Photo: Dodge the crowds.

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Wat Mahathat

Our rating:

Worth a special trip if you seek meditation instruction in English, Wat Mahathat also makes for a welcome respite from the tourist overflow found at the more popular attractions in Bangkok's historic district.

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First established during the Ayutthaya period under the name Wat Salak, the site caught the eye of King Rama I when he moved the royal palace to a nearby plot of land on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River in 1782. The king installed relics thought to have come from the Buddha and renamed the site Wat Mahathat, a name used previously for highly revered sites in Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Nakhon Si Thammarat, among others. It joined Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Suthat as one of the most important temples in the new royal city.

A relief from the hordes over near the river. Photo taken in or around Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

A relief from the hordes over near the river. Photo: David Luekens

From an aesthetic standpoint, the wat is fairly unremarkable compared to the above temples and others in Bangkok, like Wat Arun and Wat Saket. The original section contains a typical lineup of Buddha images in a cloister surrounding various wihaans, Khmer-style prangs and a bulky ordination hall. We were the only visitors apart from a lone man who sat meditating in front of the principle gold-plated ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
The wat is on Mahathat Road about a five-minute walk from the entrance to the Grand Palace. The closest Chao Phraya River Express pier is Tha Chang (N9).

Wat Mahathat
Between Na Phra That Rd and Maharat Rd
Daily 09:00-17:00
T: (02) 222 4981 
Admission: Free

Location map for Wat Mahathat

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