Temple of the Golden Buddha - Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit, The Temple of the Golden Buddha, Bangkok

The legendary Golden Buddha, a 5.5 ton statue of the Buddha in the pose of bhumisparsha, or calling the earth to witness, is cast out of solid gold, and estimated to be worth a staggering 250 million dollars (2018). Remarkably, the almost 10-foot tall Golden Buddha was lost for centuries before being rediscovered in the 1950s. Today, it is enshrined at the beautiful and ornate Wat Traimit in Bangkok's Chinatown.

The Golden Buddha, Bangkok via Pixabay

The Discovery of the Golden Buddha - Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana Patimakon

The famous Golden Buddha has a fascinating history and story of discovery. A fairly unremarkable plaster statue of the Buddha had been the main Buddha image at a small temple in Bangkok, having been moved to the city after the fall of Ayutthaya in the 18the century. In 1935, the plaster Buddha was moved to storage at Wat Traimit, at the time a little-known temple in Bangkok's Chinatown area. The Buddha image was considered to be nothing particularly special, and it was stored outside and forgotten.

In 1955, the temple underwent renovations in celebration of the upcoming 25th Buddhist Era (the 2500th anniversary of the Buddha's enlightenment). During the renovations, the plaster Buddha was dropped, causing it to crack open. The monks were shocked to discover the solid gold seated Buddha hidden inside.

Due to its correspondence with the 2500th year of Buddhism, the revelation of the Golden Buddha was widely considered to be a miraculous occurrence, and a blessing upon Thailand.

Historical records of the Golden Buddha are unclear. Features of the Golden Buddha suggest it to have been cast some 800 years ago during the reign of the Sukothai Kingdom. It has been theorized that the valuable solid gold statue was covered with plaster to hide it from invaders.

The Golden Buddha of Bangkok
The Golden Buddha of Bangkok

Wat Traimit (วัดไตรมิตร) - The Temple of the Golden Buddha

In 2010, a brand-new temple hall was constructed to house the Golden Buddha. Wat Traimit is unlike any other Buddhist temple in Thailand. The architectural features of the multi-leveled marble and gold temple makes it one of the most unique temples in all of Thailand. Forgoing the traditional Thai temple architecture, Wat Traimit is instead constructed almost like a castle, with a central golden spire pointing up to Heaven.

Wat Traimit, the Temple of the Golden Buddha
Wat Traimit, the Temple of the Golden Buddha

Also located inside Wat Traimit, at a lower level than the shrine of the Golden Buddha, is the Chinatown Heritage Center Museum, an interesting cultural heritage museum about the history, people, and culture of Bangkok's vibrant Yaowarat (Chinatown) neighborhood.

solid gold Buddha statue
solid gold Buddha statue

When to visit Wat Traimit (Opening Hours)

  • Wat Traimit Temple is open daily 9:00 - 17:00
  • The Chinatown Heritage Center Museum is open 9:00 - 17:00, but is closed on Mondays

Wat Traimit and Chinatown Heritage Museum Admission

  • An entry ticket to Wat Traimit costs 40 baht
  • A ticket to the Chinatown Heritage Center Museum costs 100 baht

Where is Wat Traimit?

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