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Wat Phra Kaew วัดพระแก้ว (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok

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Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandWat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, Thailand (28 October, 2006)

Wat Phra Kaew (GPS: 13.7516, 100.4926; Thai: วัดพระแก้ว ), also known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is the most venerated temple in Bangkok. Its official name is Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram วัดพระศรีรัตนศาสดาราม , which translates as the Abode of the Holy Bejewelled Buddha, but it is more commonly called Wat Phra Kaew. The placing of a chapel within the compound of the royal palace is in according to tradition, with Wat Mahathat built within the grounds of the royal palace of Sukhothai, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet built in the grounds of the Royal Palace of Ayutthaya.

Wat Phra Kaew is located on the north east corner of the Grand Palace compound. It was constructed in 1783 at the same time as the Grand Palace, and completed in 1785. In observance of ancient rites, King Rama I then held another coronation within the temple compound. The temple is not a monastery, meaning no monks reside in it. The temple is enclosed by a high wall. The temple side of this wall is painted with murals depicting the whole story of the Ramakien, what Thais call the Hindu Ramayana.

Within the walled compound of Wat Phra Kaew is a dense concentration of some of the most opulent temple structures in all of Thailand.

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandThe gilded Phra Si Rattana Chedi, with Phra Mondop to its right, at Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandAnother view of the gleaming Phra Si Rattana Chedi, . (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandPhra Mondop (left) and behind centre is the Prasat Phra Thepidon (28 October, 2006)

The Prasat Phra Thepidon which means the Royal Pantheon, was originally intended to huose the Emerald Buddha, but was later deemed too modest a structure for the intended ceremonies. The Emerald Buddha was instead housed in the ubosot or ordination hall, which is the largest building within Wat Phra Kaew's complex (this is another departure from most Thai Buddhist temples, where the viharn with a principal Buddha statue is usually the largest building.)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandPrasat Phra Thepidon is crowned with a prang similar to that of Wat Arun. (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandThe incredibly ornate Phra Mondop of Wat Phra Kaew. (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandOne of the two golden chedis of Wat Phra Kaew. The columns in the forefront belongs to the ubosot (ordination hall) (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandThe golden chedi with Phasat Phra Thepidon on its left. (30 December, 2002)

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, ThailandThe columns of the ubosot is resplendent with glass and mirror tiles. (30 December, 2002)

Getting in

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is entered via the Grand Palace.

Dress Code

If you want to problem in getting in, dress like you are going to the palace. The royal palaces of Bangkok are the most fastidious when it comes to what your attire. No vests, no sleeveless, no shorts, no see-through clothes, no mini-skirts, no slippers / flip-flops. But help in around the corner if your dress doesn't match. The office just inside the main entrance has appropriate clothes to lend you, shoes too. Socks are sold for 15 baht per pair, while other items are lent for a deposit of 100 baht per piece, plus your passport or driver's license or credit card as surety.


Photography is strictly forbidden inside the ubosot, or ordination hall, where the Emerald Buddha is located. In fact, taking pictures of other Buddha images are also prohibited, but the rule is less strictly enforced; not so the Emerald Buddha. Tripod is also not allowed anywhere in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, so you may have to deposit it at the ticket office and collect it afterwards.

Wat Phra Kaew is on the map of Wats in Bangkok

Wat Phra Kaew is on the map of Bangkok

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If you love learning about Asian civilization, here are other ancient sites in Asia that I have explored and written about.

List of Wats in Bangkok and Wats in Thailand; list of Districts of Bangkok

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