Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is the largest and most important Chinese temple in Bangkok. It was established in 1871 & originally named Wat Leng Noei Yi until King Rama V changed it to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. The name means Dragon Lotus Temple in English.
The Temple Guardians
The temple is in a courtyard off Charoen Krung Road in Chinatown. It features classic Chinese style architecture with tiled roofs beautifully decorated with dragon and lotus motifs. Inside the entrance, are 4 large superbly crafted statues of the Chatulokkaban. They represent the four guardians of the world. They each look after one of the four cardinal directions of the world. Each one is four meters high and encased in protective glass, two on each side. Clothed in warrior costumes, they each carry a symbolic object. A parasol, a pagoda, a snake’s head, and a mandolin.
Gods & Goddesses
You will then walk into a central courtyard. The main hall contains three Chinese-style Buddha images. Shakyamuni, in the center, with Amitabha, and Yaoshifa to either side. Around the temple, there are separate shrine rooms to Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities.
There are three pavilions at the rear of the temple. One dedicated to the Chinese goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin. One to the temple’s founder, Phra Archan Chin Wang Samathiwat. Thirdly, one to the saint Lak Chao. One small courtyard has a gallery full of standing Buddha images.
The temple is usually busy, but with local Thai-Chinese people and not tourists. They come to make merit, pray for health and wealth. People burn paper offerings for their ancestors amid the smell of burning incense sticks. The temple is a major center for celebrations during Chinese New Year and the annual Vegetarian festival.
Where is it?
Location: Charoen Krung Road, west of Soi 23, Yaowarat, Bangkok.
Opening Hours: 06.00-18.00 daily.
How to get there:
Bus: No. 1,4,7,25,35,40,53,73,501, 507
MRT: To Hualamphong station. Then a 15-minute walk or continue by taxi.
Boat: Take the Chaophraya Express or Tourist Boat to Ratchawong Pier. Walk up Ratchawong road to Charoen Krung road & turn right. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat will be on your left.