Another central Bangkok temple that should be on your list is Wat Pathum Wanaram. Its complete name is a bit of a mouthful, being ‘Wat Pathum Wanaram Ratcha Wora Viharn’. Despite the name, it’s a simple and beautiful green space reserved for quiet contemplation and worship. Wat Pathum Wanaram is one of the oldest, yet one of the most overlooked temples in the city.
Among the buildings at the temple is a sala (open pavilion for prayer), partially reconstructed from the crematorium of the late Princess Mother of Thailand. One of the most impressive things about it is that it displays beautiful ancient craftsmanship featuring ornate stencils and lacquered sculptures. Known as ‘phra men’, it represents Mount Meru, the ancient home of the gods.
Beautiful and colorful flags containing religious and contemplative messages hang from the branches of the trees that surround the temple. This is just one of the mysteries of this temple that reveal themselves layer by layer as you pass between the outer and inner wall to see the temple itself. A large pond and a parking area are inside the high outer wall of the temple. Once inside, there are beautiful tropical gardens just behind the temple. Monks live here and their living quarters are separated from the main temple by a wall.
The grounds of Wat Pathum Wanaram are where six people were shot and killed during the unrest of 2010 while taking refuge from the violence, but this hasn’t impacted the temple’s quiet and peaceful atmosphere at all.
There is very little English signage inside the temple compound so be sure to take your guide to help explain it all to you.
This temple is right in the middle of a buzzing shopping district of Bangkok. Surrounded by greenery, it makes a nice retreat from the hurried pace of the busy city all around. Considered one of the most authentic temple visits you can make in Bangkok, you can sit in quiet contemplation, talk to monks, and enjoy the authentic surroundings.
As this wat is situated in Central Bangkok, you can also check out these other temples, shopping experiences, galleries and attractions nearby:
- Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara (Loha Prasat)
- Khao San Road
- Bangkok National Gallery
- Wat Saket (Golden Mount)
- Erawan Shrine
- The Grand Palace/Wat Phra Keaw / Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- Wat Pho ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’
Wat Pathum Wanaram can be visited every day of the week from 9am until 5pm.
Admission Price: Free entry.
Things you should be aware of when visiting Wat Pathum Wanaram:
- Respectful attire is required. Wat Pathum Wanaram is a functioning Thai Buddhist temple, and as 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.