Santisukh Tudongsathaan (Wat Pa Pae)

by Ven. Mettiko Bhikkhu updated June 2005


Baan Pa Pae, Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai
Please notice that it is strictly necessary that you should have some knowledge of the Thai language, as Than Ajahn Prajoed hardly speaks English. Apart from that it cannot be guaranteed that you will be allowed to stay because infrastructure and facilities of the place are sufficient for a limited number of guests only and no registration is possible.


“Wat Pa Pae” is situated in the hills between Mae Taeng und Pai in the North of Thailand about 60 km from Chiang Mai. It features dense forest, but little sun. The monastery contains a little old sala entirely made from wood, a little kitchen, and a second open sala, as well as about 12 kutis (bungalows) in the forest. Three to five monks live in the forest. Male laypersons are accepted for individual retreats. Women can only lodge there when a male layperson lives at the Wat at that time (vinaya).


Santisukh Tudongsathaan used to be a station on the long Tudong trail to Mae Hong Son. With the road finished now, considerably less monks are passing through, which has its advantages.


Than Ajahn Prajoed gives formal lectures at uposatha-days and answers questions during afternoon tea or by appointment. Ajahn Prajoed is an independent Mahanikaya forest monk, knows and lives good discipline, practices a lot and is a skilled meditation teacher.

Meditation Technique

All methods pertaining to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness are practised but the emphasis is on the first basis, especially observation of the 32 parts and recollection of death. Other methods of reflection are taught as well.


Guests can donate money or do purchases for the Wat (soft drinks, coffee, sugar).


All guests are given a kuti. The huts are plain but charming. No electricity or telephone.

What To Bring

Before your stay, buy an alarm clock, a good flashlight (spare bulb and spare batteries), flip-flops, water bottle, and insect repellant. All these things can be bought in Chiang Mai.


The only daily meal, breakfast, consists exclusively of the food monks gather at alms rounds. Normally this is sufficient to feed a small number of laypersons. Laypersons can put back a snack for noon. Late afternoons, there are soft drinks, coffee, or tea. Drinking water is boiled rain water.

Medical Care

Good by Asian standards. In the provincial capital Chiang Mai there are hospitals and pharmacies. The area is not considered malaria contaminated, but Dengue fever has become more frequent over the past years.


All guests are obliged to adhere to the eight silas (moral precepts). Men customarily wear black trousers and a white shirt. Women wear a black or white Phaa Thung (wrap-around skirt) and a white blouse.

Daily Schedule

After the monks’ alms rounds breakfast at 7:30 a.m., then a small amount of cleaning and tidying in and around the kitchen. Afternoons, paths are swept, water is boiled, wood chopped and so on. Evenings, an hour of chanting and an hour of group meditation. There is much time for individual practice, and it is valued highly.

Climate and Best Time To Go

Over 1000 m above sea level, rather continental climate. Ideal for the hot season from March to June. During rainy season, drying laundry can become a challenge.


Laypersons can stay if permission is given, but they should be able to practise independently to a degree. The monastery is run in a very traditional and vinaya way. Ajahn Prajoed rather shuns publicity to retain the Wat’s quiet and „oldfashioned“ character. This has a positive influence on the conditions for practice.

By Bus
From Chiang Mai: Take the bus (direction of Fang) or Songthaew (pick-up line taxi) to Mae Malai. From there take another Songthaew into the hills to Baan Pa Pae. There is also an infrequent bus to Pai via Pa Pae. In Baan Pa Pae follow the signs (there is one in English) to the police station. Just before the post office turn right, follow the sign (Thai only) to the Wat. Ascend 1.5 km steep path to the Wat.