What are the best meditation and yoga retreats in Asia?

There’s a bunch I can find by Googling but I’m after the hidden gems or at least some personal accounts. I’m after good teachers that hopefully speak some English. Picturesque, mountain locations would be the icing on the cake.

1 Like

Šta ima, Damire? :wink:

Really interested in hearing the answers to this one. I think a mountainous location would be ideal for a yoga retreat.

I have a friend who went to the Siam Healing Center on the island of Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. Maybe it’s not exactly what you’re looking for but he says it was a pleasurable experience (and extremely cheap). They offer on site housing, massages, yoga, and courses on related topics.

Here’s a digital nomad talking about it:

And tripadvisor:

I hope to visit soon myself.

Ćao Sanele! Uglavnom kuća posao… :grin:

Thanks for the links. I’ve found the following meditation centres interesting:

Locations: https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/maps#001

They do intense 10-day meditation programs including food and accommodation, and they only ask for a donation at the end. Turns out there’s a bit of controversy around their method. However, largely positive stories in general and they’re all over the world.

Rishikesh, India

I visited this place in march. It is good place for yoga and meditation. You can find many good budget hotels with good wifi under 10-12$/day.

You can also visit McLeodganj, Dharamshala where Dalai Lama lives.


Mcleodganj, India

What is the controversy around their method?

It’s very simple, really. Simple, but incredibly hard.

The Dhamma retreats vary from country to country. I’d suggest you pick one 1) in a nice, tranquil environment, with 2) good, healthy food.

I did mine in my home country (The Netherlands) and it lacked the latter. It’s not that the cooks didn’t try but PB&Js on stale bread for breakfast is hardly conducive to a good practice. Compare that to Thailand, where you’d get served delicious local Thai cuisine.

I’m warning you though, it will be a very, very intense experience. This shouldn’t discourage you, just don’t approach it as a nice, relaxing vacation. Meditation is hard work. Give me shoveling in the dirt, all day.

P.S. Make sure you adequately protect yourself from mosquitos and other nasties. I had to leave mine early because of a severe infection after being bitten by something fierce that could only have emanated somewhere deep from the throughs of hell.

Thanks for your reply. Really appreciate it.

The controversy I found was from a Google Search for “goenka dhamma criticism” which returned a forum discussion: http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=16830

You could argue it’s a biased forum but at the same time they bring up some good points about the centers being unable to deal with people who suffer mental traumas as a result of their experience and possibly too much Buddhist dogma being preached.

Having said that, I’m still keen on going. I’m aware that it will be the polar opposite of a holiday where you sip poolside cocktails. The challenge is what attracts me.

Sounds like a rough journey home from Thailand that you had.

Well I can assure you that there’ll be a lot of dogma, but Buddhist dogma is never preachy, it’s basically saying to ‘let your experience be the judge’ ; )

The great thing about the Goenka retreats is that the 10-day retreat is a formalized process, a plan of progression of sorts, finely honed through decades of iteration and through the experiences of thousands upon thousands of students. I had and still have strong confidence in this process because of its firm root in empiricism.

I also suspect that such retreats attract a disproportionally higher percentage of mentally ‘troubled’ people, who already suffer (knowingly or unknowingly) from some type of mental disorder. You know them, those people who are on ‘spitirual journeys’ and stuff, those who clutter your Instagram with picture of their 3-day juice cleanse detox. Those mental problems could very well be exacerbated by such an intense experience as a 10-day silent meditation retreat.

Having said that, many Buddhist scholars have written about ‘dark periods’ in ones meditation - where one can feel especially troubled, confused and depressed - none more so than Daniel Ingram, who wrote the somewhat obscure but severely under-appreciated book Mastering the Core Teachings of the Dhamma. It is certainly something to consider. How does the saying go again? ‘You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs’? I think that very much applies here as well.

My 2 cents, if you feel relatively sane, go for it. And let me know how it went!

Will do. The fomalized process you mention is the main reason I’m so particularly interested in Goenka retreats.

Yoga is the best exercise we can perform daily and as you all know yoga comes from India. So there is no question about the yoga been learnt. India has lot of cultures and history and my friends out there is still searching for the correct yoga schools i would suggest to go for Yoga Vini Rishikesh. It’s located in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India. They provide 200 hours of certified yoga session which is been registered under the alliance USA. The teachers have vast experience in the field of yoga. So my friends i would suggest to go for it.


1 Like

I have done the 10-day course myself at the main centre in Igatpuri. There is nothing wrong. Of course for everything you wish to take up in life, there will people advocating a different school of thought. Just ignore. Things cant be that bad.

I came out much calm and balanced. But it needs to be practiced regularly to get the effects of meditation.