Wat Suan Mokkh
Wat Suan Mokkh
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57 reviews
Very good

Chiang Mai, Thailand922 contributions
May 2022
The wooded grounds are beautiful and the monks friendly and happy to talk in this quiet, peaceful monastery/meditation centre. We were dive bombed with branches thrown from a great height by a large monkey and admired a small friendly tortoise. There is a pond with magnificent Victoria water lilies and lots of carved stone panels showing the life of the Buddha.
Written May 28, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aachen, Germany210 contributions
Feb 2020 • Solo
Awesome place of quiteness and beauty. I used it for my retreat and its a place you will not find a second one. The Wat is open for everybody who meditate and pray, starting 04:30 am with chanting open air. A very special moment.
Written February 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Laos256 contributions
Oct 2016 • Solo
This was my first retreat at Suan Mokkh International Dharma Heritage (about 2 km from the main Wat Suan Mokkh), an amazingly beautiful, large meditation center in a rural nature setting, with huge banyan trees hovering above the walkways, amidst a scenic mix of ponds, fields, hot springs, gardens and jungle surrounding the numerous buildings (which include 5 meditation halls). People are encouraged to go barefoot the whole time, and I did (stinging ants are a problem!). It was early October, and we still had a few heavy downpours, generally around lunchtime.

I found the schedule easier by comparison to the several Goenka Vipassana retreats that I have done before (in Nepal and Thailand), which are much more meditation-intensive, with up to 2-hr sittings at a time and almost no other activities, except for breaks and a one-hour evening taped lecture - very demanding and difficult. This Buddhadasa retreat (the name of the revered Thai monk who is now dead) is more of a 'beginner's retreat', with the longest meditation period not exceeding 40 minutes (although I still found that I improved my technique and got new insights). The program uses a similar Theravada Buddhist approach - wakeup at 4 am, no talking for 10 days, anapanasati meditation, but because there is much less time in actual sitting meditation, the day is interspersed with many other activities like yoga/tai chi, short and long (usually taped) talks, walking meditation, an optional chanting session, hot springs during break periods, short work sessions, etc. (perhaps a bit of a European spa flavor). The food – breakfast at 8 and lunch at 12.30 - was super-delicious vegetarian, veggies and lots of tofu dishes, brown rice, fruit, dates, and Thai desserts. No dinner, but none was needed, instead at the 6 pm 'tea time' chocolate soy milk was also served.

While perhaps physically demanding for some beginners, the retreat also clearly had a profound psychological effect on many participants, as was expressed at the end when we all were asked to give a 2-3 minute comment on our experience, and there were a number of emotional moments. I got to talk with a number of participants at the end and found them to be really really nice people.

Since this session (beginning on the first day of every month) is oriented to westerners and is in English, few Thai people attend (unlike the Goenka retreats which also get local people). There were about 70 participants, men and women about equally, only a few of whom were older and middle-aged (I was by far the oldest). Most were young, well-off, fit, educated, beautiful and handsome, hippie-new age stylish with fashionable rangi-changi yoga clothes, from many countries, most doing a long travel abroad, although some came specifically for the retreat. However, unlike the Goenka retreats, the dropout rate was surprisingly quite high, with only about 40 people remaining at the end. I guessed that dropouts left partly because the place is mostly run by monks and nuns (the Goenka retreats are conducted by lay people), and the lectures and vibes are very Thai-ritual-religious-buddhist, more oriented to novice monk renunciates and rather off-putting to some of the young hippie-type dreadlock full-moon-party substance-ingesting travelers. Perhaps the sleeping accommodations also discouraged some – a straw mat on a concrete slab, a wooden pillow, and a very thin blanket. For the less hardy, I recommend bringing a camping mattress and pillow, as I did.

For me, it is always nice to 'refresh' and calm down. Interesting as to how it invariably seems to take the first 3 days to get the nervous system and hormones to begin to get quiet, and part of it is detox – in my case only caffeine. Wonderful experience!
Written October 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Pipo P
1 contribution
Jul 2022
On the positive side:
The nature is beautiful, the hot springs really enjoyable, food is great and the 10-day set up really nice. Most people do make progress and will be happy to have endured it afterwards. Dormitories and so on are very simple but at least you have your own room/cell. This time there were around 40 participants so a fairly small group. The small shop for mosquito repellent etc is very helpful.

Besides that:
It is focused on beginner level and not for advanced meditators with a lot of walking meditation to make it easier for everyone. Still, don’t expect too much detailed insights on the specific steps but more generic guidance with a lot of buddhism-related introductions
Its quite noisy. Morning talk, dhamma talk, food reflection, chanting, yoga / relaxation instructions are a lot for a silent retreat and disturb the calming mind. Due to the constant change between sitting and walking meditation there is also a lot of movement. Bring earplugs
Instead of yoga mats there are straw mats (more dangerous than helpful), instead of sleeping mats there are „wooden mats“ and „wooden pillows“ (strange thinking that softer mats for participants are luxurious while for coordinators/staff they are ok) and the meditation cushions have seen much better days. Bring your own stuff
Yoga instructions are focused on the course coordinator and his needs - you more or less follow that. Yoga was 105 minutes a day.
Day 10 was really a lost day due to how the program was set up with day 9 as the „marathon“ meditation day

Really not working:
The surprising „working meditation“ on day 10 is a terrible idea! We were expected to shovel sand for a new Wat Suan Mokh building that is even outside of the retreat areal. They probably just wanted to save some money and used us to do the work. This was announced on the afternoon itself and communicated as a meditation exercise and not as a humble request. So much for the noble spirit

May Wat Suan Mokh learn from its mistakes
Written August 14, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zvisha S
1 contribution
Mar 2020 • Solo
I was there when Tan Dammavidu (the English monk) was giving teachings, and it was amassing and life changing.
I came back and the place was not the same. I left after 2 days. Tai chi and guided meditations instead of deep philosophy. If you are into that thing, you will enjoy it, but I hated every moment. The level of teachings I got you can find in your neighborhood Yoga place - definitely not something to go to Thailand for :(

I am happy that I was there in the times before they 'renovated' it's program. Anicha :(
Written February 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Trento, Italy44 contributions
Jun 2020
I had attended the retreat in June 2019, looking for a safe place to practice deep meditation, nothing else.

Food, bed, hot springs and landscape are beautiful.

I did not read the reviews before my stay as I did not want to have expectations, but maybe I should have.

It is not silent, at all. As many other participants wrote, you hardly find a moment to meditate without some background noise.

Felt more like a place of constrainment, more than meditation.
Written May 20, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Giorgio F
1 contribution
Mar 2016 • Couples
i went and on the second days i noticed that all roofs are made with asbestos sheets and they collect rain water which is then filtered and used in cooking and as drinking water. Some of these roofs look pretty old. Water running off these asbestos roofs, along with the sun, abrade over time the panels, carrying minuscule pits of asbestos and depositing them in the drinking water. Not healthy. Maybe i got paranoid, but on the day 5 i escaped. I am sorry cause the course was interesting. But I believe the place maybe polluted. While i was there some workers were putting up a new roof and cutting and making holes in the asbestos sheets with no masks and there are tons of asbestos roofs there. I just imagined how much toxic dust has fallen around the park while they were installing the roofs. I know in thailand asbestos roofs go for the majority, but i do not want to drink water from these. I am sorry also cause i did not say anything to the monastery management, i thought i would inform them later (cause i am sure they ignore the possible danger and the pollution that these roofs will create once they will be replaced cause too old), but there is no email.
Written April 30, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you so much for your feedback. Since the health of both our participants and staffs here are our first priority, we will look into this matter regarding our drinking water as you have suggested. We will report back with result we have found or any improvement we made as soon as possible. And if we have cause you any concern during your stay with us here, we sincerely apologize. Thank you so much for your honest feedback, Suanmokkh IDH
Written October 1, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Cecile D
1 contribution
Jan 2019 • Solo
I wanted to share with you my last meditation in January 2019 .
I came 6 times in this beautiful place , the first time was in 2011 january but I did come back since 2014.
When I did my first interview this year with the Thaï lady , she told me that there was a new restructuration .
And what a "disappointment" I lived during all this retreat ..
It’s not a silent meditatation retreat anymore, so many talks and individual comments broke this beautiful atmosphere…
It starts very early in the morning with a very long talk and a guiding meditation…. instead of letting the silent settle down slowly…especially at this time.
We finally meditate in silence for 15 minutes only …..
then…it continues before each meals with a very loud speech over a microphone to teach us the way Bouddha used to take his meal (it’s interesting but really not at this moment ..and not in this context) .
About the Dhamma talks, it used to be very active with Tan Dhammavidu but this time it’s was difficult to be concentrated all the time with the tapes of Bouddadassa Bikkhu talks .
The chanting used to be optional, it was this time obligatory. It will have been ok if we only have to chant but it was more about comments than chanting…
The best day was the 9th day….. peaceful , silence , presence , no talks, no comments, just the present moment …..

During all the year, it is difficult to find silence in our life, the media are more and more important, and it was such a wonderful opportunity to know that such a place like Suan Mokh existed and that we could escape from our noisy world to pay more attention about our mind and the way it works.
I have had a wonderful experiences over this place and thanks to the precious silence and it helps me a lot in my behavior.

I will have a proposition to make, why don’t you organize two halls of meditation, one is always free near the pond for the people who like to meditate without talks and noise and the big one for the one who need more explanation …?????

I feel sad because I am not sure I would like to come again in your new conditions.Please let me know how you feel,
I know that I am not the only person who feel the same way, I did not dare to tell you this when I finish my meditation that is why I wrote to you today but I read the comment in Trip Advisor and I know that people would like to find Suan Mock as it used to be.
Silence is sacred, please don’t waste it …..
Written February 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Huw C
Centurion, South Africa157 contributions
Nov 2016 • Solo
My first retreat to further explore Buddhism and meditation which provided these to me in a structured easy-to-understand way without feeling overwhelmed by this totally new experience. Learning the essential meditation techniques form the crux of the retreat in several different ways - sitting meditation, walking meditation, standing meditation, chanting - in a format honed over 30 years with around 1000 participants each year. The meditation sessions of about 45-60 minutes each are interspersed with talks by monks and lay people, yoga/tai chi exercises, hot spring baths and basic cleaning chores in the most beautiful surroundings with wide spaces of parkland, trees, birds and ponds. The evening chanting sessions provided a welcome spot of light relief and good humour with the monk Tan Medhi. An outstanding memory is the evening walking meditation bare footed on cool grass around the ponds under magnificent night skies full of stars. And the silent hot springs in darkness with starlight and fireflies, magical.

We had about 80 people in November, mostly <30 but plenty of older folk like me, from all walks of life. The drop out rate was about 10 folk. For us oldies for whom sitting on the floor for meditation is physically painful it is permitted to sit on wooden boxes or chairs. I slept wonderfully on the straw mat (I took a yoga mat with me as well) and the wooden pillow is fantastic, all neck/shoulder aches, pains and stresses disappeared and I shall buy a wooden pillow now! Two vegetarian meals a day worried me beforehand but I never felt hungry once; good food, big helpings. Take lots of mosquitoe repellant, basic toiletries including laundry powder can be bought on site. A stunning experience.
Written December 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

General Luna, Philippines22 contributions
Nov 2015 • Solo
This retreat is a 10 days silent buddhist retreat. You live in very simple conditions, eat vegan food and following a strict daily routine. They combine sitting and walking meditation and the retreat is very focused on buddhism. For my interest it felt a bit too religious sometimes so I focused more on my own personal development. There is no way you can prepare yourself for this retreat, a least not mentally. Just know that a lot of emotions and thought will pop up and there is no were to escape from them, you just have to sit quietly and deal with it ;) But once you figure out how, it is life-changing. The monks, staff and volunteers are making an amazing job preparing, organising and give personal support to the participants. I highly recommend people to do this retreat, especially if you, like I were, is tired of your own behaviour in anyway. During this week, you will start questioning everything you believe in or use to feel/do. Scary but amazing.
Written November 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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