and guidance only in the Thai language, there are also now some very popular places where English is spoken.
It is worth keeping in mind that t any retreat you will be expected to wake up very early in the morning, dress conservatively, and act in a respectful manner. Many Buddhist temples require that people on retreats and courses wear white.
Some top places for a spiritual retreat in Chiang Mai include:
Wat Doi Suthep
One of Chiang Mai’s most famous temples, you can spend longer here when you join one of their retreats. Courses of different lengths are available at the International Buddhist Meditation Centre allowing you to choose between 4, 5, 7, 10, 14, and 21 days. They offer sessions for both beginners and advanced practitioners. Participants stay in basic accommodation within the temple grounds. The main focus is on meditation, which helps you to clear your mind and focus.
Wat Suan Dok
This is a perfect choice for people who only have a short amount of time but want to have a taster of what it’s all about. Sure, you won’t come away feeling enlightened, but you will have more of an understanding of the Buddhist culture in Thailand. The overnight sessions include an introduction to yoga and meditation, as well as showing how monks collect alms each morning. You will also experience the traditional chanting.
Wat Ram Poeng
Although the Abbott can speak decent English it is comforting to know that there is typically a translator not too far away. This is perhaps a better option for people who already have some experience in meditation. It can be quite busy, but that lends a certain lively atmosphere to the place. The courses are quite intensive and people usually stay for 21 days.