When visiting Khao Tham, as well as attending retreat here, keep in mind that we are on the grounds of a Thai monastery. We are also now a part of traditional Thai culture, no longer the tourist-oriented world you may be used to.
One of the ways we show our respect for this world is in the way we dress. (Modest clothing and behavior will also get you real respect from the Thai people!)
At all times at Khao Tham
- Your clothing must be clean, and completely cover the body from the shoulders and upper arms down to below the knees.
- If you are visiting Khao Tham or the Temples, and are not prepared, there is a box in front of the Dining Hall where you can borrow long pants, shawls, etc. for covering yourself during your visit.
- We do not wear shoes in the meditation hall, temple, or dining hall — you must take off your shoes before you enter. If there are stairs to a hall or temple, you take off your shoes at the bottom of the stairs (this includes the viewpoint, which has the Buddha Footprint temple at the top).
Special care during retreat
We are not here to look beautiful — we are here to be beautiful!
- Pants and dresses should be loose-fitting and comfortable for sitting, yoga, and sleeping. You will also want them to be sturdy enough, or cheap enough, that you are comfortable wearing them for activities such as toilet-cleaning and leaf-raking.
- Clothing must completely cover the body: from the neck to elbows and to below the knees when sitting.
- Absolutely no yoga pants, no tight pants or shirts, no transparent, semi-transparent, or revealing clothing.
- Retreatants must adhere to the dress code at all times on the Khao Tham grounds.
- It is not necessary to dress in white during the retreat. But it does give a nice feeling, and it helps you set your intention. [more]
- it is disrespectful to wear clothes of “monk colors” — dusky yellow (saffron), through dusky orange through dusky maroon.
- We recommend modest, light, loose clothing, that’s easy to wash and is comfortable for meditation and yoga.
- Clothing without logos and loud designs is appreciated, and shows consideration of the equanimity of the people around you — which is why we are here!
Shoes and no-shoes
- The meditation halls, temples, dining hall, etc, are no-shoe zones — this means you will take off your shoes, and put them back on, every time you enter or leave.
- So it is recommended to bring shoe wear that is easily removable, for example flip-flops or sandals.
- At the same time, you may like your flip-flops/sandals to be somewhat sturdy, for walking up and down the Khao Tham paths. And sometimes we go on alms rounds with Phra Marut, or walk to some distant point for meditation with Phra Chaiwat.
- The same regulations are to be obeyed during our daily Mindful Yoga classes, and during the entire time you are on the Khao Tham grounds — not just during the 7-day Silent Retreat.
- We can be understanding how the calmness and peacefulness of our clothing reflects our care for the experience of our companions, and for the traditions and culture of our Thai hosts and monks.
- So it is all part of our mindfulness!