Here are meditation centres, mostly in Asia, for people interested in serious practice. The region has a lot of places to meditate in, so these are only the tip of the iceberg.
As of mid-2022, Sri Lanka is open and accessible, after going through some earlier economic and political turmoil; and Myanmar is seeing a surge in tourism again, so it is possible to enter the country. While I have received no email responses from most Myanmar centres, some seem to be accepting foreign yogis. Contact them and see.
Also please check out my new book due out mid-2023 (free sample chapters), The Meditation Retreat Manual: In search of ultimate peace, packed with information, tips, and advice for setting out on the intensive retreat trail.
Please get in touch for corrections or updates. May you be happy. All the best in your practice!
- New 2023 – Wat Chom Tong, near Chiang Mai, northern Thailand
- Updated 2023 – List of further reputable places
- New 2023 – Chittaviveka Meditation Center, Kandy region, Sri Lanka
- New 2023 – Sri Lanka visa update
- Panditarama Shwe Taung Gone Centre, Yangon, Myanmar
- The Mahasi Centre, Yangon, Myanmar
- Myanmar meditation visa
- Panditarama Hse Main Gon Forest Meditation Centre, Bago, Myanmar
- Overview of Sri Lanka monasteries
- Vajirarama Forest Solitude, Bowalawatta, Kandy, Sri Lanka
- Updated 2023 – Na Uyana Aranya Forest Monastery, Pansiyagama, Sri Lanka
- Nissarana Vanaya Forest Monastery, Mitirigala, Sri Lanka
- Siyane Vipassana Meditation Centre, Kanduboda, Sri Lanka
- Dhamma Rasmi, Vipassana International Association (Goenka) Centre, Sunshine Coast, Australia
- Updated 2023 – Sumathipala Meditation Centre, Kanduboda, Sri Lanka
- Panditarama Lumbini International Vipassana Meditation Centre, Lumbini, Nepal
- Devanapathis Meditation Centre, Pallekele, Sri Lanka
- Buddhist Hermitage Lunas, Penang, Malaysia
16 thoughts on “About”
I wonder if you have any experience with or current info on Pa Auk Tawya Meditation Centre in Mawlamyine, Myanmar.
I am planning to go there for about 6 months this October or November and it would be nice to hear from someone who has been there about the conditions I have to expect. The weather, accomodation, how easy it is to settle in as a Westerner with some but not very profound monastic experience.
I’ve been also wondering how long the procedure might take after I send them my application to stay.
I would appreciate any info you might have
Thanks in advance
Hi Lajos, thanks for getting in touch! I haven’t been there so I don’t know much about it. I recall finding info about the place online where people wrote about their experiences there. Many people still call it Moulmein, so that might help you find more info on Google.
Application process shouldn’t take more than days, or a week or two. Especially if you let them know your intended travel dates.
All the best!
Thank you, Peter!
Thanks for all of the great information, it has been really useful for me. I’m considering traveling to India in a few months – do you have any experience with meditation there, or know of any good resources for this? I know that there are a lot of Vipassana retreats in the Goenka style in India, I am interested in those but mostly in other longer Vipassana retreats.
Hi Dylan. I’m afraid I don’t know much India. I hear Bodh Gaya has numerous places, and possibly also Sarnath. All the best!
I am wondering if you have any thoughts on meditation i Thailand, I notice there is no posts from there?
I am going for some months of Mahasi (only that I thinks work for me ) and planning on either Myanmar or Thailand.
Thank you so much for this compilation, really useful 🙂
Hi Magnus. Sorry I don’t know much about options in Thailand. I hope to get there and check out some places.
Is there a center you recommend for someone experienced with retreats in the West, but new to practice in Asia?
Hi. I think this is best decided by yourself, based on the details in each listing. There are centres in, say Myanmar, which are strict and traditional. And there are places in Sri Lanka that are more laid-back. It’s possible that neither are accessible for now because of Covid travel limitations. There is also Chom Tong in Thailand, and Nilambe in Sri Lanka which seem popular with westerners in Asia. All the best!
HI Peter, are you running at meditation sittings in Australia? i am in Melbourne
Hi Damian. Thanks for asking! No I currently don’t. I’m in Brisbane. Might host something if I knew of people who were interested.
my name is Samantha, I was born in Germany and have a Sri Lankan father. I visited a few Centers (Damrisi/ Homagama, Nilambe, Rathmalkande/ Kithalella and Ambuluwawa) before I will become a Theravadin Nun later this year. As your website was of huge benefit for me, please let me know if you like to have any recommendations on these Centers from my side.
Sukhita Hotu with much metta,
Hi Samantha. That sounds wonderful. I’m very happy for you about your choice. If you have information to share would you mind sending it privately via the Contact page here on the blog and I will find a way to post it (with credit to you) where it fits. Alternatively you should set up a post on Reddit and let me know where to find it. That way, everyone can benefit from your information. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks again for getting in touch. All the best with your monastic path! 🙏🏻
Thank you for your kind reply, dear Peter. 🙏
My journey still takes me from one place of Meditation for Buddhists in Sri Lanka the the next one at the moment, so I will be able to write the recommendations (out of the perspective of a female lay practitioner 😉 as soon as I am back in my „Homebase Center“. Then, we can get in touch again and figure out how to transfer the information through modern technology. (;
Theruwan Saranai, dear Dhamma friend***
Hi! Can you tell me if they are very strict about the sleeping hours in Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka? I don’t meditate very well under only 5-6 hours of sleep (always fighting sleepiness) and need 8 hours. In Thailand, I was able to sleep until breakfast instead of meditate in my room and they didn’t keep track of your whereabouts. Do they drag you out of bed like they do at Goenka retreats? Also, if if you must eat something in the evenings due to health issues, is this permitted and where can you get food? Thank you!
Hi H. Most serious meditation centres pressure you to follow the schedule, and most of them have schedules where you are free to sleep approximately 9pm to 4am. Each centre differs on the details, but this is the general trend. A couple of things to note: Myanmar is not available to foreigners to travel in and stay at meditation centres; Sri Lanka is available and there are some meditation centres where you are encouraged to meditate but they are not strict; and in Nepal I have only been to the Burmese-run Panditarama centre in Lumbini and they are generally strict. In many of these centres, if you wish to avoid the scheduled sessions and sleep longer, you can probably do it. But here is where I have to give some advice. Meditation is about training attention, and giving in to the desire to slack off, go rest, sleep longer, etc, is all part of the mind’s resistance to meditation progress. All of us experience this, but some of us push through this and get stronger at it. If you are not committed to overcoming such pressures, maybe you are not really determined to progress in meditation. Just some respectful advice to think about it.