Aug 01 2011
I must confess, I was tempted not to post on Wat Rachabophit and just keep all of its under-the-radar splendour to myself, but mother always said that “sharing is caring”. On a recent research pilgrimage for Travelfish.org I spent some quality time sampling dozens of Bangkok’s illustrious wats. Of course I was impressed by the famed Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho and the shimmering detail at Wat Arun, but the wat I really fell head over heels for was charmingly quaint Wat Rachabophit.
Wat Rachabophit is not reknowned or heavily touristed, and perhaps for those very reasons finding this Bangkok diamond in the rough makes a visit here all the more special. Located in the city’s sightseeing centre right between the Grand Palace, Chinatown and the Giant Swing, Wat Rachabophit is an absolute oasis in the craziness of the tourist zone. Built under the reign of Rama V in the mid-19th century, the temple has an extremely unusual design which features a chedi enclosed in a circular cloister. I guarantee that even if you are not a temple expert (which I am not) this feature will be a noticeable difference that adds to the unique beauty of this sleepy wat.
Another of Wat Rachabophit’s striking features are its stand-out colours. Every exterior wall of the temple is covered in Chinese porcelain, with blues, reds and yellows all of a slightly faded quality. Ornately gilded and mother of pearl inlaid doors add to the splendour and rival some of the details found at nearby Wat Phra Kaew. The overall effect yields one of Bangkok’s prettiest temples — if not the prettiest.
Another special feature of the temple is its relative peace. Each time I’ve visited there have only been a few lone merit-makers and a handful of pedestrians strolling the grounds or eating snacks under the trees. With shade, quiet and incredible architecture, Wat Rachabophit is one of Bangkok’s hidden gems, and a very convenient stop while hitting some of the more famous sites nearby.
Wat Rachabophit is located just off of Klong Lod on Atsadong Road. It is about a 10-minute walk from the Grand Palace, a five-minute walk from the Giant Swing or a 15-minute walk from Chinatown.
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