10-day Vipassana course in Gambang, Malaysia

Here is a quick update on what's been happening in the last month. After Thailand we spent a week in our beloved KL, in the same hotel and same room that we always book here. Funnily enough, after so many times every arrival in KL gives us a feeling that's very similar to the one which you experience on coming home after a vacation, but of course a much subtler shade of it :-)

In KL there was as always more Chinese and a little bit more work on some projects. Soon it was time to leave for our real destination in Malaysia - the picturesque location of the Vipassana retreat in Gambang (2 hours drive away to the east of KL). For those who are reading the word Vipassana for the first time, check our post from the previous course we did in Thailand to find out what it's about Vipassana - 10-day journey to the depth of our minds. I am also sharing some new thoughts, or maybe same but from a bit different angle, on Vipassana, and life, and what we are in "Welcome... to the real world."

After Vipassana, with fresh inspiration to continue the practice, we went back to our room at our hotel back in KL and spent the whole day there wandering around the city with our new friend Raphael who we met at the course and who it turned out was also flying to China where he currently lives and works, just one day ahead of us. Later that day a Malaysian woman who is a friend of Raphael joined us for the "wandering" and all four of us had great time talking about lots and lots of things. In the meantime we also celebrated Jordi's birthday with some fancy ice-cream. (For the past two years getting cakes for our birthdays has become a really challenging task, mostly due to locations we end up at for the day: last year Jordi had a muffin for his birthday which we greeted at the Everest Base camp, this year his birthday was on the 5th day of our Vipassana course - trust me, nobody came to him to silently give him a piece of cake with birthday candles :-). Anyway, we had a really great time with Raphael and his Malaysian friend - it was one of those rare cases of immediate "clicking together". If time and circumstances permit, we would definitely love to visit Raphael when we are passing through Beijing in a few months.

Next day we did some shopping for some sports clothes and shoes for our kungfu training, and in another day took our Airasia flight to Hanzhou airport (a city very close to Shanghai). We arrived at around midnight after a 5-hours flight, slept in a super comfortable and quiet airport and around 5 am (this is the time when all Chinese start their normal daily activities) shared a taxi with three Chinese guys to Hanzhou train station. At the train station we bought tickets for two long trains that would eventually deliver us at Qingdao after about 24 hours. Something we'd like to proudly share :-) is that ever since we arrived in China we had been relying on our Chinese for all the communication, and to our own surprise it has been going really well. Like for instance at the train station not only did we manage to get all the tickets (we were already able to do it last time in China), but we also succeeded in explaining that the route they were suggesting to us in the beginning was almost as expensive as a flight ticket, so in the end they found us a much cheaper route (for half the price). And later we also managed to come back and exchange our tickets for the first train from berths to seats - no problem at all and nothing but smiles from the young girl at the ticket counter :-)!

Well, as I mentioned after 24 hours on two different trains and more simple conversations with the curious locals in Chinese, we arrived at 7 am (and not a minute of delay) at Qingdao station. Our kungfu teacher (who turned out to also be a simply amazing human being - more on that in future posts) was already waiting for us. Two-three hours later we arrived at our destination - his sister's house in the city of Laixi. And that's where we are going to stay for some time to come, to learn kungfu and living in China :-) More on that in the next posts. And below are some photos of the last month.

KL, the week before the course

Herbal tea in China town, KL:

herbal tea in China town, KL

Food for hungry ghosts during Hungry Ghost week in China town, KL:

food for hungry ghosts during Hungry Ghost week in China town, KL

Food for hungry birds in China town, KL:

food for hungry birds in China town, KL

Noodles place in China town, KL:

noodles place in China town, KL

View from and around Backpacker Travellers Inn in China town, KL:

view from and around Backpacker Travellers Inn in China town, KLview from and around Backpacker Travellers Inn in China town, KL

view from and around Backpacker Travellers Inn in China town, KL

Petaling street in China town, KL:

Petaling street in China town, KL


Petronas at night, KL:

Petronas at night, KLPetronas at night, KL

Vipassana course, Gambang:

The course facility was located inside a palm oil plantation:

Vipassana course location, Gambang

The dormitories from outside:

dormitories from outside, Vipassana course, Gambang

Our rooms:

rooms, Vipassana course, Gambangrooms, Vipassana course, Gambang

The male canteen after we cleaned it at the end of the course:

male canteen, Vipassana course, Gambang

Vipassana course, GambangVipassana course, Gambang

Vipassana course, GambangVipassana course, Gambang

The Dhamma Hall:

Dhamma Hall, Vipassana course, Gambang

Dhamma Hall, Vipassana course, Gambang

The Mini Hall:

Mini Hall, Vipassana course, Gambang

The walking area of this facility breathes nothing but peace:

Vipassana course, Gambang

Vipassana course, Gambang

This gong sets the timetable "beat" at this Vipassana facility:

male canteen, Vipassana course, Gambang

Back to KL:

lanterns, KL, Malaysia

Other posts about Vipassana:

Vipassana - welcome to the real world.

Vipassana - 10-day journey to the depth of our minds.

Current Comments

2 comments so far (post your own)

Hi guys!

Olya, it's really a great pleasure to read your postings. Have you already started writing a book??

I wonder how Vipassana in Malaisia differed from the one in Thailand? As far as I remember it was the third Vipassana in your life. How are did you feel there?
What can you say about the facilities and other students?

Looking forward to the updates.

Posted by luda on Tuesday, 10.11.11 @ 22:58pm | #11

Hi, Luda!
So great to hear from you! It's been some time since our last mutual course back in Thailand :-)
Compared to Thailand, the dormitories in Malaysia are better - you get a nice room with an attached bathroom. Another difference that would be of interest to you is that there is more fruit diversity (so it might be a bit easier to go through a course following the raw diet).
One more difference is that there are no cells in Malaysia - if you want to meditate on your own, you go to your room. Other students are fine - everybody respects the rules and the schedule.
As to everything else, it's more or less the same as in Thailand (or in any other Vipassana meditation facility authorised by S.N. Goenka).
Personally, I loved it - I always do :-) (it is indeed my third course).
This is all the information that might be of interest to other people thinking about taking a course in Gambang - the rest will reach you in the email :-)

Posted by Olga on Wednesday, 10.19.11 @ 05:12am | #15

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