All there is to know about

Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew may sound like a town in Thailand, but it is the temple of Emerald Buddha that was constructed in the year 1784. Officially this temple is known as 'Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram (Temple of the Holy Jewel Buddha).' And it houses the famous Emerald Buddha, which is considered one of the most important Buddha statues in Thailand.

Wat Phra Kaew is one of those temples in Thailand that the royal family reserves to 9rganize various Buddhist religious ceremonies. And when such events and occasions are not being carried out, the temple is open for the public for viewing and worship.

A brief history of Wat Phra Kaew

The temple was initially contrasted with being the royal chapel in 1784, an order by the King Rama I, who moved the capital of the island to Chao Phraya River, commonly known as Bangkok today.

The Wat Phra Kaew temple is built on the grounds of the Grand Palace and has been constantly to this day renovated by various Thai Kings as a part to keep it intact and give their contribution to this popular religious site. 

The temple is an excellent landmark for the island and a sacred place for Buddhists in Thailand. It also is very vital for Thailand in terms of tourism as it is a commonly visited tourist site.


Wat Phra Kaew


Get to know Emerald Buddha, the great resident of Wat Phra Kaew

Emerald Buddha is a famous Buddha statue in Thailand, but often visitors get shocked by seeing the size of the statue. Unlike other Buddha statues in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha statue is relatively quite small, but irrespective of that, its value is still the same.

Wat Phra Kaew's emerald Buddha statue is a seated one. The statue has a yoga posture and is 26 inches tall, and is one of the most valuable statues and a sacred object in Thai culture and Thai Buddhism.

However, unlike other statues, this Emerald Buddha statue may be seen by the public, but touching is not allowed. Only the highest-ranking member of the royal family are permitted to touch this sacred relic and to are only allowed to touch only a few times a year during some formal rituals.

A lot of people think that the Emerald Buddha statue is made from 100% emerald, but unfortunately, that is not true; this Budhha statue is made from Jade and Jasper. There is not much known about the origin of the Emerald Buddha; hence the reason as to why it's called Emerald is unknown. It could be because of its color, but no one knows. The Archaeologists have not spent much time with the statue to accurately identify its composition, which could give an idea of its name and origin.

As far as the history of the Statue is concerned, like mentioned, there is not much information regarding it. Though it is said that the Emerald Budhha came into the limelight in Chiang Rai in 1434, but its creation dates much older. Records show that the Statue may be more than 200 years old and surfaced in Laos. Some believe that the statue was in Angkor Wat for centuries, while some believe it was in Sri Lanka or India due to the carving on the statue and its style. Regardless of its origin, the fortune, success, and ultimate prosperity Thailand receives, the credit significantly goes to the Emerald Buddha.


Emerald Budhha


Things to see at Wat Phra Kaew

The first and foremost thing to see at Wat Phra Kaew is unquestionably the Emerald Buddha Statue. Other than that, the vast array of interesting artifacts that the temple houses are something worth exploring. The popular statues to see are as follows:

  • The Healer: This blackened bronze statue is seated at the west side of the temple. The statue is of a hermit, who was well versed in medicine, and for his contribution, the statue resides in the temple to pay respects.
  • Shiny Elephants: The elephant head statues are rubbed for good lick by people. In fact, children are made to circle around this statue thrice for strength.
  • The Library: Wat Phra Kaew is not a statue, but this beautiful archive room contains all the sacred scriptures that exist related to Buddha, the journey, the statues, and all that there is to know about the religion.
  • Murals: There are many murals in the temple that shows the rich history of Buddhism, especially the depiction of the Ramakian, which is influenced by the Hindi epic story Ramayana.


Mural in Wat Phra Kaew


Important things to know before visiting Wat Phra Kaew


Wat Phra Kaew is situated in Bangkok on the grounds of the Grand Palace, which is easily accessible through any commute. The cheapest way to reach this temple is by far hopping on the River taxi, which is not only budget-friendly but an enjoyable ride.

There are other options to go there too, by hiring a local taxi, private car, tour buses, or any other, but since the temple is a popular place, it is pretty common that the drivers may charge more. Public commute options are always a budget-friendly idea but can be time-consuming.

  • The temple is open to visitors seven days a week unless if there is a ceremony organized by the royal family.
  • The temple opens daily at 8:30 am and closes at 3:30 pm.
  • Photography is allowed outside the temple only.
  • The dress code is something to be abiding by religiously, and the Wat Phra Kaew temple is very strict about it. The clothes for everyone should be on par with the following list:
  • Knees and shoulders are to be covered.
  • See-through and tight clothes are not allowed.
  • No stretchy yoga pants
  • No sleeveless cloths
  • No torn clothes
  • No religious themes
  • No death-related themes
  • In case of a tattoo, it should be appropriately covered.
  • No hats, headphones, and sunglasses are allowed.