These Are the Best Places to Meditate in Thailand

Hauntingly beautiful Phuket in southern Thailand offers some of the best places to meditate. Named after the Sanskrit word for peace, the sleepy island’s tranquil turquoise waters and the agreeable hush of the Tibetan…

These Are the Best Places to Meditate in Thailand

Hauntingly beautiful Phuket in southern Thailand offers some of the best places to meditate. Named after the Sanskrit word for peace, the sleepy island’s tranquil turquoise waters and the agreeable hush of the Tibetan Buddhism (or Chodarat) temples sets it apart from other holiday destinations — though the mass tourism has hurt the island’s reputation. As well as the aforementioned Chodarat, there are many other temples worth checking out on the island (take a guided tour to the Asian Gardens for a brief yoga session). And when you’re done, you can pop down to Hua Hin, the island’s more upscale neighbor, or take a cruise to Phuket’s pink sand beaches.

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Prayer stalls are common in Thailand, but public meditation is still frowned upon, due to fear that it can cause a breakup and lead to emotional distress. During a meditation session on Phuket, however, one monk spoke openly about sexual consent and its value in the Buddhist community: “It’s our duty to respect each other. As much as humanly possible, please don’t hold your breath and don’t waste your breath,” he said to an overwhelmingly female audience. “But if you believe you’re ready, let’s give it a try.” This is now the location of one of the greatest public meditation experiences of them all, available for every one of your Facebook friends! On Vadym Nyimasnyakorn’s new Facebook page he offers free meditation sessions every Friday at 3 p.m. You can sit on the beach or stroll to the Thailand Street to relax while meditating.

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Sitting on the beach in Hua Hin, in the former Thai borderlands to the north, Vadym Nyimasnyakorn offers his weekly public mediation classes all year long. Many of his students have emailed him asking for advice on how to stay sane during election campaigns (the western Thai media, he says, “is too much like Donald Trump’s United States.”), and his current classes have been overwhelmed with requests for guidance. Nyimasnyakorn says most Americans believe they are much more spiritual than Thais. “But Americans are just like us: they are conservative, and their religion is their relationship with God,” he explains. “In Thailand, our religion is with the community and your family and the environment, which you don’t have to watch if you don’t like it.”

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Vadym Nyimasnyakorn greets you at the start of his weekly public meditation class with a smile and a wave. Anyone who does not have any problem with public meditation may join in. A welcome announcement says “Buddhism doesn’t require believers to do anything, except to sit quietly and pray” and includes suggestions on what to do if you feel the need to speak. There are also special offers on ways to engage in meditation while away from home, or public meditation workshops open to anyone, regardless of religion.

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The Facebook page is full of friendly and encouraging content, and Nyimasnyakorn is quick to point out that Buddhist meditation is more than just a quick retreat to the jungle — he is a Buddhist and yet grew up in a non-religious family. “When I was a little boy, my brothers were not interested in going to church or on holiday trips, so I started to take martial arts,” he says. “I now do Iyengar yoga and I try to try to find out why people are becoming more Buddhist in Thailand.”

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