Location of Pa Pa Meditation Retreat
Via Personal Vehicle/Motorbike
From Chiang Mai
The easiest thing to do would be to click the "directions" button above on google maps, plug in your starting point, and then follow the guidance. However, here is an explanation of the proper path to go if you would like a summary in text form. When coming from the city, you should expect a 70km drive. Start heading towards Pai, Mae Hong Son by heading north on road 107 until km 35 where you will arrive at the Mae Malai junction. Turn left at that stop light in order to take road 1095 in the direction of Pai. It will be another winding 35 km drive through the mountains until you reach the entrance of the Pa Pae Meditation Retreat.
As you get closer, there will be 3-4 signs that are spaced out a few km apart that let you know how many km are left until you reach the Pa Pae Meditation Retreat. Once you start to see these signs, pay attention a little bit more closely since the turn is coming up. In fact, you have two options to turn left in order to arrive at our location.
The first option (suggested since it is quicker and only involves 1 turn) is at the top of a hill with a very large vinyl Pa Pae Meditation Retreat sign as shown in the picture. Take a left here and keep going straight on this small road that will lead you down a steep hill. Slow down as you reach the bottom, because you will soon turn left at a smaller wooden sign that says Pa Pae Meditation Retreat. You have now arrived.
The second option is more convenient for those traveling from Pai and will also be the stop that the public van (detailed in option 2 of the next section) will drop you off at, but can also be taken for those traveling by personal car from Chiang Mai. After passing the first option to turn left at the big vinyl sign, you will start going downhill. At the bottom of this hill, you will cross a small bridge and there will be a pink building called the Pa Pae Local Administration office ( อบต.ป่าแป๋/ “Aw Baw Dtaw Pa Pae“) and Pa Pae local hospital. Turn left after the pink building where there is a large tree that has a Pa Pae Meditation Retreat sign hanging from it.
Continue driving straight another 400 m until you reach a three way intersection where you will turn left and drive another 300 m up a hill until you come across a 4 way intersection. Continue straight until you see a small countryside gas station/convenience store on your right. You will take the next left onto a small street where there is a cement wall that has a painting of "Nermu" which is the coffee shop in that area. Follow this road as it curves left and you will soon arrive at the registration area/merit house on your left hand side.
Via Public Transportation
Option 1: Private Car/Grab
If you are looking for convenience and don't mind spending some extra money to be sent directly from Chiang Mai to our doorstep, then hiring a private car from the airport or getting a grab from your location will be your first option. It will cost anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 THB. So if you are traveling in a group, this fare can be split amongst each traveller and become more affordable.
If you require transportation from the airport to the arcade bus terminal where the public vans (addressed in the next option) depart from, then you may also use the taxi service with cars like the ones pictured above. Once you arrive from the domestic terminal and exit the baggage claim area, simply exit the door on the far left and talk to one of the people waiting at the curb that you want to go the arcade bus terminal and they will get one of these cars for you. It will be 200THB total.
Option 2: Public Van
The most popular and affordable way to get to Pa Pae from Chiang Mai is by public van from the Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Terminal. The vans exit the station once per hour from 6:30am - 5:30pm and will cost 150THB per person. Please make sure to reserve your ticket ahead of time as they can often run out. Reserve your ticket from Chiang Mai Arcade to Pai (or vice versa if you are coming from Pai) through the link found below. The Pa Pae Meditation Retreat is about half way between Pai and Chiang Mai, so this is the right route to take. Please note that if you need to get a van back to Chiang Mai after the retreat, you can get our staff's assistance in notifying the van that you will be getting on half way from Pai to Chiang Mai.
Once you arrive at the Arcade bus station, look for the stall that is shown in the picture which will be found towards the back of the parking lot near the 7/11. This is where you will check in with your passport in order to redeem the ticket that you have previously bought online. You must clearly tell both the person at the ticket counter and your driver that you want to get off at Aw Baw Dtaw Pa Pae otherwise, they will pass that stop, since it is not a typical stopping place. This has happened multiple times to previous participants, and it will require you to buy another ticket back the other way. If it is too late, you will have to find accommodation and wait for the following day.
In order to make sure that this doesn't happen, show your driver the following sentence in Thai, which clearly says the stop you want to get off at. Feel free to screenshot this highlighted sentence.
Once you get off at the stop, please call P Thun at 084-093-8383 and he can come pick you up at the stop and bring you to the retreat grounds. Otherwise, you can follow the signs and walk 1km to our site.