Location:Thai Plum Village 174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong (district), Nakhon Ratchasima (province), Thailand
Monastic Yoga I wanted to share my yoga with the monastics so I started doing my yoga in the afternoon with an open invite to everyone who wanted to join. Initially, we were only doing it at the men's dorm with the lay friends, but the sisters got wind of it and asked that I do the yoga at the guesthouse where they also have access. It became a daily workout with passing lay friends joining in. The sisters were determined to learn and wouldn't miss a class if they can help it. A devoted hardcore group developed.
Helena Helena, a lay friend who has an extensive yoga background in India visited the center. It was a great opportunity to learn about yoga from another teacher. We would take daily turns conducting the yoga class. For the students, they enjoyed the diversity. With Helena and Sabrina, we were the native English speakers in the center and we found ourselves in extended conversation about life and its offerings.
Macho Monks The monastics were surprised that I could be this strong (at my age) but it didn't swerve the monks to join-in. Apparently, in Vietnam, the guys play soccer. Yoga is not a "man-thing" - even for monks! Interestingly enough, one monk made a diagnostic check-up of me and found me in better physical shape than most monks half my age. I found this surprising since the monks eat right, sleep right and think right - but they were not as fit as me. I can only deduce that it's because they don't really do cardio-vascular workouts (or any workout for that matter). I offered to conduct a cardio-vascular fitness training for the monks consisting of rope-skipping and burpees but nothing really came out of it.
Ending Thoughts With my leaving, the sisters were saddened that they may not be able to continue with their yoga practice. I gave them a few yoga videos they could follow. I'm glad that I was somehow able to introduce yoga to the monastery. The fact that it was wholeheartedly accepted by some sisters give me hope that next time I stop by the center, I would see them doing headstands and other inversions.
Thai Plum Village International Practice Centre
with direction coming from Bangkok
GPS waypoint: 14°33'25.4"N 101°31'45.0"E
174,176 Ban Sra Nam Sai, Moo 7, Tambon Pongtalong, Pak Chong District, NakornRatchasima, Thailand
How to Get to Plum Village from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport
You are encouraged to arrive at the Center Friday afternoon between 2-4 pm
Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok proper (Phaya Thai Station) there is already a direct train from the airport that goes all the way to Bangkok with a final stop at Phaya Thai. Upon airport arrival, go down to Basement and take the Airport Link train to Phaya Thai Station35 mins | Baht 45. Get off at Phaya Thai Station (the last stop) and walk (.8km) to the Phaya Thai BTS Station.
Phaya Thai Station (N2) - Mo Chit Station (N8) by BTS TRAIN board the BTS train heading to Mo Chit and get off there.
Mo Chit North Eastern Bus Terminal - Platform 6, public van at #78 this is a short walk. Go to Platform 6 and get on the public van at #78 offering Jamnong Tour.
IMPORTANT ! - make sure you make it clear to the driver that HIS van drops you off at Plum Village. Otherwise, they might finish the tour in Pak Chong proper. If this happens, you're still 45 minutes away from Plum Village which costs 500 Baht by cab! Best to copy/print/take a picture of the image below to show to the driver:
Mo Chit North Eastern Bus Terminal - Plum Village by VAN the trip all the way to Plum Village, Pak Chong costs Baht 500 and takes 3.5 to 4 hours. Take the 11am or 12 noon van to ensure you arrive at the center before 4pm.
How to Get to Pak Chong (Proper) from Bangkok by train
ignore this if you plan to go to Plum Village. Take the direction above instead
If you are arriving Bangkok and would like to proceed directly to Pak Chong without spending a night in Bangkok, best to take a plane that will land in Don Mueang Airport in time for the #71 Train (Bangkok to Si Sa Ket) to stop at the MRT Train Station, Bang Sue, which is only a short walk from the airport. Train schedule at Bang Sue Station: Fri 10:27am, arriving Pak Chong 1:30pm. Express aircon car (Baht 289), non aircon (Baht 198). Duration is 3 hours, stopping right in the heart of Pak Chong. From Pak Chong.
You can also take the train from the main terminal near the center of Bangkok at the MRT Station, Hua Lampong Railway Station. Departure, Friday 10:00am.
Plum Village Cost Index
(US$1 = Thailand Baht 35.77 = Php 47.52 as of Feb 28, 2016)
Baht 500 van from Victory Monument to Plum Village
Baht 289 Express train from Bang Sue MRT Station (Bangkok) to Pak Chong Train Station, aircon (non aircon, Baht 189)
Baht 500 taxi from Pak Chong to Plum Village (call this taxi number, Mr. Khun Paisan: 085 772.4519 for the trip to Plum Village)
Things to bring if staying overnight
not a requirement, but it helps if you bring clothing in the dark brown color in order to blend-in