Attending the retreat

Things to expect regarding food, clothing, and physical conditions while at retreat.

Rules and Regulations

They are really “boundaries” — like a small child playing, they keep us safe while we explore our minds, our selves, and the dhamma!

We are safely bounded on four sides by the customs of our Thai hosts, our Code of Conduct, our Dress Code, and the eight Buddhist Precepts which we take at the beginning of retreat.

If a person cannot follow the Rules and Regulations of the retreat, they will not be able to attend.


There are two meals a day during the retreat, breakfast at 7 am, and lunch at 11am. There is also welcoming Thai food for the participants on the first day of activities, and farewell food for the final day.

The food provided is ovo-lacto vegetarian, which means it might contain eggs and milk. Sadly it is not possible to cater for a strict vegan diet. Chili and other spices are used in the cooking.

Filtered water and hot water are provided for drinking.

If you have special dietary needs due to illness or allergies, the kitchen staff may not be able to accommodate them. Please let us know about them to make sure you will be able to attend the retreat in this situation.


Retreatants must wear modest, loose-fitting clothing at all times. Please read and follow Kow Tham’s dress code.

We can be understanding how the calmness and peacefulness of our clothing reflects our care for the experience of our companions. Also keep in mind that we are on the grounds of a Thai monastery — the monks are under strict vows, and we would not like to make them uncomfortable. And here we are a part of traditional Thai culture; we are not in the Thailand of Bangkok or of the tourist beaches!


There are many different sitting options, including meditation stools, chairs, cushions, and mats in many sizes, that will hopefully allow for a satisfactory meditation experience.


Kow Tham is built on a hill, and steep paths and stairs connect the various parts. There is a steep road between the dining hall and the meditation areas, and stairs to the dorms and on the paths between. All of these are sometimes slippery, especially during rain.

Special needs

We will try our best to make your stay at Kow Tham as convenient as possible. However the purpose of retreat is to let go of our needs and wants, and so Kow Tham is not set up to cater to them.

We are here to learn how to let go of what we are clinging to — we learn that all clinging is a source of suffering.

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