Wat Phra Kaew - a prominent religious icon of Thailand

Wat Phra Kaew - a prominent religious icon of Thailand

Situated within the Grand Palace at the center of Bangkok, Wat Phra Kaew is an iconic religious-political symbol of the Thailand society with over 100 brightly-colored buildings, golden spires and sparkling mosaics, dating back to 1782, when the capital of Bangkok was founded. It's one of the most visited temples in Thailand, which you shouldn't miss. Do not forget to take Asia Package Tour to get more information about Vietnam to

Wat Phra Kaew - a prominent religious icon of Thailand

Wat Phra Kaew

What is Wat Phra Kaew?

Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha ) which has the official name of Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram is considered as Thailand's most important Buddhist temple. Situated in the historic center of Bangkok, within the area of the Grand Palace, it is the place when Phra Kaew Morakot or the Emerald Buddha is enshrined, the highly-respected  Buddha image is meticulously carved from a single jade block. Phra Putta Maha Mani Ratana Patimakorn or the Emerald Buddha is a Buddha in the meditating position in Lanna school's style, which dates from the 15th century AD.

Wat Phra Kaew is raised on a series of platforms. The Emerald Buddha, is a dark green statue, in a standing form, around 66 centimeters in height. It is carved from a single jade block ("emerald" in Thai doesn't mean a specific stone but deep green color). No one is permitted near the Emerald Buddha, apart from the King. A seasonal cloak, which covers the statue is changed three times a year to correspond to every season. The changing of the robes which is a very important ritual is performed only by the King to bring good luck to the country in each season. The temple of Emerald Buddha is lavishly decorated and offer visitors a great sense of peace.

The Temple of Emerald Buddha started to be constructed when King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke decided to move the capital from Thonburi to the present Bangkok in 1785. Unlike other temples, it doesn't include living area for monks. It only contains elaborately decorated holy statues, buildings and pagodas. The main building is the central ordination hall (ubosot), which houses the Emerald Buddha. Despite being small-sized, it is the most important icon for Thailand people.

Other attractions in this temple consist of a model of Angkor Wat, which was constructed under  King Rama IV's will when Cambodia was under Siamese management. Later, this model was recreated in plaster to consent the will of King Rama V to celebrate the first centenary of Bangkok. Also, don't miss the chance to visit the Balcony, which may be compared to the temple wall. On the murals inside, the Ramayana epic is told in its entirety. On the columns of the balcony, there are inscriptions of the verses in stone describing the murals. Each gate of the balcony is protected by the five-meter gate-keeping giants (Yaksa Tavarnbal), which are characters taken from the same epic.

Wat Phra Kaew - a prominent religious icon of Thailand

 A corner of Wat Phra Kaew (via northsouthtravel.com)

The central "phra ubosot" is the main building where the statue of the Emerald Buddha takes place. According to legend, this Buddha image originated from India where the sage Nagasena predicted that the Emerald Buddha would bring "pre-eminence and prosperity to each country in which it comes". Therefore, the Emerald Buddha in the Wat Phra Kaew is deeply revered in Thailand as the guardian of the country. However, according to historical records, this statue is found in Chiang Rai in the 15th century where, after relocated several times, finally, it was taken to Thailand in the 18th century. It was enshrined at the Wat Phra Kaew temple in 1782 during the dynasty of King Rama I (1782–1809). This marked the opening of the Chakri Dynasty in Thailand.

Useful information

► A guide is offered from 10:00 to 14:00 and the personal guide is available in a number of languages, including English, French, Russian, Spanish, German, Japanese, and Mandarin.

► Remember that temples are sacred places and visitors must dress appropriately. You mustn't wear shorts, sleeveless shirts or revealing tops otherwise simply you won't be permitted in. There's also a stall that offers proper trouser rental, in case you need it. Sarong are also for rent but it's better to dress properly so you can avoid the queue.

► It is compulsory to take off your shoes when you enter the temple. It is regarded as a sign of respect to Buddha.

► If you like to say prayers inside the temple, your feet must be neatly tucked. It's compulsory not to extend your legs towards the deities.

► The entrance fee of the temple is 500 baht.

► The opening hours: 8.30 am to 3.30 pm. Be mindful that the temple is closed early so do not arrive too late!

► Location: Na Phralan, Phra Nakorn, inside Grand Palace complex.

If you wish to be in the presence of divinity, there is no better venue on earth to do this than in the Wat Phra Kaew. If you want to study Buddhism history, this temple is an ideal place to gather the information.  If you are yet to discover Bangkok, get started with this temple. Have a nice trip!