Sleeping overnight at a Burmese monastery is quite different than staying at a hotel. For the meditator, the option of sleeping at a monastery is quite special, as it allows the group to remain in a Dhammic atmosphere all day-- and all night-- long. However, many Burmese monasteries are quite simple and do not provide the comfort or privacy that can be found at hotels. For this reason, pilgrims should carefully review the conditions at Burmese monasteries and make sure they are suitable.
Also, please note the specific condition of each monastery will differ. If you have specific concerns or health issues, please contact us here.
The concept of noise in public space has different cultural rules associated with it, and moreover, different people are sensitive to noise in different ways. Some Burmese monasteries may be very quiet, with only a few monks residing in it and surrounded by nature. Others may be noisier, with kitchen staffs, novices, lay supporters, and various loudspeakers interrupting the silence in different ways. Yogis who are sensitive to noise can bring earplugs. Others may use the sound as a meditation object in itself, observing noise as noise through the ear sense door.
Burmese custom is to bathe outside, at segregated water tanks, while wearing a sarong. The water is not heated and showers are usually taken by pouring buckets over one's head.
Where possible, pilgrims will be given private or shared rooms. However in some places, pilgrims will sleep together in segregated halls. In some cases, these may be used by the monasteries for other purposes, such as for study, dining, or meditation. Note however that segregation according to gender is followed scrupulously at monasteries, and so pilgrims need not worry about sharing private spaces with the opposite sex. (On this matter, couples should not expect to be able to stay with one another when sleeping at monasteries)
At monasteries, Burmese rarely sleep on mattresses. Basic mats will be provided to each pilgrim, but this is for the sake of cleanliness, so that one will not need to sleep on the floor. For those pilgrims who desire more comfort, consider bringing a yoga mat or inflatable mattress.