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Note: We're pinning this existing thread to the top of the Buddhism subforum so that anyone with experience in obtaining Thai visas for the purpose of ordaining as a monk in Thailand can find the information more easily.

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Hello!

I am 18 years old, from Bulgaria (Europe). I want to ordain in Thailand as a Buddhist monk in the coming months.

Today I called the Thai Consulate in Bulgaria for information on my visa and they told me that I need to get a letter from the monastery I want to ordain at, and an invitation from a Thai "Institution".

So there is the problem. I want to travel around Thailand first and choose a monastery that I like, not choose one just from looking at their web site for example - you know what I mean. But then I wouldn't have the "letter" to show to the Embassy. And also, I don't know a single Tai person, let alone an "Institution". How am I to get an invitation from one?

Is it possible to get around this? For example, can I apply not for a "Non-Immigrant" Buddhist Visa, but for a "Tourist" visa? And when I'm there, go to a neighbouring country like Malaysia and get a NI visa. Is this possible? What will they want me to have? Would I need an invitation again? Do I have to show money? If so, how much?

Thank you very much for any info you can provide me with!

Kop koon krap! :o

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Hello!

I am 18 years old, from Bulgaria (Europe). I want to ordain in Thailand as a Buddhist monk in the coming months.

Today I called the Thai Consulate in Bulgaria for information on my visa and they told me that I need to get a letter from the monastery I want to ordain at, and an invitation from a Thai "Institution".

So there is the problem. I want to travel around Thailand first and choose a monastery that I like, not choose one just from looking at their web site for example - you know what I mean. But then I wouldn't have the "letter" to show to the Embassy. And also, I don't know a single Tai person, let alone an "Institution". How am I to get an invitation from one?

Is it possible to get around this? For example, can I apply not for a "Non-Immigrant" Buddhist Visa, but for a "Tourist" visa? And when I'm there, go to a neighbouring country like Malaysia and get a NI visa. Is this possible? What will they want me to have? Would I need an invitation again? Do I have to show money? If so, how much?

Thank you very much for any info you can provide me with!

Kop koon krap! :o

I am going to make a suggestion.

Are you allowed to come to Thailand as a tourist on a visa on arrival at the airport - or do Bulgarians have to get visa before they leave for Thailand?

If you are entitled to a 30 or 15 day visa on arrival then that is what you should do.

Then, as soon as you are ordained (which shouldn't take long - because I used to be a Thai Budhist Monk myself) ask your Ajarn (your Buddhist monk Superior to issue you with your Monk ID bokk - known as "Yellow Pages" because it is a little yellow book), and with this and a supporting letter from him, go and get a visa extension.

You will not be exempt from visas as a monk, but you will get your visa extended as long as you stay a monk, although I think you may still have to leave and do a few return trips (I am not sure about that - visa rules are changing alot at the moment).

The point I am making is you should get on the visa ladder in Thailand if you can, and not try and complete all this in your own country - alot easier if you are here in Thailand.

I wish you all the best in monkhood.

Tim

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I am going to make a suggestion.

Are you allowed to come to Thailand as a tourist on a visa on arrival at the airport - or do Bulgarians have to get visa before they leave for Thailand?

If you are entitled to a 30 or 15 day visa on arrival then that is what you should do.

Then, as soon as you are ordained (which shouldn't take long - because I used to be a Thai Budhist Monk myself) ask your Ajarn (your Buddhist monk Superior to issue you with your Monk ID bokk - known as "Yellow Pages" because it is a little yellow book), and with this and a supporting letter from him, go and get a visa extension.

You will not be exempt from visas as a monk, but you will get your visa extended as long as you stay a monk, although I think you may still have to leave and do a few return trips (I am not sure about that - visa rules are changing alot at the moment).

The point I am making is you should get on the visa ladder in Thailand if you can, and not try and complete all this in your own country - alot easier if you are here in Thailand.

I wish you all the best in monkhood.

Tim

Thanks for your reply!

Yes, Bulgarians have to get visa before leaving for Thailand, not at the airport.

Thanks for the suggestion - I will certainly do what you say - get the Tourist visa, and then extend it. You were most helpful to me!

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A problem again. It seems like they want a return ticket to issue a Tourist visa. This ticket costs more than I can afford.

So, I have to stick with the Non-Immigrant visa (which allows One-Way Tickets). Which means that I have to obtain a letter from a Monastery and an Invitation from a Thai Institution...

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Then get a tourist visa - choose the right one - loads of advice on this forum about how to go about it so dont worry - you'll get it one way or the other, and get 1 year open return ticket.

- and when you get here drop me message - I'll put you in touch with one of Thailands most revered foreign Forest hermit monks - a man who has lived the last 20plus years in a cave in the bush and has a very committed Thai following.

He'll be able to give you a load of very good advise

........... and dont worry about the return portion - if you're still a monk after one year the chances are you'll stay a monk allot longer and then "material tings" like money and planes tickets are no longer important!

Good luck

Tim

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If you can not afford a round trip ticket I suggest that you reconsider if you have enough resources in the event that things don't go as smoothly as planned. As a monk you may have to buy soap and toothpaste etc. but I'm not sure. I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm only suggesting considering what the possible eventualities might be.

Chownah

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Depends what temple you ordain with. Some temples organise everything for you (the farang temples), with other temples it is 100% your responsibility. So, if this is the case (a 'real' Thai temple) I highly recommend getting a letter of sponsorship & visa beforehand. This small investment in time could save hours and days and months of running around in bkk getting signatures from high level monks, going to other various places for signatures and other expensive and gumption depleting activities.

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If you can not afford a round trip ticket I suggest that you reconsider if you have enough resources in the event that things don't go as smoothly as planned. As a monk you may have to buy soap and toothpaste etc. but I'm not sure. I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm only suggesting considering what the possible eventualities might be.

Chownah

He's right - if your coming without extra money up your sleeve (carry a card, dont carry cash!), it may not go smoothly. When you get ordained its going to cost you, your temple, or your lay sponser quite a bit of money for the ceremony. If your temple wont pay (normally they dont) and you dont have a lay sponser (thai parents normally are the sponser) then you may have to pay. What about your visa costs? Just some ideas to think about.

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If there were a Thai temple in Bulgaria, I'd suggest getting a letter from them. Otherwise without money for a return ticket I don't see how you're going to be able to come to Thailand.

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Hi

I started down this road a couple of years ago and received a lot of help from the World Buddhist University in Bangkok. They supplied me with all the documentation I needed to obtain an educational visa and they found me a place at a Wat where there was some English spoken. Try emailing [email protected] and/or [email protected] Khun Pinayo Prommuang was particularly helpful.

Without wishing to be flamed (I don't normally read the Buddhism forum here), I'd recommend you find out as much about Thai Buddhism as possible before coming here.

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Hi

I started down this road a couple of years ago and received a lot of help from the World Buddhist University in Bangkok. They supplied me with all the documentation I needed to obtain an educational visa and they found me a place at a Wat where there was some English spoken. Try emailing [email protected] and/or [email protected] Khun Pinayo Prommuang was particularly helpful.

Without wishing to be flamed (I don't normally read the Buddhism forum here), I'd recommend you find out as much about Thai Buddhism as possible before coming here.

Excellent suggestions, MarkBKK.

If that email doesn't work (the wb-university.org doesn't appear to) then you could try emailing [email protected] as the WBU is affiliated with the World Fellowship of Buddhists in Bangkok. Come to think of it, the WFB might also be helpful. I also have an older email address for Aj Pinayo: [email protected]

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Thank you all for the replies!

Currently I have 990 Euro in my bank account. My family may hopefully support me with more. The visa costs 50 Euro, the plane ticket: between 600 and 1600 Euro. I may have to work to earn more money, if all this proves costly...

sabaijai and MarkBKK, thanks for providing me with the contact links. I will check them out.

How much money will I need for the ordination and the whole stay at the monastery? I thought it was all free?

I have to list all the things and work according to this plan.

1. Visa:

- letter from monastery or 500 Euro or invitation from a Thai Instittution/Company

- the visa costs 25 or 50 Euro depending on whether it's Non-Immigrant or Tourist Visa

2. Airplane Ticket:

- One Way: 600 Euro

- Round Trip: 1100-1600 Euro

3. Thailand expenses:

- Ordination Ceremony: ??? Euro

- Monastery expenses: ??? Euro

- Travel in thailand: ??? Euro

4. Second visa: from Malaysia or Cambodia.

- price: ??? Euro

I think that's all that's needed.

There are no Thai temples in Bulgaria. Also, I don't have a Credit Card. I have read enough about Thai Buddhism, or so I think. I am a Tharavadin, of course.

So far, I know of two monasteries that converse in English ( I don't speak Thai): Wat Prathat Doi Suthep and Wat Pah Nanachat. Are there any others?

Thanks again for your so very helpful responses and advice!

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There are monks in many places that speak some English.

The ordination ceremonies etc are all pretty much extremely low expense. It really is worth finding a place you like FIRST before ordaining. <worth reading the book Pra Farang too!>

I am fond of Nakhon Si Thammarat as there is a Buddhist University there. There is an awesome 'meditation' temple there <Wat Chai Na> that is used to dealing with farang.

Section 5 at Wat Mahathat near the grand palace in BKK may be able to point you along the way to finding a place to ordain. <Last time I was there in June there were 2 farang monks>

Good luck!

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How much money will I need for the ordination and the whole stay at the monastery? I thought it was all free?

When Thais become monks the parents or another lay sponser usually has to pay for the ordination. A well known temple can cost between 10000-20000 baht for ordination. Smaller, quieter temples should cost less.

As for the stay, food and accomodation is free. You may have to pay your own electricity costs... All this depends on the temple. The info I have given really is based on my own observations, different temples do things differently.

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Eu.stefan,

I haven't priced a plane ticket for a couple of years so I'm not current on the prices but I think that you might be able to find a round trip ticket for nearly the same price as the one way ticket. My experience has been that the one way tickets would never save me much compared to the round trip.....maybe things have changed or it is different in Bulgaria. Maybe shop around on the internet or shift your plans to a time of year when travel is cheaper....don't know.

Chownah

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