Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, known by many as the Marble Temple because its pillars, courtyard, and lion statue guardians are all made entirely of Italian Carrara marble, is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples. The temple’s name means “the Monastery of the fifth King near Dusit Palace”, the fifth King being King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V).
The temple, which was designed in 1899 by Prince Narisara Nuvadtivongs (a half-brother of King Rama V), draws many admirers thanks to its traditional Thai symmetrical architecture and use of European and Chinese design influences. Wat Benchamabophit is one of the six temples in Bangkok bestowed with the title of highest grade of the first class Royal temples, known as Racha-Vora-Vihan (There are 10 temples throughout Thailand with this distinction).
Who could visit Thailand’s capital city without seeing how European architecture and Italian marble has been masterfully melded into the temples and religion of the country? Considering that Wat Benchamabophit is not heavily promoted as a tourist destination like Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, it tends to draw a smaller number of foreign tourists. Inside the ordination hall (or Ubosoth) is a Buddha statue, designed in the Sukothai style. The ashes of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) are buried beneath this statue.
Don’t take our word for it that Wat Benchamabophit is a must see destination in Bangkok Thailand. The temple complex was featured in the 9th season of the popular TV series The Amazing Race. In 2005, the temple was submitted to UNESCO for consideration as a future World Heritage Site.
The very inquisitive visitor who seeks truth in all things will be delighted to discover that a Bodhi tree, brought all of the way from Bodhgaya, India where the Buddha reached enlightenment, rests just behind the ordination hall of Wat Benchamabophit. King Rama V spent his days as a monk at this temple before his coronation.
Visiting Wat Benchamabophit with a private tour guide is recommended as the temple is active, the monks private living quarters are across the canal separated from the temple area and, starting at 6:00 am, people from the local community come here to bring food and other offerings (curry, rice, lotus buds, incense, toiletries, etc.,) to the monks. This practice is different from most other temples in Thailand where monks depart in the early morning hours in order to accept alms and food from the people. The evening candlelight procession around the temple during Thai Buddhist festivals of Makha Bucha (February) and Wisakha Bucha (May) are not to be missed.
Customer feedback – “A nice interesting place to visit. The marble construction makes this place very unique. Not one of the temples on the main tourist trail so it has fewer people. Beautiful building set in gardens with a small river and some nice bridges.”
Customer feedback – “If you only have time to see one of the smaller temples in Bangkok, make it this one. It is really beautiful, with nice quiet gardens surrounding it. (#5) I had a few questions about some of things I saw inside the temple and wished I had a tour guide with me at the time.”
When visiting Wat Benchamabophit, it is recommended that you set aside about a half day (including transport time from most central Bangkok locations) to view all of the temple complex. Those wishing to visit additional attractions in the same area as Wat Benchamabophit should consider combining it with a visit to Vimarnmek Mansion.
Wat Benchamabophit is open every day from 8am until 5:30pm.
Admission Price: 50 Baht (allows entry into every building) per person.
Things you should be aware of when visiting Wat Benchamabophit:
- Respectful attire is required. Wat Benchamabophit is a functioning Thai Buddhist temple, and a such the management insists that visitors dress in a respectful manner. This means that men must wear long pants and short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts (no tank tops or sleeveless shirts). Women must wear skirts or pants extending at least to the knee, and also should not wear a top that reveals bare shoulders.
- Visitors are allowed to take photographs in any area of the complex.
- It is recommended that you wear shoes that can be easily removed as you’ll need to take them off when entering any structure in the complex.