myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby olia_lia » Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:49 am

householder wrote:Do get the right visa. I stayed in a monastery in Pyin U Lwin on a non-meditation visa whilst doing volunteer work in the monastery, and the local authorities were not happy, although the sayadaw assured them I would be going a couple of days later (which I was going to anyway) so they let it slide.

It's damn hot here now and it's meant to be cool season, so I wish you all the best!


Thank you householder for the encouragement. It's a shame there is no feedback from jenny yet... I am considering of doing a hop to KL and trying the same thing if I don't get approval in another month. If anyone is up to do the same in a second decade of December - let me know - let's collaborate ;).

With Metta
Olga
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby householder » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:01 pm

I found the KL embassy quick, easy and painless to deal with. BKK had bigger queues and took longer overall, but in fairness their staff were great. I applied in KL a day after the April by-elections and was in and out within minutes, both to apply and collect the next day.

But for workload and changed plans re travel, work and life, I'd already be in Panditarama on an indefinite retreat!
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby startist » Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:58 am

Hi Householder! I'm just in the process of preparing to go to Mandalay in early Jan next year to do some volunteer teaching at a monastic school (in excess of 28 days). In the event of any delay to my 'meditation visa'... I was considering getting a tourist visa and paying the $3 per day charge for over staying. After reading your post I'm reconsidering that idea. Could you give me some idea about when, (like how long were you there), before the authorities came and checked your visa? Would it be reasonable to book a return flight to KL from Australia to get a meditation visa - if the process is so much shorter - and then book return flights to and from KL to Mandalay? Apart from getting the appropriate visa do you have any advice or suggestions for volunteer teachers? Any ideas or hints would be much appreciated.
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby householder » Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:58 am

I could write a small novel re education here! If you have no experience you'll have your work cut out and may find it frustrating or disappointing. Also remember that volunteer teachers are a dime a dozen here, and not all of them are particularly effective. The longer you're here the more you get a sense of what's needed, what works, what doesn't, what's helpful and what makes things worse despite good intentions.

As to the inspection, it was after around a week of staying there that the authorities turned up. To that point, given I'd been seen in town, and that Pyin U Lwin is a military town at that, it's not surprising that people were checking up on me. Since I was working with small children with no security vetting, I'm glad for the community's sake that they were checking up on me.

Business and meditation visas require 'sponsors' - a businessman or sayadaw. They are taking responsibility for you during your time in the country and it's not just a formality. Therefore, you will be asking the sayadaw to effectively vouch for you whilst you are in the country and on your visa. If you want a visa that has one set of conditions to cover for you doing things out of those conditions, think about what you're effectively asking your sponsor to do. If you do anything the authorities don't like, it will (not may) come back to the sayadaw and may affect his ability to sponsor business visas in future. It won't be obvious, but people watch and talk/report here, especially about foreigners. If the sayadaw is happy for this then that's their decision. Some may regularly 'vouch' for teachers on meditation visas provided they don't spend too much time out of the monastery. Others may not, depends on their prior experience, standing with the authorities, type of monastery etc.

My personal view is that the immigration laws should be complied with and not circumvented. It's for this reason that I'm registering at my new apartment, even though it is a horrendously time-consuming, bureaucratic and expensive process (imagine trying to register with a government agency that has a hierarchy at different offices across the city, you must notify each stage of the hierarchy, they all keep separate paper records and none of them talk to each other). I'm too invested here now, financially, emotionally and resource-wise, to risk being thrown out or having trouble caused to me or those around me.

It's not clear cut, sadly. All depends! I veer towards the cautious end. Others do all sorts on tourist, meditation and business visas and are fine. My risk assessment may be different to yours.

As to flights, I don't know whether there are direct flights to Mandalay from KL yet? There are from BKK. I prefer KL to BKK anyway so would recommend spending your time there before Myanmar.

No experience on getting meditation visas. My plan to do a long retreat at Panditarama is permanently shelved and I'm busy as anything here now (it's strange, as soon as you stop being a tourist/dhamma bum here and start working you get very busy very quickly). Want to do some more volunteer stuff when things calm down though, or even a day retreat (since I can't stay overnight).
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby startist » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:47 am

Thanks for the response. Have sent in an application (with invitation letter from the Sayadaw) for a meditation visa and still awaiting approval. Plan 'B' was to apply for a tourist visa if the meditation visa hadn't come through by January. However, if the process for obtaining a meditation visa is so much quicker in KL - as your post suggests - considered travelling to KL as a new plan 'B'. I agree that it's better to comply with laws and policies... which is why I would much rather have the right visa as a first option. You're right! There don't appear to be any direct flights to MDY from KL which means I might have to get myself to Yangon and then travel onto Mandalay.

Have had experience teaching in refugee camps and schools on the Thai Burma border, but never inside Myanmar. In some places things were very ordered and organised, other places were chaotic with constant changes to routines and timetables. Was wondering more about class size, whether there are power outlets in classrooms (to plug in a laptop), length of the school day and any culture shocks that might be in store... The Sayadaw (principal of the school) met me during a visit to a school in Mae Sot a couple of years ago and asked if I would spend some time 'introducing' critical thinking to teachers and students - that's what this invitation and trip is all about. But beyond knowledge of a large monastic school with students from grade 1 to grade 9 I'm not sure what to expect. If you could give me some ideas about what to expect as far as their system goes, or anything more that might be expected of me (in my role) I think I'll be able to plan and prepare lessons and activities more effectively. Thanks.
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby olia_lia » Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:35 pm

Ok, so this is an update on meditation visa from the embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok.
Applied for a visa on Tuesday. About.general procedure, location, opening times etc. you can find info for example here: http://www.myanmarvisa.com/bangkok.htm or here: http://http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2178162
There is no official info about meditation visa anywhere around at the embassy. What I did was:
Got a business visa application form from the copy shop. Filled it in.
Prepared all the other papers which I would have to have for a procedure in Kuala Lumpur (invitation letter from a monastry, endorsement letter from a monastry in country of residence, letter of undertakings, 2 pictures, passport copy).
When submitting the papers I was asked if I have been to Myanmar on meditation visa before. As I understood should it had been the case, they would have taken my passport straight away. But as it was my first time I was told that they have to contact my monastry and if they say that they really invited me, I will be called (I had thai nr. at that moment) and then I can bring my passport. All that should happen tomorrow/ after tomorrow.
Next day I went to one Wat for few days out of Bangkok. I kept my phone on, but nobody called me...So on Monday (6 days later) in the afternoon, when people come to pick up their visas I went to the embassy again to find out what's going on. When asked at the business visa counter about my visa I was told that I have to talk to the chief officer, wait for half an hour. In about 20 min. the same guy called me, asked some questions ( like what was my religion, how long am I meditating, when I am going and how long for), took my passport and in another 15 min. I was called again, paid 1440 bhatt and got back my passport with 3 month visa
So it is not as straight forward as in KL, but it is possible, if you are in Bangkok, then I would try first to get the visa here and only if unsuccessful, go to KL.
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Chi » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:09 am

I want to give an update on getting Burmese meditation visa in Bangkok.

The process is simple and painless.

The Embassy opens at 9:00 AM. I would recommend getting there at about 7:30 AM. When I got there this morning, there were already about 10-12 people waiting. By 9:00, I would say there were 75-100 people in line. Perhaps it was busier today because the Embassy was closed the day before due to a National Holiday in Myanmar. You can be in and out of the Embassy in literally 5-10 minutes if everything goes smoothly.

I recommend having everything prepared before you enter the Embassy. You need the Entry Visa/Business Visa form filled out, sponsorship letter from monastery, 2 passport photos, your passport, a copy of your passport, and 2115 Baht (about $65-$66, if you want to pick up on the same day). You can get the visa form, copies, and photos (if you need) done at the Print + Copy shop about 150m north of the Embassy (visa form and copy of passport was 6 Baht [roughly 15 cents]). You will see a yellow sign in the alley leading to the shop.

Go to Counter 4 and say "meditation visa." Today, the man said Counter 3 is where they give you a number for meditation visas, which is a bit confusing, since I had the documents ready, and all I needed was a number, and Counter 3 says "Thai Passport" or something similar. Don't go to the back of the line at Counter 3 if this happens. Just politely tell the next person in line at Counter 3 the man behind the counter said you are next and put your documents on the counter. It's OK to be assertive in the Embassy, because it is crowed, noisy, and whoever is the most assertive and prepared will be out of there the quickest. You get a number, and very soon (literally, right away, if you get there early), your number will be called to Counter 1, where you hand in your documents and money.

It was shockingly painless. They did not ask any questions. They just gave me a receipt to show when I come back in at 3:30 PM.

Be Happy!
Chi
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.
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Re: myanmar meditation visa, from embassy in bangkok?

Postby Babadhari » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:21 pm

thanks for the update, have a nice stay
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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