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As I understand it, a Non-Immigrant O is the way to go.

Two and a half years ago it was an ED visa. Has this changed?

This might vary from embassy/consulate to embassy/consulate. It's irrelevant once you've entered Thailand, as the extension of stay you need to stay year to year can be granted to holders of any non-immigrant visa.

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As I understand it, a Non-Immigrant O is the way to go.

Two and a half years ago it was an ED visa. Has this changed?

This might vary from embassy/consulate to embassy/consulate. It's irrelevant once you've entered Thailand, as the extension of stay you need to stay year to year can be granted to holders of any non-immigrant visa.

The paperwork and advice I was given was to get a one year ED visa. If you have the correct paperwork these are very easily obtained (I've been told).

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The Royal Thai Immigration website says nothing about a 'monk-to-be' visa, and I never heard of such a visa. Perhaps the non-immigrant O ('0' = 'other') can be issued for this purpose.

hmmm... if I remember correctly, the Non-I religious visa is for Monks, Mai-chees, novices & pak-kaows. Immigration doesnt care so much which one of these you are, what they really want, along with the usual fee and non-im form is the letter from the Department of Religious Affairs (GROM SASANA) at Puttamonton & a letter from the Abbot of the temple. There is a little green booklet in Thai that is issued by The Department of Religous affairs that covers all the visa requirements for all permutations of non-I religious in detail.

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I went to a Buddhist forum which I frequent and asked where was the cheapest place in Thailand to ordain as a monk and so far I got one response from a monk who recommends Wat Pah Nanachat (WPN) in northeast Thailand. This is a monastary in the Thai forest tradition. They tend to stay with the original teachings of the Buddha which is probably why you can have the simple ordination as originally taught by the Buddha...I think. Anyway I found that at a Buddhist forum called E-Sangha...you might google for them and if you go there the Theravada Forum is probably the one you would want to look at and make further inqueries......also....here is the link for Wat Pah Nanachat:


If you are interested you should contact them as soon as possible as there are arrangements that must be made to stay there and they can also probably give you good personal advice about your wishes to ordain......they speak English there (and Thai too!!).


Chownah, thank you so much for your help! Sorry for the late reply.

I am actually a member of E-sangha since April. I asked the Ven. Dhammanando and he replied to my queries, so I am now more in the know of what and how things are. Obviously I will need to get a job and work for a few months before going to Thailand.

Thanks again! :o

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  • 3 months later...

A few things spring to mind reading this thread.

What is your reason for choosing Thailand as the place to ordain?

Have you spent time in monasteries or intensive retreats before?

If the answer to the second question is no then I'd recommend that you go to England first (or alternatively Switzerland or Italy) and spend some time in a monastery. It will be much cheaper than going to Thailand, you'll gain some experience, make some contacts, get some good advice, and prepare yourself. Amaravati is probably the most accessable monastery.

Unless you are looking for a bit of spiritual adventure, which doesn't appear to be the case, I think it's important to get a good grounding before you go to Thailand.

The other thing to consider is that as you are 18 you won't be able to ordain as a monk, you'll have to ordain as a novice (th. samanairn) until you are 20. This may affect your visa status, I'm not sure, and affect how seriously Thais take you. Being Thailand you'll be able to find somewhere that bends those rules but they are probably not good places for you to be anyway.

How log do you expect to remain a monk? This may affect your options on where to ordain.

When I ordained 3 years ago I did so on a non-immigrant O visa, I got that based on my intention to ordain with a supporting letter from a monastery. I didn't have to ordain in the monastery that originally supported me if I didn't like it there when I arrived. A monk visa is 1 year renewal of that visa, I hadn't heard of getting a monk visa beforehand, but things might have changed since then.

The monastery should arrange for a lay supporter to pay your ordination costs, if they expect you to pay it could be they doubt your sincerity or it could be it's not the place for you.

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$1000 to ordain is too much for me. Are you sure about this? I figured out that I will have enough for my airplane ticket, visa, and travel in Thailand. I will keep asking around, including monks, but I hope the price for being ordained is as low as possible - actually, I thought it was free! :o

Sorry for the late reply.

Yes, I am sure that is what it cost me.

You can do it cheaper, much cheaper. But you must realise that Thais think Westerners are rich, and may expect more in the form of gifts and donations etc. How much you give, if at all, is up to you.


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  • 3 years later...

I have been living here in Thailand for the past eighteen years since retirement from the British Army at age 40.

I moved to Fang from Chiangmai 12 years ago after getting married to a local girl and we have two children. Since than I have been on the Non-immigrant 'O' married extension of stay yearly.

I ordained as a novice in Wat SriBunRuang Fang on the 9th May. I have been coming to the temple almost daily to teach the Dhamma and Meditation to foreigners who attend the MonkforaMonth project (Facebook= Monk for a month or my Facebook= Fabian Frederick Blandford).

I ordained as a monk on 21st july just before the start of the three months rains retreat.

Upon being advised that I could get a change to non-Immigrant 'R' one year extension of stay by taking a letter from the abbot to the national Office of Buddhism, Buddhamonthon, Nakorn Phrathom, and getting a letter from them.....which I would show to immigration... I went.

People know where the general area of buddhamonthon is...but not the actual place....so best to get a taxi. The actual office is a long walk from the main road if you take the bus.

My documantation was not complete...so I couldn't get the letter. They advised me as to which forms I needed filled in and signed...by the abbot, head monk of the district, and head monk of the province. I already was in possesion of the 'bai Suttee' which is the passport which all monks and novices carry.

Back to my temple and running around getting the signatures. They had given me an addressed envelope to send back to their office by EMS....which I did.

The wait for it to return....I was getting very close to the deadline when my visa would expire..on the 5th of this month...so they sent it direct to the Chiangmai immigration office.

Yesterday I went early......always a queue anyway. I eventually got my visa changed and a new one year extension of stay. cost 1900 Baht...plus about 3000 Baht more running about and down to BKK etc. (who says monks don't need money!!??)

advice...start a month before your visa expires.... if you enjoy walking, the grounds at buddhamonthon are extensive and have varieties of wildlife which seem very tame and easy to photograph.

I was informed that next year i shall be able to do the paperwork in Chiangmai instead of going to BKK.

Edited by fabianfred
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Vipassana meditation was mentioned on the MonkforaMonth's web site, pls explain in short how it is taught?

And why is there a waiting period of 6-month before one can ordain as a monk?

Anyway, from your story, money is definitely needed by monks. Good luck with your visa next year.

Thank you B)

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