Itinerary & Trip Details
for 2023 GMC Trip to Thailand
Thanks for your interest in the Georgia Meditation Center’s (GMC) first group trip to Thailand! This trip will be 14 days long (including 2 travel days) leaving Atlanta on December 8 and returning on December 22, 2023, and it will be personally guided by Venerable Michael & Venerable Nick. This document seeks to properly set your expectations for this trip so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you would like to join. It will include a general breakdown of the tentative activities planned, the timetable, the costs, and resources for further research.
Please note that there are only 16 available seats for this trip and it will be a first come first serve basis. Depending on booking date, airline ticket prices are subject to change. Make sure to reserve your spot by submitting this form.
To reserve your spot, please fill out this registration form for yourself and have any other guests that want to come with you fill out their own individually as well. If you have any further questions, please reach out to Bee at firstname.lastname@example.org, and also CC the monks at email@example.com.
Style of the Trip
After living in the forests of Chiang Mai, Thailand and the main temple outside of Bangkok for 5+ years, the monks have welcomed countless people from around the world for retreats, programs to become a monk, and general visits. Drawing from their experience of what has been most impactful, they have designed a 12 day trip for us that will start out in Chiang Mai at the Pa Pae Meditation Retreat and end at the Dhammakaya Temple in Pathum Thani outside of Bangkok. This trip will break the mold of the rigidity of a typical extended formal meditation retreat, and it will also avoid the expensive, overly touristy, hot & sweaty, and often exhausting feel of typical travel agency organized tours. There will be at least one day spared for a tourist style trip to Chiang Mai and the Bangkok area for those who are interested, but for the most part this trip will be centered around spending more intimate time with the monks and your other spiritual friends both meditating and bonding in a number of breathtakingly beautiful settings that the monks
First Location: the Pa Pae Meditation Retreat, Chiang Mai
What has always proven to be most impactful and life-changing for anyone who has visited is having the time and freedom to explore the robust ecosystem that the Pa Pae Meditation retreat has to offer. Much more than just a meditation center, Pa Pae is like a “spiritual playground” of sorts nestled within a quaint village of the lushly forested mountains of Chiang Mai that naturally invites you to slow down and reconnect with yourself, nature, and those around you.
From expansive views in open air halls to swings hanging from trees to bubbling river beds to walking trails meandering through the forest to bonfires under the stars to cheap, yet delicious coffee shops within easy walking distance, the infrastructure and natural attractions of Pa Pae are like nothing you will have ever experienced. If you would like to see some pictures you can check out this page of their website, or if you would like a better feel for the atmosphere you can watch Ven. Nick’s video tour. You will also be able to follow the monks through the village on alms round and help carry the food that they collect. This is often an extremely touching experience to witness as the poor villagers practice generosity as a family each morning.
In addition to these on-site attractions, there is also a hot springs a close drive away, 2 more meditation sites that are a bit more secluded that are being developed, a hiking route, and much more. With all this being said, we are more than happy to adapt to the needs of the group. If anyone would like to rest, then feel free to sleep in. If you want some alone time, go for a walk in the forest, journal in your favorite corner, or do as you please. There is good cell phone reception, so we can stay in touch if and when needed. Sometimes what we are in need of the most is just time and space to be with ourselves in nature. And this is a gift many of us never get. But that is the gift the monks would like to give to you. So a majority of the trip will be spent at the retreat and will be adapted organically based off of what fits best for the group. We are certain that your time here will take your meditation to new heights and leave you with memories for a lifetime.
Second Location: The Dhammakaya Temple, Pathum Thani (outside of Bangkok)
At the tail end of the trip, we will head back to the main temple for about 1-2 days where we will go visit the pagoda of 1 million Buddhas and tour the rest of the massive temple grounds that is home to thousands of monks, novice monks, and lay staff. This will likely also be a place unlike anywhere you have ever visited. To truly witness the scale, the positive energy around the pagoda, and the overall feeling of this temple, you simply have to be there. And the monks are excited to share the stories they’ve heard and personally experienced over the years as you tour their home. Then, before you know it, it will be time to head back to Atlanta.
So now it’s time to cover what you can expect for the general expenses. Below are 3 tables that give you an estimate of the expenses you can expect to incur. The first table is very general and lets you know overall estimated costs. The $600 pooled money will be handled by a single individual during the entirety of the trip to simplify paying for group activities, food, and lodging. At the end of the trip, any remaining funds in this pooled money will be evenly refunded back to each trip member. The third table will give you a list of the bare minimum costs that will be incurred outside of the flight that will be covered by the “pooled money” fund, so you can clearly see where the money will go. Lastly, depending on your intention to buy souvenirs, special snacks/coffee, or anything else during the day trips into the city or at any other time during the trip, it would be good to have some extra funds prepared for personal spending.
- Fri, Dec 08Pa PaeDec 08, 11:00 AM – Dec 22, 11:00 AMPa Pae, Pa Pae, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai 50150, ThailandDec 08, 11:00 AM – Dec 22, 11:00 AMPa Pae, Pa Pae, Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai 50150, ThailandThanks for your interest in the Georgia Meditation Center’s (GMC) first group trip to Thailand! This trip will be 14 days long (including 2 travel days) leaving Atlanta on December 8 and returning on December 22, 2023, and it will be personally guided by Venerable Michael & Venerable Nick.
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