Temples of Thailand - a photographic journey
Bangkok Area Provinces: Central North North-East West South East
Wat Traimitr Wittayaram Woraviharn
The most famous of all golden images in Thailand is the Golden Buddha in Wat Traimitr, located in Bangkoks Chinatown. The official name of the image is Phra Buddha Mahasuwan Patimakorn or Phra Sukhothai Traimitr. Three meters high and weighing five and a half tons, it was covered in stucco to protect it from the invading Burmese in the eighteenth century. When it slipped while being moved by a crane the stucco cracked, revealing the gold underneath.
We have been at Wat Traimitr the first time in 2000 and again in 2005, when the famous Buddha image was still placed in the old Viharn, which was touristy and crowded. In 2009 we saw the new building for the first time and finally were able to visit it in March 2010 and we have to admit that the Golden Buddha is finally placed in a structure which lives up to the importance of the image. While even more touristy we now felt that paying an entrance fee of 140 Baht (for foreigners) was actually a worthwhile investment. On three levels the visitor is now being presented with some of the best exhibitions and presentations available in the Kingdom. An excellent overview of Chinatown and it's history as well as a really impressive presentation about the history of the Buddha image are located on the two lower levels, while the Buddha itself is placed on the top of the building. Unfortunately most foreigners skip the exhibition, which is too bad, because it is presented in several languages, including English. Worshippers, like us, start at the top to pay respect to the Buddha image first and then make our way down into the exhibition.
The Ubosot, opposite the flashy new Viharn, is also open and features a beautiful image of Luang Phor To. It is also quite busy but more a place of worship than the main attraction of the temple.