Malls, markets, and unparalleled nightlife are the things that make Bangkok special for every traveler. But did you know that the city has just as much culture to offer its visitors as fun? Located in the heart of what is known fondly as the city of angels in Thai, Wat Hua Lamphong is a 200-year-old king-sized Buddhist place of worship that is built primarily on the belief of accruing merit the Buddhist way - by giving back to society.
Commonly known and celebrated as the ‘coffin temple of Bangkok’, this place is a hidden gem in Thailand for travelers who wish to have a slice of the beautiful country on their vacation there. The temple has multiple facets of attraction that pulls the locals towards itself. And of course, the allure of its breathtaking architecture cannot be overstated! Though it is known for its religious significance, the temple is very much secular and hospitable to everyone who wishes to visit and learn. Read on to find out why Wat Hua Lamphong should definitely be part of your list of places to visit on a cultural trip to Bangkok.
The temple was last renovated in 1996 to celebrate the occasion of king Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 50th anniversary of retention of the royal throne. The temple’s affiliation with the throne could be seen by the presence of the royal seal of the golden jubilee year bringing to life the image of two elephants flanking a multi-tiered umbrella. This seal is also known as the Kanchanapisek. It is also fascinating to know that the temple shelters within itself, a crematorium as well as a residential place for the monks. The temple also houses several small ornately designed shrines celebrating every cultural flavor of the country through the years.
The main temple of Wat hua Lamphong Bangkok, has a unique architectural feature, in that the ubosot (the Buddhist ordination hall for religious rituals) and the viharn (a Buddhist monastery) are placed above the ground level. This is accessible to the devotees by a staircase. The walls of the ordination halls have an allure painted on to them in the form of attractive murals which beautifully sing about the various folklores ingrained in Buddhist mythology. These paintings bring to life the concept of heaven, earth and hell as discussed extensively by Theravada Buddhism.
Wat Hua Lamphong is famous among the locals as the coffin temple of Bangkok. The temple has a charitable initiative through which it donates coffins to people who cannot afford them or have no relatives to do so. Visitors and devotees are free to donate money to the temple for the same. A coffin costs around 500 baht, but you are free to donate either less or more, as you desire. It is a simple process, and the staff members of the temple will gladly assist you in doing so. This is considered a Buddhist way to make merit which they believe will help you prosper in life. Some of the things to do in Wat Hua Lamphong are,
Wat Hua Lamphong coffin donation is the most popular highlight of the temple. If you wish to make merit by donating to the temple and help people in need of money to afford coffins, you could ask the staff at the temple premises, let them know the amount of money you wish to donate. You will be given a pink paper to write your name in. Post this, the officer gives you a certificate, a white paper and the pink paper. The Pink paper goes inside the coffin, and later you will be directed to a place to pray for the people in need and burn the white paper.
Known as one of the quirky and unconventional temples in Thailand, Wat Hua Lamphong is famous for its candle making activity. Each type of candle has an underlying meaning to it, which is fun to discover! We have decoded one for you: Coloured candles are commonly associated with birthdays. Do check out the temple to learn more about the significance of candles in Buddhism.
Apart from the coffin donation there are many other ways in which visitors to the temple can make merit. There are caged pigeons in the temple, which will be released based on the donations offered by you. There are also cows and other animals whom you can feed and save from being slaughtered. Though this is based on the Buddhist belief in Karma, these are seen as acts of kindness even on part of non-Buddhists.
The architecture in Wat hua lamphong is a culmination of major cultural and political changes in Thailand through the ages. There are shrines dedicated to the Hindu deity Ganesha and king Rama V. The wall murals along the main temple and the ordination halls bring out the beauty of Buddhism in such a jaw-dropping way. If you wish to soak up the rich cultural heritage of Thailand in a harmonious place, this temple would be a great choice!
The temple is also famous for its abundance of fortune tellers. Even if you are not a ‘mirror on the wall’ person, it is still a fun experience while you are down there, so do check it out!
Shop til you drop as the nightlife comes alive in this young energetic part of Bangkok! Chinatown is a one-stop solution for all your shopping needs. Add a scoop of authentic street food scooped out of Thai cuisine, and you have got yourself a thrilling adventure right here in Thailand!
2. Ananta Samakhom Palace
Ananta Samakhom Palace is an ancient museum built to commemorate the beauty of Thai artistry in various facets. It is said that the architecture of this place has been artistically inspired by Italian neoclassical renaissance. If you are a lover of historical and cultural experiences, Ananta Samakhom might just be the perfect addition to your Thai vacation.
3. Khlong Toei market
Seafood lovers listen up! Here’s Bangkok’s biggest fish market offering fresh seafood and vegetables at affordable prices. You can consider visiting this place even if not for the fish as it offers a great point of view into the everyday life of the locals. It is easily accessible by road and is placed at a not-so-cruel distance from the heart of the city.
From the Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok it will take approximately two hours to reach Hua Lamphong railway station post which it will take 10-20 minutes to reach the temple.
Type of transport
Line 549 to Suvarnabhumi airport metro and from there change at Makkasan city air terminal
Approximately 2 hours
Line 29 (with a change of bus from PTT headquarters)
Approximately 2 hours
Approximately 24 minutes
The Wat Hua Lamphong temple is quite near the Hua Lamphong station and can be reached by any of these four options,
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Regarding Wat Hua Lamphong’s opening hours, the temple is open 24 hours a day, however we would recommend you visit the temple in the early morning if you are looking for a tranquil spiritual experience.
The entry fee is 40 baht.
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