Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son is a small, quaint, sleepy and charming town on the north-west of Thailand, hugging the Myanmar border along the Pai River. It is 883 km north of Bangkok and 251 km west of Chiang Mai. It can be reached by plane through its small international airport. Many travelers come here to start their exploration into the hill tribe villages, caves, hot springs, wild sunflower fields and waterfalls within and near the town.
MAE HONG SON
20 Days of Monastic Life at Wat Pa Tam Wua(Dec 12, 2018 - Jan 1, 2019) 20 days of monastic life can be surreal to most people - a daily routine of meditation, Dhamma talks by Buddhist monks, 2 vegetarian meals/day, confinement within the monastic grounds and internalization of all the lessons, teachings and practice. After all that immersion, what exactly did I come away with?....more »»
Peoplescape at the Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery(Dec 12 - Jan , 2019) People connection in the meditative atmosphere of Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery is usually intense. Even short episodes. I was there for 20 days meeting wonderful souls of all kinds. Our common ground was we were all seekers in search of truth. 6 years of travel and I haven't gotton used to the heaviness when someone dear packs up to leave this Shangrila.....more »»
Arahattamagga Arahattaphala - the path to Aranhantship(Dec 30, 2018) A monk narrates his meditation journey that ultimately led to an arahantship. His personal tale is compelling for a seeker like me because it puts flesh and blood and human struggle into the difficult path of deepening a meditative practice that transcends textbook descriptions and definitions...more »»
Goenka and the Theravada Forest Monastery Vipassana Traditions(Dec 25, 2018) Vipassana between the Goenka and Theravada Forest Monastery traditions are both anchored on the words of the Buddha and both have the same ultimate objective - enlightenment. They have many differences (from my limited lenses) but they are more similar than they are different.....more »»
The Knower(Dec 24, 2018) A new and powerful concept introduced to me here at Wat Tam Wua's Vipassana course is the existence of the Knower. The monkey mind is the Thinker. But when you catch yourself thinking about painful events in the past or worries of the future, then the Thinker becomes The Knower. The Knower is aware of the body, the thoughts, the feelings in the here-and-now with the full understanding of impermanence.....more »»
10-Day Meditation at Wat Pa Tam Wua Forest Monastery(Dec 9, 2018) As a general rule, I do a Vipassana course once every 6 months. Meditating for 10 days brings me back on the rails, gives me a sense of bearing, calms my racing mind and reboots my entire system. This has been overdue. Meditation at Wat Pa Tam Wua is Vipassana in the Theravada tradition. This is different from the Goenka tradition. But Dhamma is dhamma - simply a different interpretation of Buddha's same words.....more »»
Mae Hong Son (city), Thailand
About Mae Hong Son
FYI / Tips
- Mae Hong Son Airport has flights to Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Mae Sot, Hanoi (Vietnam), Laos (Luang Prabang, Mandalay, Naypaytiaw, Vientiane) and Yangon (Myanmar)
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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