There are more than 35,000 temples in Thailand, big and small. Visitors who want a down to earth, compassionate and spiritual experience when visiting a Thai temple would be well advised to add a visit to Wat Hua Lumphong to their itinerary. Wat Hua Lumphong is known locally as the coffin temple.
Often listed among Thailand’s weird and quirky temples, Wat Hua Lumphong is unique in that it offers some different and interesting experiences you can participate in on your visit. You can make candles, feed cattle, and make offerings to help purchase coffins for those who cannot afford them.
The temple is unusual in that the ordination and assembly halls are built one story above ground level. The main attraction inside the ordination hall are the wall murals. Other attractions on display inside the main temple grounds are several shrines dedicated to King Rama V and Ganesha.
Wat Hua Lumphong does not get many foreign tourists but is extremely popular among Thai people. People mainly come to donate money for coffins for those that pass away without having anyone to buy them a coffin.
There’s plenty of ways to interact and make donations at Wat Hua Lumphong. One of the popular activities is melting wax discs to make giant candles. You pick a wax disc that has your birth animal on it and take it to be melted. Drop the wax disc into the big vat and then scoop out some liquid wax and pour it into the large candle mould. You can even make merit by buying food for cattle in the temple and save them from being slaughtered. Lighting and floating candles is also popular, as it is in many Thai temples. You can pay to release caged pigeons, which apparently will bring you prosperity. Keep in mind that they’ll probably be caught again so the next person can set them ‘free’. Wat Hua Lumphong is also famous for its abundance of fortune tellers.
Wat Hua Lumphong is called the coffin temple because of its benevolent practice of providing coffins to those who cannot afford them. Some of the coffins go to homeless people who died alone. Even for non-Buddhists it is considered an act of compassion to donate coffins and plenty of travelers will come to Por Tek Tung foundation at Wat Hua Lumphong to do this. If you want to donate a coffin it will cost you 500 baht (although you can donate less). Tell the staff in attendance how much you want to donate by writing your name on a pink slip. After donating money, you will get the pink slip back and a certificate. Next, pray and then paste the pink paper on a coffin. Next to this is an area that looks a bit like a Chinese temple where many local people come to pray. Here you pray again and burn the certificate in the bowl. The staff at the coffin donation area are very helpful and willing to explain the procedure to first time visitors.
Visit Wat Hua Lumphong to experience the spiritual side of the city. Beliefs aside, you can make a difference for people in need, especially when it comes to the last act of their lives.
Wat Hua Lumphong is a Royal Buddhist temple, third class, in the Bang Rak District of Bangkok, Thailand. It is located on Rama IV Road right in the thick of Bangkok’s central business district, so transport options are plentiful.
Some other wonderful and unique Bangkok attractions nearby include:
- Khlong Toei Market (Bangkok’s favorite wet market)
- Lumphini Park
- Jim Thompson House and Museum
- M.R. Kukrit’s House
Wat Hua Lumphong is open twenty-four hours a day and can be visited every day of the week.
Admission Price: 40 baht.
Things you should be aware of when visiting Wat Hua Lumphong:
- The dress code is a little less strict at Wat Hua Lumphong, but it is still advised to follow the same advice for how to dress when visiting all temples. The basic rule is for men and women to cover your shoulders and knees, (ideally cover your ankles as well). Wear long shorts, capri pants, trousers or a knee-length (or longer) skirt. Wear any shirt that fully covers your shoulders. A T-shirt, blouse or polo is fine. A sari or scarf worn around the shoulders over a tank top is ok and you can even use them as a makeshift long skirt.
- Visitors are allowed to take photographs in any area of the complex.
- Wat Hua Lumphong is an important Royal Buddhist temple, so please remember to behave appropriately, be quiet, and be respectful as many locals attend to pray and worship.