Bangkok Journals

The Wats of Bangkok

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A June 2007 trip to Bangkok by LenR

Showing devotion Photo, Bangkok, Thailand More Photos
Quote: The marvellous Buddhist temples are one of Bangkok's greatest attractions. This journal recommends five temples that any visitor would enjoy.

The Wats of Bangkok

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Overview

Showing devotion Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
One of the first questions most first-time Bangkok visitors ask is, ‘What is a wat?’ It is really very simple. A wat is the Buddhist equivalent of a Christian church. We often call a wat a temple.There are more than 400 wats in Bangkok. You see them everywhere. Many have those marvelous souring multi-level roofs that shimmer so wonderfully in the sun. Some of just spectacular. All are open to the public and many are amongst Bangkok’s best tourist attractions. Bangkok's dazzling temples are a unique part of Thailand’s capital's heart and soul. A visit to Bangkok would not be complete without seeing several of them. The architecture is awe-inspiring and the glittering decoration is quite...Read More

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)

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Attraction | "Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)"

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The “Temple of the Dawn” is a Bangkok landmark and probably my favourite wat. Dramatically jutting into the air from its location on the Thonburi banks of the Chao Phraya River, the central Khmer-style prang has been elongated to give it an appearance that is unmistakably Thai. Four smaller prangs of similar design surround the main spire. The name comes from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn.All five spires are covered with broken pieces of porcelain that were used as ballast by Chinese ships that formerly came to Thailand. Steep steps lead halfway up one side of the main prang to a point where there are good views of the river and surrounding areas, including Wat Pra Kaeo and The Grand Palac...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 5, 2007

Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun)
Thai Wang Road
Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Mahathat

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Attraction

Wat Mahathat Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Wat Mahathat is the common short name of several important Buddhist temples in Thailand. The name means "Temple of the Great Relic", as these temples are said to always contain a relic of Buddha. While there are several temples named Wat Mahathat, their full names are usually unique.This wat is in Bangkok near the Grand Palace. It is the headquarters of Thailand's largest monastic order and home of the Vipassana Meditation centre. Founded in the 18th century, this temple pre-dates the establishment of Bangkok, but was considerably altered after one of its monks, the young Prince Mongkut, later became King Rama IV of Thailand.Although the temple is rather large, its grounds are crammed ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2007

Wat Mahathat
3 Maharat Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10200
+66 (2) 221-5999

Wat Traimit

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Attraction

Wat Traimit Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Located at the end of Chinatown's Yaowarat Road, near Hualampong Railway Station, Wat Traimit houses the world's largest golden seated Buddha measuring nearly five meters in height and weighing five and a half tons. The image is supposedly worth in the neighborhood of US$14 million. It is very impressive but the story about how it was discovered is just as interesting.The Golden Buddha was cast sometime in the 13th century and is an excellent example of the gracious Sukhothai style that is still very much in favour to this day. At some point, it was covered in plaster, most likely in an attempt to hide the valuable icon from thieves or looters.The disguise was so good that everyone app...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2007

Wat Traimit
Between Charoen Krung, Yaowarat and Traimit Roads
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
+66 (2) 225-9775

Golden Mount

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Attraction | "Wat Saket"

Golden Mount Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
The strange hill crowned with a gleaming gold chedi is also known as the Golden Mount, or 'Phu Khao Thong'. It rises within the compound of Wat Saket, an unusual temple that dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae. The wat was restored under Rama I (1782-1809) just outside the new city walls, and the temple served as the capital's crematorium. During the following 100 years, the temple became the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims. The Golden Mount was added to the compound in the early 19th century, when King Rama III built a huge chedi which collapsed into a hill of rubble. Buddhist belief holds that religious buildings cannot be destroyed, and many years lat...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2007

Golden Mount
Boriphat and Bamrung Muang Intersection
Bangkok, Thailand 10200
+66 2 694 1222

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)

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Attraction | "Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple)"

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple) Photo, Bangkok, Thailand
Quote:
Wat Benchamabophit is a temple compound of unusual beauty and religious importance. It is quite different from the other temples described in this journal. Better known to foreigners as 'the Marble Temple', it is located close to Dusit Palace where the Thai King lives. Wat Benchamabophit is not heavily promoted as a tourist destination, and therefore the number of foreign visitors you will encounter is often relatively small. The Ubosoth (Main building) was constructed with Carrara marble from Italy, therefore the name.I’m told by Thai experts that Wat Benchamabophit is a royal monastery belonging to the first class ranking of Rajavaravihara. Aparently few wats belong to this class. The wat wa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 5, 2007

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)
69 Rama V Road, Chitralada
Bangkok, Thailand 10300
+66 2 282 7413