Chiang Mai Sacred Monk Experience
A Day in the Life of a Thai Monk
|Meeting Point||Your Chiang Mai Hotel/Apartment|
|End Point||Your Chiang Mai Hotel/Apartment|
|Duration||Up to 7-9 hours|
|Physical Level||Moderate – this experience involves short-distance walking around sites in the sun|
|Cultural Rating||Moderate – a good balance of culture, Buddhist philosophy, and engagement|
|Ages||18+ (younger must be accompanied by an adult – children years old or younger may join for free)|
|Group Size||Private – Max 6 people per booking|
Itinerary for experiencing a day in the life of Thai Monks
05:00 am – We must start this tour VERY early, as monks start their day even earlier, with a morning prayer around 4:30 am. We will have your guide pick you up at your hotel or apartment in Chiang Mai (must be centrally located in the old city, or its proximity, otherwise you will need to meet at Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham, in Chiang Mai city, no later than 5:30 am before the monks start their morning walk for collections).
Once we have arrived together at the temple, we will meet with one of the monks as he finishes his morning prayers, and we embark on his morning collections for donations by the surrounding community. It is very common that local shop owners will come to meet the monks as they pass by at this hour, to start their day by making an offering. With the concept of karma, by making an offering to start their day, they open themselves to being able to receive good karma for the rest of the day.
Note: This is a very special and sacred opportunity we are being invited to participate in, as monks generally prefer their solitude in this journey – a time of reflection, as well as focus, as they must give their positive energy and offer blessings and prayers to those who make merit or request these services of him. We will follow in silence while observing and assisting him with his collections.
After a relatively short walk (max 1-2 kilometers, roughly an hour), we will return to the temple while some of the monks return with their food and money donations, and prepare to eat together. The food collected by the monks first feeds the monks, then their assistants. The food that remains goes to feed those in the surrounding community who are hungry. If any food is leftover, it will feed the street dogs and cats who come to the temple for their own offerings.
After eating, we will take a walk around the beautiful and tranquil property of Wat Umong Suan Phutthatham. This 700-year-old temple is also a Vipassana Meditation Centre. While there, guests are encouraged to be silent and respectful around those who are meditating or learning to meditate. We will find quiet areas to be able to talk near the property’s large pond. Given space, we will be able to also practice meditation. It is an incredible location, with lots of space to wander, explore and ponder life.
We will explore the property, going throuhg ancient tunnels filled with faded murals and Buddha statues, wandering around gardens filled with Buddhas, seeing the monk’s huts and residence, as well as an ancient stupa (type of temple). You will feel at peace just from wandering around the grounds that the monks spend most of their days.
There will be an opportunity for you to make a prayer offering to Buddha, if you want to wish for something in your own life, or for one of your friends and families back home, you will be guided through a chant with your guide, in front of a Buddha statue. When available, we may be able to chat to one of the monks on the property about their life in the sanctuary here as well.
We finish our day with a lunch at a nearby restaurant which serves local specialities from the Chiang Mai country-side, some which you might not find anywhere else in the city. Full of light and peace, and a full heart and a full belly, we will return you back to your hotel, where you’ll probably want to meditate, reflect on your expience, or have an afternoon nap.
*some activities will be weather permitting and itineraries may be adjusted accordingly.
Please note: There is a Dress Code! There is a required dress code for visiting temples in Thailand. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temples. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves – no sleeveless tops. Wearing sandals or flip-flops is ok, and possibly preferred, as you must remove your footwear every time you enter a temple. Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, no bare shoulders, knees covered, etc. It is also recommended to avoid wearing bright colours, though this is less strictly enforced.
What is included with the Chiang Mai Sacred Monk Experience?
Your sacred experience includes:
– information provided before your experience to educate you and properly prepare you
– a specially trained and licensed English-speaking guide who will facilitate your experience
– transportation during the tour (tuk-tuk, and songtaews)
– translations with monk
– lunch (includes a basic meal and non-alcoholic beverage)
– A special souvenir from the tour
What is not included when on your Chiang Mai Monk Experience?
– Travel Insurance (Compulsory)
– International flights or transportation to/from the itinerary’s start point
– Accommodation in Chiang Mai (we suggest Agoda for the best hotel rates)
– Alcoholic beverages (not recommended before entering sacred places)
– Transportation (getting to and from the meeting and endpoints)
– Gratuities and tips
– Spending Money if you wish to purchase additional souvenirs or items.
Supporting Local Projects with our TRiP Foundation
Every TRIP that you go on with WSE Travel, we will donate 2% of all Gross Sales to an environmental or community-based project in the country you’re visiting. We want to ensure that every guest we help, in turn, supports and preserves the destination we’re experiencing together. We live by an ethos to Travel Responsibly & Impact Positively (TRIP).
For more information on the projects supported by this experience, please visit our Thailand TRIP projects.