This page offers advice on how and when to travel to Suan Mokkh.
Please do not arrive after dark
(approx. 18.30) when visiting the main Suan Mokkh monastery.
Wat Suan Mokkh (the main monastery) is about 640km south of Bangkok and just west of the Asian Highway (Hwy. 41 or AH2). Surat Thani, 53km southeast, is the nearest city. Chaiya, the nearest village and train station, is about 6km northeast of Wat Suan Mokkh.
The International Dharma Hermitage (the retreat center) is situated about 1.5km (20min walk) away from the Suan Mokkh monastery on the east side of the highway in a quiet location behind a hill.
From Bangkok by train:
|Train no.||Train Type||Bangkok Departure||Chaiya Arrival|
From Bangkok′s main Hualamphong train station, take any southbound train (see timetable to the left) and get off at Chaiya, then take a blue songtaew (a pick-up truck) to Suan Mokkh. The price for the train (2nd class sleeper, fan) is about 500 baht, for the songtaew from Chaiya to Suan Mokkh about 20 baht*
. Trains tend to be late!
More information regarding travelling by train is available at: http://www.railway.co.th/home/default.aspx?ID=&lang=EN
From the South
, take trains that stop in Surat Thani (Phun Phin) or Chaiya. At Phun Phin station, ask at the bus stop in front for a Chumpon (no. 474) or Ranong (no. 469) bound bus going by Suan Mokkh.
(Phun Phin, Surat Thani's train station, is 14km west of the city).
Blue songtaews bound for Chaiya
(when you leave the train station go about 200m to the left) will depart Phun Phin about every 30minutes
until about 3pm.
Chumpon or Ranong bound buses from Surat Thani bus station depart about hourly until about 3pm.
(The price for the bus from Surat Thani or Phun Phin or the songtaew from Phun Pin is about
; the ride will take app. 1.5 hours from Surat Thani and approx. 1 hour from Phun Phin).
Some government air-conditioned buses from Phuket
to Bangkok will pass Suan Mokkh and let you off in front of the monastery. Please enquire at the government bus terminal in Phuket.
From Bangkok by bus:
Bangkok′s new and modern Southern Bus Terminal, known as Sai Tai Taling Chan, is on Phutthamonthon Soi 1 in Thonburi on the western side of the Chao Praya River. It is a bit difficult to get to but bus no. 511 will take you there from Democracy monument. It is easily identified by the S.C.Plaza building when entering the bus terminal.
Different types (24, 32, 40, 50 seaters) of air-conditioned buses depart here for southern Thailand. Take a bus bound for Surat Thani or Koh Samui (no. 991, 991-1), Nakhon Si Thammarat (no. 981) or Hat Yai (no. 992, 992-1) and ask to be let off at Suan Mokkh; buses will either let you off directly in front (km post 135) or at the nearby petrol station. Most buses going to Phuket (no. 949) will take that route as well.
If you book your journey in advance, and it is worth it during peak season and Thai holiday periods, you must go to the bus station to purchase your ticket. If you buy from a travel shop, you will probably end up on a tourist bus and may not get the usual high standard of the national buses. Be especially careful with private buses departing from the Khao San Road area as theft has been reported repeatedly on these buses.
The journey from Bangkok takes about 8 to 10 hours, so a good bus is worth the effort of going to the bus station in advance to book.
More information regarding travelling by bus (the English version is not working yet) is available at: http://home.transport.co.th/index.php/en/
Surat Thani airport
is about 27km south of Suan Mokkh and 2km west of the highway. It is possible to catch a taxi at the airport (approx. 500 baht*
) or public transport at the airport gate at the highway (approx. 35 baht*
) directly to Suan Mokkh without having to go into Surat Thani. It may take up to 1 hour to cover this distance by public transport. Public transport will cease around 3.30pm.
* Prices are given as a guide and may not be accurate, changing without warning. It is your responsibility to check prices before you travel to be sure you are willing to pay prices being charged.
Choosing a Date
The number of participants enrolling in the retreats varies over the year. In the main season (December to April) the retreat may get quite crowded, while from June to November it is very peaceful and calm. If you can choose the time to come, you may want to pick the latter period.
The diagram shows how the number of participants varies through the year.
Female (47%) and male (53%) participants have a fairly even share.
For most of the participants, a retreat at the International Dharma Hermitage is their first contact with meditation. However there are usually a few "old friends" (participants who have done at least three retreats at the International Dharma Hermitage) supporting the newcomers.