mental practice of focus on a particular object, thought or activity

While meditation can be done practically everywhere, including every place where a traveller might end up, some places either have a physical environment or a cultural tradition which makes meditation more gratifying.

These are locations where you can attend guided and self-led meditation retreats. They all provide environments that are supportive of being in retreat: minimal distractions, few activities and concerns, basic needs fulfilled, and ideally affordable. This list was originally compiled with the Buddhist meditation practice of Shamatha in mind, but these locations should be conducive to any type of meditation that requires a similarly supportive environment.

Global edit

Asia edit

East Asia edit

China edit

China has many Buddhist and Taoist temples and monasteries, but none we know of teach meditation using any language other than Chinese.

Some of the centers of Chinese martial arts do offer training using English, and a few have residential programs that include foreign students.

Japan edit

South Korea edit

  • Many Buddhist temples in South Korea offer temple stay programmes to tourists, which allows them to experience the life of a Buddhist monk, but requires you to book in advance. Those who participate in such programmes are expected to follow a strict daily routine and show a degree of respect for the customs, which includes waking up early for prayers and meditation, as well as eating vegetarian food.

Taiwan edit

  • Taiwan's Fo Guang Shan monastery located near Kaohsiung has rooms available for visitors who wish to learn Buddhist meditation.

South Asia edit

See also: Sacred sites of the Indian subcontinent

India edit

Both Bodh Gaya (where the Buddha reached enlightenment) and Dharamsala (headquarters of the Dalai Lama's Tibetan government-in-exile) have large Buddhist communities including many teachers. Rishikesh bills itself as "the World Capital of Yoga" and has many ashrams; see Yoga in Rishikesh.

  • Himachal Pradesh - Deer Park Institute - Part of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche's organization, it serves as a place of study running different short courses. It is located 3 hours from Dharamsala in a small Tibetan Settlement called Bir (about 12 hours by bus from Delhi). It is an old, but nicely renovated monastery with a temple with three halls. Single rooms are 7-8 sq. meters, furnished, with attached bathroom with wardrobe. Linen is provided. The costs Rs.400/day, with a 20% discount for people who stay more than a month. There are people talking and taxis coming and going. The food they provide for Rs.50 per meal is nice. Morning: porridge or veg-rice, toast with jam and butter, banana or egg. Lunch: rice, dahl, chapati, veggies Dinner: veg soup, pizza or noodles or fried rice, dessert, veggies. Apparently there is no self-catering possibility.
  • Uttar Pradesh - Shravasti Korean Temple - Stay for donation, wake at 4am to recite the heart sutra in Korean, eat delicious Korean food, drink lemongrass milk tea with a genuine Zen master.

Nepal edit

  • Kathmandu - Kopan Monastery - An iconic Tibetan Buddhist monastery established in the 1970s by Lama Yeshe Rinpoche and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Has many retreats and events, including the famous November Course, an intensive month-long Lam Rim retreat. Rooms also available for private retreat.
  • Bhaktapur - Thrangu Sekhar Retreat Center (map) - Colloquially known as Bhaktapur Retreat Center. Well-equipped rooms with kitchenette and private bathroom with hot water. 500 NPR per day (2013 price) with 3 meals delivered at your door. Great views of the valley. It seems now there are many westerners doing 6 year retreat. Contact in advance ( to book a room. The main teacher Drupon Rinpoche is there 6 months each year. You can do your own retreat and ask questions or receive teachings from him.
  • Simalchaur Shyampati - Namobuddha - Part of the Thrangu Rinpoche centers. A lovely monastery and a place for pilgrimage. They have simple and deluxe rooms. Info here: It’s great place, but a bit more noisy and distracting than the Bhaktapur Retreat Center because there are many visitors.
  • Lumbini, Nepal - The Panditarama Lumbini Vipassana Center International Vipassana Retreat Center is an excellent serious place to go deep into the Mahasi Sayadaw method.

Sri Lanka edit

Southeast Asia edit

Myanmar (Burma) edit

Thailand edit

Main article: Meditation in Thailand

Europe edit

France edit

  • Lot-et-Garonne - Plum Village - Europe’s largest monastic community, founded in 1982 by Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Organizes many retreats and programs.

United Kingdom edit

North America edit

Mexico edit

United States edit

California edit

New Hampshire edit

New Mexico edit

  • San Lorenzo - Southwest Sangha - Theravada-inspired (but nonsectarian) place for solo retreat that consists of a central building housing a kitchen and shrine room plus bathrooms and 4-5 "kutis" which in reality are just mobile home trailers with nice awnings built for shade. It has operated successfully on a pure dana basis for decades.

West Virginia edit

Washington edit

  • Newport - Sravasti Abbey - an American Buddhist monastic community where nuns and monks and lay students learn, practice, and live the Buddha’s teachings.

South America edit

Colombia edit

See also edit

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