Photo: Wat Traimit, home to the largest solid-gold Buddha in the world.

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Wat Traimit

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Imagine realising that five and a half tons of gold had been sitting under your nose for the last two decades. Such was the miraculous fortune of Wat Traimit, a once insignificant temple where a blunder by a few volunteer workers resulted in the ultimate antique discovery: the largest solid-gold statue in the world.





With a name that means “Three Friends Temple” after a trio of late-19th century donors, Wat Traimit was a little-known Theravada Buddhist temple until May 25, 1955. While moving a typical-looking plaster Buddha image from the rickety tin-roof pavilion where it had sat for two decades, workers lost control and the statue crashed to the ground. A golden glean shimmered through a crack in the plaster, transforming mistake into miracle.

Shiny. Photo taken in or around Wat Traimit, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Shiny. Photo: David Luekens

A solid 18-karat gold Buddha image standing three metres tall and three metres wide was soon revealed from beneath the plaster coat. Composed of nine different sections that fit together like a puzzle, it came complete with a key stowed in the base. A well-documented miracle that made Wat Traimit a household name in Thailand, the story is reminiscent of ancient Thai legends telling of priceless Buddha images discovered in a river or after a lightning strike.

Today the raw gold is worth around US $250 million—and that’s before considering the historic and artistic significance. "Priceless" is the most accurate ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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How to get there
Wat Traimit is located on the southeast side of Chinatown, between Charoen Krung Rd and Rama IV Rd and just north of Yaowarat Rd’s southeast end at the Odean Gate. From Hualamphong MRT Station, leave through Exit 1 and take an almost immediate left (south) then take a right (west) to cross the road and canal via the bridge. Once on the other side, take an immediate right (north) and then the first left (west) on Mittraphap Rd, and the temple gates will be on the right after a couple of hundred metres. You can also get here by following Charoen Krung Rd southeast from central Chinatown.

Wat Traimit
Traimit Rd, Bangkok
Daily 08:00-17:00
T: (02) 225 9775 
Admission: 40 baht for the gold Buddha hall, another 100 baht for the Chinatown museum.

Location map for Wat Traimit

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