Ban Sawang Jai

by Jörg Dittmar, updated by Claus and Mae Chee Brigitte in March 2007

Ban Sawang Jai (Khao Yai Meditationszentrum)


Ban Sawang Jai
Klongdea, Moosri, Pak Chong, Nakorn Ratchasima 30130, Thailand
Tel: +66-44-312183 | E-mail:

Head Monastery

Wat Sanghathan
Bangphai, Muang, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand
Tel: +66-2-44 71 766 or +66-2-44 70 799 | Fax: +66-02-4472784
Internet: | E-mail:

Mae Chee Brigitte does not stay there any more. It is possible there would be no one speaking English. Khao Yai center is not being used very often, before arriving there one should ask for information in Wat Sanghathan.


Ban Sawang Jai (house of the enlightended heart), a branch of Wat Sanghathan, is located about 250 km northeast of Bangkok. A beautiful, quiet and spacious place, about 3 km from the main gate of Khao Yai National Park. The area is very green, with grass, fields, bushland, banana trees around a hill, the center of the monastery. Places for practice are plenty. There are some quite comfortable huts (kutis) for lay meditators, a large meditation hall (used mainly during the intense meditation course) and the monks' area around the hill. Here also is the hall
containing the buddha image, the kitchen, a cave that is being prepared as a place for services, and other infrastructure.


From Bangkok Northern Bus Terminal by Air Con Bus to Pak Chong (110 Baht). From Bus Terminal Pak Chong by taxi to Ban Sawang Jai (200 Baht, need to bargain).

Taxi from Wat Sanghathan to Khao Yai costs ca 1.300 Baht. Some taxi drivers do not know the way though it is easy to find. Go to Khao Yai National Park main gate (everybody knows this one). Approaching the gate (about 500 m beforehand) a road goes left. There is a sign saying “Ban Sawang Jai” in English and Thai. Follow this road for 4 km. Then on the left you will find the entrance with a big sign in English and sort of a stone monument in Thai.

There also are pick-up trucks available (20 Baht). Leave Pak Chong Bus Terminal to main road. Walk 10 minutes to the right. Cross the road to “Seven-eleven” shop. Pick-up trucks are waiting in front.

Participants of the meditation course (see below) will be picked up by bus from Wat Sanghathan, Nonthaburi.


For participation in the meditiation course a reservation some time ahead is advisable.

Meditation Course

Once a month (starting first saturday of every month) a one week intense meditation course is held. Participants are mainly Thai people from Bangkok area. Language is Thai (in teachings, talks, guided meditations, etc.). After the 7-days course participants are welcome to stay longer in Khao Yai Meditation Center.

System of Meditation

According to Wat Sanghathan, especially during courses. Individual practice is possible (i.e. for more experienced meditators already using other systems). Beginners will be introduced to vipassana meditation. Possibility of regular interviews. There are also sitting and walking meditations in groups (daily schedule see below).


Meditators stay in touch with Ven. Ajahn Tippakorn. Ajahn is the abbot, in his end-30s. He speaks English quite well. Ajahn talks select Dhamma subjects on some evenings. Possibility to ask questions.


5 Silas will be expected, 8 Silas are possible. Clothes should be white, comfortable and appropriate (no shorts or sleeveless t-shirts, in case clothes can be bought or rented in the center). Keeping silent is optional, although there is a general atmosphere of quiet mindfulness. There is only one meal during the day.


Lay meditators will usually live in a kuti (incl. bathroom) by one or two persons only. There is enough space inside to meditate there if desired. During meditation course though, accommodation cannot be that generous. Kutis will then be occupied by 3–4 people. Many participants will sleep in the big meditation hall.


Once a day there is a generous buffet of Thai food including some vegetarian dishes.


Possibility to ordinate as a monk or nun, usually via Wat Sanghathan. In the monastery live about 15 monks, 1–2 nuns and some lay meditators from Thailand or abroad.

Things to bring

Handy will be a good torch (incl. replacement bulb and batteries), bathing slippers, a water flask, insect-repellant and personal toiletry. A warm jacket or pullover will possibly be appreciated during morning meditation. During colder season a sleeping bag is recommended.

Rough daily schedule

5:00 a.m. Morning recitations and meditation (1 hour)
Small breakfast (hot drinks)
Walking meditation (1 hour)
9:30 a.m. Main meal together with monks
Some rest
Meditation in kuti or hall (walking, standing, sitting, 2 hours)
4:00 p.m. Walking meditation (1 hour)
Showering, laundry, other work, etc.
7:00 p.m. Evening recitations, meditation (1 hour)
Instructions and interview
Some evenings dhamma talk

Opinion of Jörg Dittmar

Ban Sawang Jai will be ideal for people who might consider Wat Sanghathan too big or maybe too busy. For western people who speak little or no Thai and therefore would have difficulties in getting appropriate support and instructions in Wat Sanghathan. And for people who simply look for meditative peace away from Bangkok.

Ban Sawang Jai can be easily reached from Bangkok within 3 hours.

People can meditate and be instructed according to the monastery system. But there is also the possibility to continue practice as used to at home (except when participating in the course obviously). Ban Sawang Jai has a very open-minded atmosphere. Mae Chee Brigitte is a very competent and understanding person. And Ajahn Tippakorn – having travelled Europe, New Zealand and South Africa – knows well western ways of thinking and typical problems.

The 1-week meditation course is a very impressing experience. For western people who do not speak enough Thai, though, it is more of a cultural event. It is interesting and inspiring to be involved in various activities, get in touch with Thai people, meditate together. But a large part of the daily schedule (like important guided meditations) will not be easy to make use of. Some monks give some instructions in English, too. But main language (by far!) is Thai.

Another thing is that during the course an additional 60, 80 or even more people will be living in the monastery. That will affect the general atmosphere, even though everybody would act in peace and mindfulness.

I therefore have participated in only select activities of the meditation course. And have done my individual meditation in some quiet corner (that is always possible to find).

My advice: For joining the course, arrive some days earlier in Ban Sawang Jai. Start practicing and settle in individually. Then join the course, experience how it affects your practice. After, you decide how to go on.

No fees. Donations to keep the place running are very welcome.