Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Source: Chanda von Keyserlingk; last updated August 2007


International Buddhism Center Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Tambol Suthep, Amphur Muang, 14 Srivichai Road, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.
Tel: 0066-53-29 50 12 | Fax: 0066-53-29 50 00
Website: www.fivethousandyears.org | E-mail: doisuthepinfo@gmail.com & contact@fivethousandyears.org


Doi Suthep is famed for its serene and peaceful environment, giving visitors the impression that there really might be angels guarding its pristine beauty. Close enough to be seen from Chiang Mai City, and with a breathtaking view of Thailand's Northern Capital, the monastery is quiet and peaceful, with ancient trees, birds and the occasional fog covering the grounds. The meditation center is fully functional and growing always.

Tradition and Focus

Theravada, Vipassana-Meditation in the Mahasi Sayadaw Tradition. Intensive meditation practice. Ajaan Tong is in his early eighties and one of Thailand’s most famous meditation teachers.


Speaks and English and Thai. Pleasant atmosphere. In the daily interviews meditators receive very helpful and clear instructions for practice.

Meditation Technique and Course of Retreat

Practitioners practice in their own bungalows or in the meditation hall. All practitioners receive individual meditation instructions. During the retreat the four bases of mindfulness (observing body, feelings, mind, and mind objects) are practiced and all arising phenomena are noted mentally. Initially the rising and falling of the abdomen is the primary object of meditation during sitting, and the movement of the foot during walking. Each period of meditation begins with a mindful prostration. A period of walking meditation and a period of sitting follow. Beginners start with 10 minutes and increase gradually to an hour. Every week there is a Dhamma talk. It is possible to go to the daily chanting.


Interviews in English or Thai.

Course Duration and Dates

A beginners’ course is approximately three weeks. Since courses are individual no particular dates need to be observed. The retreat begins with an opening ceremony and ends with a closing ceremony. Persons who have already taken a course at the center can participate in 10-day courses.


Men and women live in separate quarters. Thin mattresses on concrete or wood. If this is too hard for you, bring a sleep pad. Blankets, meditation pillow and pillow can be borrowed. A sleeping bag and fleece jacket are particularly useful during the cooler season.


Daily necessities can be bought in the small temple-shops. A digital alarm clock, flashlight, flip-flops, water bottle, insect repellent, toiletries and possibly tea and coffee should be bought before the retreat. You can buy this in Chiang Mai.


Breakfast (6:30 a.m.) and lunch (11 a.m.) are varied and of good quality. There is always a choice of two or three vegetarian dishes and sometimes fruit. Afternoon no meals should be taken (drinks such as milk, tea, and yoghourt are permitted). Drinking water is filtered and therefore potable. To be even more sure, bring disinfectant or boil water.

Medical Care

In Chiang Mai there are pharmacies and a serviceable hospital with English-speaking doctors. This area is not considered contaminated with malaria, but in other parts of Thailand malaria is common. The hygiene in the Wat is very good.




Participants vow to adhere to the eight moral precepts (moral practice rules). Clothing should be white, comfortable, and decent (no shorts or tank tops). Wake-up is at 4 a.m.

Climate and Best Time To Go

November to March.


Good meditation condition, Intensive meditation practice and clear instructions for practice. The centre is growing and looking for persons who want stay long term.

By Train
From Bangkok: Take the night train (about 13 hours), bus or plane (about 1 hour) to Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep with Tuk Tuk (200-300 Baht) or red-taxi (about 40-80 Baht). Here walk the 290 steps or take the lift (30 Baht).