Feb 14, 2020
Visiting the Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand
Location : Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand
I was told by a local that there is Vipassana temple hidden within the forested area of Umphang less than 3 km away. Really? I set out on foot to find out where this temple is. Perhaps even meditate or sound its gong.
Wat Panit Niramol
All the while, I thought there was only one temple within the immediate area of Umphang Proper - Wat Panit Niramol. I would go to this temple almost every day and spend a few minutes meditating. It's good to know there is a Vipassana-specific temple not too far away. I know I'm being silly. It doesn't matter if it's a Vipassana temple or even an Islamic mosque - as long as I can still sit and meditate.
Pasak Vipassana Temple
Heading in the general direction of northwest from the town center, already into a forested area, I saw the first glimpse of the temple - almost a silhouette between the clustered tree trunks within the forest. It looked different from most Buddhist temples. Instead of towering golden stupas, it was more like a dark-stained lacquered log cabin resembling Noah's ark - without the boat.
Attention to Detail
Just by the doorstep, I could already see the ornate art that went into the temple. Even the wooden posts and beams were meticulously carved with full-color spectrum. Individual wooden window panes had color carvings and decorated with complex patterns. It's typical for Thai temples to be adorned, but this one is marginally more than the average. It even felt like there was an obsession to all of it. At the main altar were 3 Buddhas and a statue of a monk on the foreground. He must be an important monk. I just wish there were English inscriptions too.
Increasingly, I had been incorporating temple visits for meditation in my travels. Before, I would only meditate on my bed or do a 10-day meditation course. But with so many temples in Thailand, why not stop by one every day to still the body and mind...and also to give thanks for being in such a beautiful country with lovely people? Moreso now, meditation is an increasing part of my travel horizon - doing my 20-min pranayama and 20-min meditation first thing when I wake up, and now, stopping by a temple for another more meditation.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
Mindfulness Gong Bath in Chiang Mai
(Feb 15, 2020) To sound the gong...try the smaller knob (the country flag). I found that if the gong is more than 150cm, we should rub out the eight small knobs.
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Next stop: Post-Umphang Mae Sot
Umphang Blogs by TheLoneRider
- Visiting the Pasak Vipassana Temple, Umphang, Thailand Feb 14, 2020
- Food in Umphang Feb 10-15, 2002
- Trekking Kao Hua Mot Viewpoint Feb 11-12, 2020
- Exploring Umphang, Thailand Feb 10-15, 2020
Umphang Travel Info
Mae Sot to Umphang (and back) by bus
Getting to Umphang
From the Mae Sot Divisional Market (Burmese Market), I boarded the blue songthao (going to the border) and got off at the Bus Station near the airport (B20, 10 mins). At the bus station, I went to platform #5 Umphang, and boarded the blue songthao (departure times 07:30 after every hour until 13:30, B140, 5.5 hours). The first 2 hours was on flat, the following 2.5 hours was a dizzying mountain twist like a pretzel road, and the last hour was still curvy, but not as tight. One boy threw up at all the luggages in front of him, to the chagrin of the passengers! Best to have your Google Map activated when nearing Umphang so you know when to get off closest to your hotel before the songthao reaches its final stop. Better yet, show the driver where your hotel is, and he's likely to drop you off the doorstep.
Leaving Umphang for Mae Sot, go to the blue songthao depot at the Umphang Walking Street (see map). Departures are every hour beginning 06:30 to 13:30, B140, and only 5 hours! It should take you to the market and then to Mae Sot bus station near the airport (I don't really know since I alighted at Robinsons).
What to Do in Umphang
The main attraction of Umphang are the multiple waterfalls (Thi Lor Su, Thi Lor Jor, Thi Lor Lay, Se Pala, Pitu Grow), rafting, caving (Tha Kubi Cave), hot spring, and trekking. There's is not much within the town proper. Tour rates usually start at B1500/person and can go as much as B4000/person for multi-day trekking.
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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