Category: Temples

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

Temple of the Reclining buddha

One of Thailand ’s most famous landmarks, the Grand Palace is a must-see for every visitor. The dazzling array of its architectural and spiritual wonders will leave you amazed. Walk among mesmerizing statues that gaze at you the same way they did at kings centuries ago.

This huge compound was constructed to be a city within the city: situated on Rattanakosin Island, it occupies an area of about 1 square mile. Its foundations were laid down in 1782 by King Rama I, the first member of the Chakri dynasty. Later rulers added their own contributions to the complex, increasing its architectural diversity. One can identify several building styles besides the classic Thai style: European (Victorian) and Chinese elements are present in the later structures. The walls of the outer cloister are covered with murals that depict the entire Ramakien (Thai version of the Ramayana) in colorful art.

Temple of the Reclining buddha

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, known to Thai people as Wat Phra Kaew, is situated within the Grand Palace compound. It is in the outer section of the Royal Enclosure. It was built on the orders of King Rama I along with the main Grand Palace and Rattanakosin Island . Though it is called a temple, it has no resident monks. The main purpose of Wat Phra Kaew is to house the Emerald Buddha, the most revered symbol of Thai Buddhism. Its origin and sculptor are unknown; legends and myths surround the mysterious icon. It was originally discovered in Chiang Mai in 1464 under strange circumstances. It was taken into Laos , but Taksin the Great brought it back from Vientiane . Ever since, it has been a Thai national symbol, in addition to its religious relevance. The statue has three robes – one for each season. The robes are housed in the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion of the Grand Palace . Changing the robes at the beginning of each season has been royal privilege in the past, as it is today.

Temple of the Reclining buddha

Phra Sri Ratana Chedi , a circular structure that enshrines a sacred Buddha relic, a piece of his chestbone.

Mondop : This structure stands behind Prasat Phra Thepidon, and was built in the reign of King Rama I. Inside is a cabinet beautifully decorated with mother-of-pearl, holding Buddhist scriptures.

Model of Angkor Wat : King Rama IV had this built by Phra Samphopphai when Cambodia was under Siamese control. The model was recreated in plaster at the behest of King Rama V to celebrate the first centenary of the Royal City .

Prasat Phra Thepidon : This four-square prang, originally called Puttaprang Prasat, was built in the reing of King Rama IV. Inside are statues of Kings Rama I – VIII, to which the public pays respect on Chakri Day (April 6) every year.

Phra Atsada Maha Chedi : this group of eight chedis stands in front of the temple. It was built in the reing of King Rama I and dedicated to the heavens. Six of the group are outside the balcony, two are inside. Each has its own name.

Temple of the Reclining buddha

Hor Phra Khanthan-rat: Standing in the western corner of the balcony, this is where the Phra Puttakhanthan-rat figure is enshrined. It presides over the royal rain-making ceremony and the ceremony of the first rice planting. Inside are the paintings by the mural artist Khrua In Khong.

Hor Phra Ratcha Karamanusorn : Inside this structure are 34 Buddha images in various positions. The building was built by King Rama III and dedicated to the kings of Ayutthaya and Thonburi.

Hor Phra Ratcha Pongsanusorn : Built in the reing of King Rama IV, this is the location of the Buddha image of the reigning King of the Rattanakosin era. Inside are murals of Royal chronicles of Ayutthaya by Khrua In Khong.

Hok Phra Nak : Situated behind the temple, this traditional Thai building roofed with glazed tiles contains the ashes of the Royal Family.

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: Thanon Na Phra Lan

Tel: (02) 224-3328 226-0255
Fax: (02) 225-9158

To get there :

1. By bus: No 8, No 12
2. By boat: Chao Phraya River Express (disembark at Tha Chang)

Open: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm daily

Admission: 500 ฿ per person (foreigner); Free for Thai people

Ticket price includes admission to Vimanmek Mansion and to the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion, as well as a guide booklet.

Free English tours are available daily; do-it-yourself visitors can rent audio headsets with a map, near the ticket office. Photo ID and a credit card are required for the latter one.

Dress code must be observed. No country allows visitors dressed in swimsuits to enter its national monuments; Thailand is no exception. Please use common sense.

The sign says it all: no shorts, sleeveless tops or any revealing dress. No open-heeled sandals. If necessary, you may rent appropriate footwear and clothing from the Grand Palace authority booth free of charge.

Misc :

Thai name for the Emerald Buddha: Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakorn / Phra Kaew Morakot

Getting there by car is not recommended due to heavy traffic. Nevertheless, nearby parking lots are at Ratchavoradit Pier and Sanam Luang Wat Mahatat

Wat Phra Kaew: sermons are held at 1pm every Sunday

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:

1. National Theatre
2. Khao San Road
3. National Museum
4. Mae Toranee Statue
5. Sanam Luang
6. Wat Mahathat
7. City Pillar
8. Wat Rajapradit
9. Wat Rajabophit
10. Wat Pho
11. Wat Arun

Piers:
A. Thai Thien
B. Tha Rong Mo
C. Tha Chang
D. Tha Maharat
D. Tha Phra Chan

Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple)

The Marble Temple

Chances are, you have already seen the image of this temple – it is featured on the back of the 5-baht coin. In 1898, King Rama V ordered the construction of Dusit Palace, the first royal palace outside the city walls. The old Dusit temple and another deserted temple on the palace grounds were dismantled. The new temple was designed by Prince Naris, the famous artist and half-brother of King Rama V. The temple was built using white Carrara marble imported from Italy – hence its tourist name, the Marble Temple. The original name, Wat Benchamabopit means The Temple of the Fifth Great Monarch, which was King Chulalongkorn, Rama V.

The Bot is a prime example of modern Thai architecture. It is a four-sided structure with a four-tiered roof and a corridor in the back. The courtyard behind the Bot exhibits 53 Buddha images representing different periods of Buddhist art. It also has Buddha images from other Asian countries such as Japan China, India and Tibet. Two are worth extra attention: The Sukhotha-style Buddha image in Walking posture and the one in Subduing Mara posture are said to be the most beautiful of their kind.

Inside the temple, the large Buddha image is the replica of Phra Buddha Chinnarat, under which are the ashes of the revered King Rama V.

The area that separates monks from laypeople is connected by bridges, built in several styles such as cup bridge, tusk bridge, image bridge etc.

Wat Benchamabophit is a pleasant place to visit early in the morning when the monks are chanting. Unlike in most other temples, monks don’t go out seeking alms but are instead visited by merit-makers between 06.00-07.00 in the morning. Other good times to visit the temple are during certain festivals that are held there – for information, see the side panel.


View larger map

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 69 Rama V Road

Tel: 0 2281 2501, 0 2628 7947

To get there: it is situated on the corner of Th Si Ayutthaya and Th Phra Ram V, diagonally opposite to Chitlada Palace. Buses 72 and 503, and air-con bus 3 stop nearby.

Open: 06.00-18.00 daily

Admission: 20฿

Other: School on Buddhism on every Sunday, 13.00-16.30

In April: Entering Monkhood Ceremony

In July: Hilltribe Entering Monkhood Ceremony

In October: Tan Kuai Salak Festival.

 

Wat Indrawihan (The Standing Buddha)

The Standing Buddha

It is an awesome feeling to stand before this Buddha image that reaches to the sky at 32 metres tall.During the reign of King Rama I he suppressed a rebellion in Laos and brought members of the Lao royal family to settle in this area. One of these was Chao Inthawong, who was a devout Buddhist, helped to restore the local temple which is now Wat Intharawihan.

In 1867, Somdej Phra Buddhachan started the construction of this giant Buddha called Luang Pho To, logs and structural steel were used as alternate abutments. After his death in 1872 construction continued until completion in 1927. This spanned the reigns of King Rama IV to King Rama VII.

Luang Pho To stands 32 metres tall and is 11 metres wide. As it faces east, it is best photographed in morning light.

IMG_2694

On two occasions, in 1964 and 1967, Their Majesties The King, The Queen and their children covered this statue of Buddha at the Topknot and forehead with gold leaves.

The Topknot contains relics of The Lord Buddha which were donated by the Government of Sri Lanka and placed there in 1978 by H.R.H The Crown Prince Vachiralongkorn.

For Bangkoks Bi-Centennial Celebrations in 1982, the then Abbot, Phra Khru Woraphattikhun carried out restoration including decoration with 24 K golden mosaics from Italy.

Devotees believe that Luang Pho To can bless everyone with success, particularly if they present the head of a mackerel fish, a boiled egg and a lei of flowers.


View larger map

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 114 Kasat Road

Tel: 0 2628 5550-2
Fax: 0 2282 8429

To get there : located on Kasat Rd. not far from the intersection of Samsen Rd.
By boat: get off at Tha Thewes and away from the river.
Bus routes 10, 49

Open: 08.30-20.00 daily

Admission: free

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:

Bank of Thailand Museum, National Library

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

 IMG_2758

Its official name is Wat Phrachetuphon Vimon Mangkararam Ratchaworamahawihan, although it is commonly called Wat Po.Founded during the 16th century, Wat Pho is most famous for the golden reclining Buddha that measues 46 metres and has feet inlaid with mother-of pearl. This is the main attraction that draws visitors to the temple. In more modern times, Wat Pho has gained international recognition as a meditation centre and for the traditional Thai massage that is both practiced and taught here.

Traditionally, temples were the schools as there was no formal education system, with monks providing basic lesson in both spiritual and secular subjects. King Rama III turned Wat Po into a major centre for learning in botany, geography and history.

Bas reliefs around one of the main buildings depict the story of the Ramakian which is the Thai adaption of the Indian Ramayana.

For those interested in traditional Thai medicine, there is a pavilion that serves to both impart knowledge and provide treatment. The walls have marble tablets describing basic anatomy and treatments. In the late afternoon, traditional medicine practitioners are there to dispense herbal mixtures. Nearby, there is a cloister where you can have a traditional Thai massage for a very small payment.

** In  2008, the historic marble inscriptions in Wat Pho have been registered with UNESCO’s Memory of the World (MOW) as MOW documentary heritage for Asia and Pacific Region

Wat Pho

THINGS TO SEE:

Reclining Buddha: this celebrated Buddha image is the work of artisans from the Department of Ten Crafts. On the soles of the image’s feet are the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha in mother-of-pearl inlay. In the reign of King Rama III the entire image was gilded with gold.

Chedi: this temple features an impressive collection of chedis; there are 99 of them. The four most famous chedis are called Phra Maha Chedi of the Four Reigns.

Phra Putthadevapatimakorn: the principle Buddha image is enshrined in the ubosot. It contains Buddha relics and the ashes of King Rama I.

Phra Phuttaloknatsasadajan: this image stands in an alcove behind the wihan. It is the tallest bronze standing Buddha image.

Wihan: there are 12 wihan in Wat Pho, more than in any other temple. There are four Phra Wihan Thit, four Phra Wihan Kod, two Phra Wihan Noi, the Wihan of the Reclining Buddha and a Royal Wihan.

Wasukree Mansion or Poet’s house: this was the residence of Somdet Phra Mahasamanachao Krom Phra Paramanuchitchinoros, one of the finest Rattanakosin era poets.

Wat Pho School of Traditional Medicine and Massage: preparation of herbal medicines and diagnosis are taught here, as well as the traditional massage seen in the sculptures compiled on King Rama III’s orders. The teaching is practical, and every day large number of visitors, Thai and foreign come to study and to be massaged.

Chao Phor Krommaluang Chumporn Shrine: This was moved from Nanglerng Bridge to the Phra Wihan Noi, near the southern gate.


View larger map

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 2 Sanamchai Road (south of Grand Palace)

Tel: 0 2222 1969
Thai Massage School: 0 2221 3686

To get there:
Bus routes 1, 3, 12, 25,44, 47, 53, 60, 82, 91, 501, 508
the temple is just south of the Grand Palace. Nearest pier is Tha Tien.

Open: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm daily

Admission: 50 ฿ per person (foreigner); Free for Thai people

Website: www.watpho.com

 Other:

– Dress code must be observed.
– Massage, Thai medicine and herbal therapy courses (7 – 10 days)
– Traditional Thai massage services (200 baht an hour)

-Free English tours are available daily.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Grand Palace,Wat Arun, National Museum, Museum Siam

Piers:
A. Thai Thien
B. Tha Chang
C. Tha Prannok
D. Tha Maharat
E. Tha Bangkok Noi

About Thai Temples

A Wat (Temple) is the Buddhist compound for religious functions. Ordination of monks, housing important relics, performing everyday ceremonies, holding festivals – all these happen in the wat. All villages have at least one temple; towns and cities have several. Bangkok has more than 500 temples. Wats are open to all visitors. Most are closed on holidays and during important temple ceremonies such as ordination.

Entrance is usually free; the most famous ones charge a small fee to certain areas. Additionally, there may be another small charge for parking on the temple grounds. Donations are always appreciated. There are different ways of donating money: using a donation box or buying candles/golden leaves/lotus flowers and other ceremonial objects. The larger wats also have Buddha images and amulets for “rent” (for sale).

Inside the compound

Unlike chruches and mosques, which usually house everything in one building, a Buddhist temple consists of multiple buildings in one compound. Each building or construction fulfills a unique function: The Bot (Ubosot) serves as the ordination hall where novice monks get ordained into the order. This is also the building where Buddha’s teaching are recited. This place is considered sacred.

Viharns are chapels where monks assemble and lay-people gather for Buddhist rituals, meritmaking, sermons etc. Bots and Viharns are structurally and stylistically very similar; one major architectural difference is that the former has sema (boundary stones) that separate the consecrated area from the outer world.

The purpose of many wats is to house an important Buddha relic, for which they build a chedi (relic chamber), a bell-shaped, golden or white structure. This used to be the most prominent feautre of the wat, but its significance declined in the late Ayutthaya period and early Rattanakosin period. Stupas perform the same function, but are less circular shaped and are more intricately carved. Many types of stupa are of Khmer origin, and appear only with the most important religious buildings. Mondop, Prang (corn-shaped stupas), Po Rakang (bell tower), kuti (monks’ dwellings), scripture halls and crematoriums are characteristic structures of a typical Thai Buddhist temple ground.

Dress code and respectful behavior

Like religious buildings of other cultures, the Buddhist temples of Thailand have a set of strictly enforced rules for correct dress code and behavior on the sacred grounds. Tank-tops, short-sleeved shirts, shorts, open-heeled sandals are considered improper wear; visitors dressed in such manner will be prohibited from entering the wat. Temples that are frequented by tourists may have proper clothes and footwear for rent, but smaller temples may not.

Sitting and climbing on Buddha statues is prohibited (should be obvious, but it isn’t). All statues of Buddha must be treated with reverence, no matter how weathered or ruined they may appear. Women cannot touch monks. If you choose to participate in Buddhist ceremonies, you are welcome to do so in most cases. As a rule of thumb, observe what Thais do around you, and follow them. Do not sit cross-legged on the floor! Buddha and the monks may do it, but laypeople don’t.

Obey the signs! If photography is prohibited, don’t “sneak” a few pictures in. Eating and drinking are other prohibited activities.

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

wat arun

Wat Arun on the bank of the Chao Phraya River is one of Bangkok’s world-famous landmarks and the most impressive sight on the river. The temple was built even before Bangkok became Siam’s capital. It was already present in the Ayutthaya era, according to a French map of Thonburi during the reign of King Narai.

When King Taksin established the new capital of Thon Buri on the left bank of the Chao Phraya, the temple was assimilated into it. He also renamed it from Wat Makok to Wat Chaeng. Soon the capital was moved to the other bank of the river at the beginning of the Rattanakosin period, but Wat Chaeng remained an important temple. King Rama II heightened the central prang (pagoda) of the temple, which became its most prominent feature reaching an impressive 66.8 meters. Later, King Rama IV granted its new name: Wat Arun Ratchavararam, or the Temple of Dawn, as it is known today.

Ubosot: this is an outstanding example of Rama II-period architecture in late Ayutthaya style. It has a two-tiered roof with glazed ceramics and pediments decorated with wooden carvings depicting Warunthep. The interior murals were painted during thee Third and Fifth Reigns. Pillar finials are decorated with gold leaves and colored glass. Phra Phutthathammitrararatchalokthatdilok, the principal Buddha image in the Subduing Mara (demon) posture, was cast in the reign of King Rama II and contains royal relics.

Prang: This brick stupa is decorated with millions of broken glass and Chinaware fragments arranged in flower and leaf designs and other Thai patterns. The top is gilded and adorned with the royal crown. King Rama III ordered the crown to be placed there, as a symbol of his intent that his brother, the monk Prince Mongkut should follow him on the throne.

Phra Rabiengkote: this corridor is in place of the kampaeng kaeo found in most other temples. It has a tiled roof with doors opening onto four directions. Inside are 120 Buddha images in the Subduing Mara posture.

Mondop of the Buddha’s Footprint: A chapel surmounted by a spire, it stands between the ubosot and the wihan. It was built during the Third Reign, and houses a copy of the footprint of the Buddha carved in Kwatong stone and decorated with colorful porcelain.

Ogre Statutes: Guarding at the gate are two yaksha (ogres). The white one is Sahassadecha and its green partner (supposedly) is Tosakan, the villain from the Ramakien (though in the story he is black, with multiple heads and arms).

 

THINGS TO KNOW: 

Address: 34 Arun Amarin Road

Tel: 0 2465 5640

To get there: Bus routes 19, 57, 83
take a cross-river ferry from Tha Tien on Thai wang Road, which is near Wat Pho (see map below).

Open: 07.30-17.30 daily

Admission: 20฿

Website: www.watarun.org

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS: Wat Pho,  National Museum ,Museum Siam

Piers:
A. Tha Thien
B. Tha Chang
C. Tha Prannok
D. Tha Maharat
E. Tha Bangkok Noi

 

Wat Bowon Niwet

This temple is located on Phra Sumen Road in the Bang Lamphu area.  Built in 1829, it is the shrine-hall of Phra Phutthachinnasi, a very beautiful Buddha image which was molded in about 1357.  This is one of the most important temples of Bangkok, whose one-time chief abbot was King Rama IV before he ascended the throne. King Rama IV and King Rama VII, as well as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had resided here during their monkshood.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0 2281 2831-3

Nearby Attractions: Khaosan Road., Democracy Monument, Phra Athit Road

Wat Dusidaram

This temple was founded in the Ayutthaya period on the west bank of Chao Phraya River , near the mouth of Bangkoknoi Canal , and formerly known as Wat Saoprakhon. HRH Princess Srisunthorn thep, the daughter of King Rama I restored it, and Krom Phraratchawangbowon Maha Senanurak refurbished it and gave it its new name.

In the reign of King Rama VI, Somdet Krom Phraya Vachirayanvarorod ordered Wat Bhumin Rajpaksi, which had only one monk , to merge with Wat Dusidaram. In World War II, Wat Dusidaram and Wat Noithongyu were damaged in an air raid, so these temples were also merged.

THINGS TO SEE:

Ubosot: The main chapel’s three-tiered roof is decorated with Chofa, Bairaka and Hanghong. The Iower part of the gable is made of bricks and mortar and the upper part is decorated with carved wood. The door and window arches are decorated with carved mortar, and inside is a mural painting by artist of the King Rama I period.
Gallery: The balcony surrounding the ubosot has 64 gilded mortar standing Buddha image enshrined in its arches.
OId Ubosot: This chapel comes from Wat Bhuminarajaksi. Its gable decoration shows Narai (the Hindu god, Vishnu) mounted on a garuda with dancing peacocks decorated with coloured mirror glass.
Chedi: The base is in the form of mermaid, with fish and elephants around it, but it is now in very poor condition.
OId Wihan: This prayer hall is built in the form of a boat. The gable shows Narai mounted on a garuda, and there is a standing Buddha image in the Blessing posture.

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 7 At the foot of Phra Pinklao Bridge Phra Pinklao Road Arun Amorin Sub-District Bangkoknoi District Bangkok 10700 Tel: (662) 424.4748 433-9451

To get there: Bus: 19 30 42 68 79 80 81 91 123 203
Air Bus:30 42 68 79 80 91 203 503 507 509 511 516

Pier1. Chao Phraya Express Boat: Phra Pinklao Bridge
Pier 2. Ferry: Phrachan Nua Pier Phra Athit Pier <–> Phra Pinklao Bridge Pier

Openning Hours: Temple: Daily 5 am-9 pm Ubosot: Daily 8 am-6 pm
Admission: Free

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relic) was built in the Ayutthaya period, this temple was originally named Wat Salak. During restoration in the reigns of King Rama I – King Rama V, it was known by seceral different names. Eventually it was named Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit, or in short:Wat Mahathat. Today it is the main school and practice site for Vipassana (insight) meditation. It also houses one of Bangkok’s two Buddhist universities.

Mondop: inside is a chedi in the style of King Rama I’s reign containing Buddha relics. It is the precursor of early Rattanakosin chedis, and completely covered in lacquered gold leaves.

Ubosot: In contrast to most others, this Bot has no front or rear portico. There are entrances on both sides and the inside space is large enough to accomodate 1000 monks at a time. The principal Buddha image is covered in gold leaf, and is the work of Phraya Devarangsan, a notable craftsman of the front palace.

THINGS TO KNOW:

Address: 3 Maharat Road

Tel: 0 2222 6011
Meditation Centre Tel: 0 2623 5613, 0 2623 6326

To get there: next to Thammasat University, north of Grand Palace; the nearest pier is Tha Maharat.

Open: 07.00-17.00

Admission: free

Other: Buddhism course is held at the temple 19.30-20.30

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS:

Piers:
A. Thai Thien
B. Tha Chang
C. Tha Prannok
D. Tha Maharat
E. Tha Bangkok Noi

Wat Makutkasattriyaram

Intended to create twin town of Krungsriayadthaya, King Rama IV wished to have temples built along its banks as had been done in Ayutthaya. He then demanded to build 2 temples beside Phadung Krung Kasem Canel. One is”Wat Somanasvihara” for his queen and another is “Wat Makutkasattriyaram” for him. This Temple was actually called Wat Nam Banyad at the first time. It was renamed as Wat Makutkasattriyaram at the end of the reign, which was the royal style and title of King Rama IV.

Nowaday, Wat Makutkasattriyaram is mostly served for funeral of important persons. However there are some attractions which are the gables and on the door and window frames; they are decorated with the royal crown which was the insignia of King Rama IV. In that you can see the depiction from stories in Pali about the Buddha’s disciples, commentaries and illustration of meditation techniques.

Address: beside Phadung Krung Kasem Road, Bang Kunphrom, Phranakorn Bangkok 10200

Tel. 02-2812089, 02-2801863

Admission Fee: Free