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Sixty Day Retreat
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  • The Eight Precepts
  • Satipatthana Meditation
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Getting to Burma
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Planning Your Trip
  • Climate
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  • Dress
  • What to Bring
  • Pre-departure
  • First-Aid kit
  • Staying Healthy
  • Illness & Emergencies
  • Health Guidelines
Emergency Contact
in Burma

Practice at Tathagata, San Jose California

Medical Clinic, Panditarama Forest Meditation Center


Health Insurance
The Burmese medical system does not accept payment through any type of insurance. However, in Rangoon, there are clinics with Western trained physicians and excellent hospitals in Bangkok and Singapore both of which are approximately a 1-2 hour flight from Burma.

Pre-Departure Health Preparation


Before leaving for Burma, you should have a medical check-up. If you require regular medication, obtain a copy of your prescription and an adequate supply.


There are currently no immunization requirements for entry into Burma except for yellow fever only if you come from an infected zone. However, if you are considering immunizations, you should consult with your doctor several months before your departure.


Hepatitis A is not as prevalent from November - January, as at the beginning of the rainy season in June.


This part of Burma is not considered to be a risk area. Due to potential side-effects from the prolonged use of anti-malarial drugs such as Mefloquine (branded as Lariam in the US) it is not recommended to take this during a retreat.


See your dentist before you go. In Yangon, there are dental clinics available if necessary.


If you wear glasses or contacts, obtain your prescription before you leave. Take a spare pair of glasses and/or a sufficient supply of contact lenses and cleaning solutions.

Suggested Medical and First Aid Kit

A small medical and first aid kit is advisable. Below are some suggestions:

  • Antibiotics: The clinic at the Forest Meditation Center will try to have a supply of antibiotics and anti-fungals. However, you may want to bring a course of antibiotics (e.g., Amoxycillin) with you.
  • Aspirin, Tylenol, and/or Ibuprofen for fever, pain, and inflammation
  • Bismuth preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium and/or Lomotil for stomach upsets and diarrhea
  • Laxative: During intensive meditation retreats; yogis sometimes complain of constipation.
  • Rehydration mixture for treatment of severe diarrhea
  • Antiseptic such as Betadine
  • Antibiotic powder or ointment
  • Band-Aids
  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Hydrocortisone cream for irritation and swelling from bites, stings, or rashes
  • Monistat or Femstat 3 for women
  • Eye drops and a general antibiotic ointment for eyes
  • Insect repellent such as Deet Plus or something similar
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription and Alternative Medicines; do not expect any of your prescription drugs or other medicines to be available in Burma.

Over the Irrawaddy

Staying Healthy

The Forest Meditation Center has been designed with the aim of providing the most suitable conditions possible in Myanmar for extended meditation retreats. In the event of a medical emergency, you should contact the office or the on-site clinic doctor.

If necessary, you will be taken to a private clinic or hospital in Yangon that is suitable for Western medical needs. If your condition is serious, arrangements can be made to evacuate you to Bangkok or Singapore where medical facilities are excellent.

Stomach upsets and diarrhea are probably the most common problems. Serious rashes, fungal infections, and dehydration can develop by ignoring basic body care for tropical conditions.

Excessive sweating in hot weather can result in heat exhaustion. To prevent heat exhaustion, drink plenty of fluids, and if necessary, replenish the body with special rehydration salt drinks.

Mosquitoes bite especially in the early morning before sunrise and in the evening during and after sunset. You can reduce your risk of being bitten by following these guidelines:

  • Keep your body covered with long sleeved shirts, robes, and longyis.
  • Use insect repellent (with the compound DEET) or other similar oils to ward off mosquitoes.
  • Use the supplied mosquito nets for sleeping and meditation.

Personal Hygiene and Body Care

Maintaining a high level of personal hygiene is essential in tropical climates like Burma to reduce the risk of serious health complications.


This is an itchy rash caused by sweat trapped under the skin. Treat with a talcum powder like Gold Bond.


Untreated fungal infections (especially in the tropics) can cause open wounds and more serious bacterial infections. To prevent fungus infections wear loose clothing, use sandals in the shower and keep problem areas dry.

confering with kitchen staff

Food and Water

Every effort is made to insure that the food and drinks served to the at the Forest Meditation Center will be suitable for foreigners. Special attention is paid to ensure proper sanitation in the dining hall and food preparation area.

At the center, the food will be served buffet style, and yogis will have a choice between vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. If you decide to eat vegetarian, we recommend that you bring an additional protein supplement, since the center may not be able to serve enough high quality vegetarian protein to meet your needs.

Please remember that the kitchen staff has to cater to over 150 people daily, and they will not be able to take care of any personal food needs you may have.

The center will provide purified bottled drinking water.

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