Myanmar is one of south-eastern Asia’s most beautiful countries where Buddhism is the most popular. Since the religion is spreading nationwide, related activities like meditation, Buddhist retreat are also very popular and taught in many monasteries and meditation centers. Whether or not you are Buddhist, a Buddhist retreat in Myanmar is a very useful way to help you to reduce stress, calm the mind, and gain inner peace.

1. Understanding Buddhism in Myanmar

Myanmar is known as a very spiritual country. A Buddhist influenced country with over 90% of the population practicing Buddhism. This country has beautiful Buddhist temples, pagodas, and monasteries in the world.


So, it isn’t hard to see why Myanmar is known as the most religious Buddhist country in the world. When traveling to Myanmar, you will see monks and nuns in high proportions nearly everywhere. Myanmar Monks may be seen walking barefoot across villages to receive breakfast and lunch offerings, taking selfies along the route, and talking to tourists at key tourist attractions.


Almost all major holidays have a Buddhist connection. Take the Burmese New Year, Thingyan, known also as the Water Festival, for instance. It has Hinduism roots. But it is also a period when the family celebrates their sons for a short time going to the Buddhist monastery.


Buddhism and spirituality are part of Burma’s daily life. The country’s culture nearly matches its religion. Besides much Burmese practice Vipissanann, over 90 percent of the Burmese practice Theravada Buddhism, which is quite orthodox and requires a strong commitment to tradition. 


You should strictly comply with a specified schedule and be disciplined. A meditation retreat can be new and relaxing or tiring and challenging depending on the type of person.

2. Experiencing the spiritual journey at a Buddhist retreat in Myanmar

If you’re looking for a spiritual journey, then Myanmar is a spot to consider. No matter if you are Buddhist already, or have a special interest in it. Visiting the temples and perhaps taking part in a Buddhist retreat in Myanmar can help you tap into your spirituality.

2.1. Take a Theravada Buddhism at Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery

As you know, Myanmar is a primarily Theravada Buddhist country, and an activity many Burmese people partake in is attending a meditation camp or Buddhist retreat in Myanmar during the holidays. Most monasteries and stand-alone meditation centers offer short-term programs, ranging anywhere from a day to a month. During your stay, you will learn and practice Buddhist meditation, mindfulness, and discipline. It can be a challenging experience, but it’s a great form of relaxation, learning, and self-development if you’re up for it.


For a truly enlightening and immersive retreat, Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery is a perfect location in Mon State, Myanmar. Established in 1926, Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery is situated in a lush forest on the outskirts of Mawlamyine. And it is home to one of Myanmar’s most well-known meditation retreats. Every year, hundreds of monks, nuns, and ordinary visitors from around the world travel here to practice meditation. The monastery is divided into Upper for men, Middle, and Lower for women.


Your Buddhist retreat includes daily home-cooked meals. The monastery has taken care to provide vegetarian food, reduced oil, and spice meals to guests. If you have any other dietary requirements, you can talk to your meditation teacher and visit a nearby market for alternatives.


Staying at Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery, you can surround yourself with nature in a scenic setting. Take a stroll around the sprawling grounds and appreciate the fresh air and clear sky. For the duration of your retreat, you will be staying in a cozy meditation hut called a Kuti.


However, practicing the Theravada branch of Buddhism is quite orthodox and requires a firm commitment to tradition. You are expected to strictly adhere to a  schedule and be disciplined. Depending on the person, a meditation retreat can be new and refreshing or tiring and difficult. 


Every day, you will be following a meditation schedule issued by the monastery. This includes a wake-up call at 3:30 am and a lights-out at 9 pm. Daily activities include:


  • Morning alms-gathering and breakfast at sunrise
  • Group sitting meditation sessions
  • Walking meditation sessions
  • Daily interview/check-in sessions with your meditation teacher
  • Evening chanting & Dhamma talk


Of course, you will also be given breaks and personal time in-between. At the end of each day, you can return to your quarters, reflect on a day well spent, and drift off to a peaceful slumber.


Staying at a meditation center is a great experience you can’t leave off your travel itinerary. No matter if it’s your first time traveling to Myanmar, a Buddhist retreat at Pa-Auk Tawya Monastery is a Myanmar must.


For some, taking part in a Buddhist retreat is a way of renewing and strengthening a sense of spirituality in their lives. For others, it’s a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. In either case, taking time for a Buddhist retreat in Myanmar, especially in a country so dedicated to it, is a great way to establish a daily practice that can help you with stress when you return home.

2.2. Visit some temples, monasteries, pagodas

If you decide to engage in a course of Buddhist retreat in Myanmar, you may want to tour some of the country’s many temples before and after as part of your experience. 

As one of the most devout Buddhist places on earth, thousands of beautiful Burmese temples have been constructed as striking symbols of devotion, as a focus for community life, and as a source of comfort and merit-making. Some of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful temples are found in Myanmar.


Bagan, one of the main tourist areas. This city is Myanmar’s biggest archeological area has over 2,200 temples, pagodas, and ruins. Rent an e-bike for the day and explore the thousands of temples scattered across the plains, to discover your secret, hidden gems. This is an excellent way to get yourself into the spirit of the journey you are about to begin.


Afterward, you might want to take a trip to Mrauk U, a more remote region that is home to hundreds of religious sites in a very small area. Wherever you go to Myanmar, temples, monasteries, and other religious places.

3. Tips and reminders for a happy Buddhist retreat in Myanmar

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and water-resistant sandals. Monastery rules require that guests refrain from dressing in revealing attire.
  • Bring your toiletries, towel, bedding, prescription medicine, mosquito repellent spray, a flashlight, a battery-powered alarm clock. But don’t worry if you forget something; you can always purchase everyday items nearby for friendly prices.
  • The monastery welcomes guests of all ages and nationalities looking to enjoy a peaceful and mindful retreat. Be open-minded and considerate; you can make new friends.
  • If you’re new to meditation, you might experience leg cramps. It can get uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it. 
  • Part of practicing Theravada Buddhism is abstaining from food afternoon. But don’t worry, you’ll be given refreshments, typically sweet beverages in the evenings.
  • Before you leave, consider a donation to the monastery. The Buddhist retreat in Myanmar provides food and lodging free-of-charge because it runs on the kind support of donors.