Discover Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen
Amidst the bustling cityscape of Bangkok, the towering stature of Wat Paknam’s Buddha image stands as an enduring symbol of wisdom and serenity. Like a vigilant guardian, this monumental figure provides a sense of calm within the city’s urban frenzy.
Name (Thai): วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ
Address (Eng): 300 Ratchamongkhon Prasat Alley, Pak Khlong Bhasicharoen, Bhasicharoen, Bangkok 10160
Address (Thai): แขวงปากคลองภาษีเจริญ เขตภาษีเจริญ กรุงเทพมหานคร 10160
Opening Hours: 8.00-18.00 daily.
Entrance Fee: Free for foreigners and Thais.
Length of Trip: 1-2 hours.
Trip Type: cultural / historical.
Age Restrictions: none.
Dress Code: modest and conservative.
The Buddha image at Wat Paknam commands attention with its grandeur, reaching an impressive 69 meters (230 ft) in height. Crafted from copper and embellished with a layer of radiant gold paint, its imposing build emanates an aura of reverence that reverberates across the city.
Fun Fact: It’s height is equivalent to a 20-story building.
The Buddha’s serene expression, peaceful eyes, and gentle smile radiate inner tranquility. Its remarkable details showcase exceptional craftsmanship – a testament to the skill of its artisans
Ultimately, it required five years of dedicated effort and a substantial donation of 500 million baht to attain this “perfect” rendition of the Buddha.
Within Wat Paknam’s pagoda, lies a stupa that’s enshrined beneath a dome ceiling.
The dome itself, is adorned with intricate paintings that portray the different realms of Buddhist cosmology. Composed with meticulous attention to detail, the artworks are saturated with vivid, celestial-like colors, culminating in a visually striking depiction of cosmic purity.
It’s believed that the paintings can inspire a state of introspection. The specific colors, motifs, and symbolism used, aim to evoke a sense of awe that invites visitors to connect with the Buddha’s teachings on samsara.
The origins of Wat Paknam (วัดปากน้ำภาษีเจริญ) can be traced back to the Ayutthaya period in the 16th century when a small temple was established on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
However, it wasn’t until the early 19th century that the temple gained significant recognition and underwent transformative developments under the leadership of Somdet Phra Phutthaloetla Naphalai. Somdet, also known as Chaofa Kromma Khun Wimonmaha Chulalongkorn, was the abbot of Wat Arun until he was appointed as the abbot of Wat Paknam in 1827.
Under the guidance of Chaofa, the temple went through extensive renovations and expansions. It’s infrastructure was improved, and new structures were added to accommodate the growing number of devotees. Chaofa was known for his profound teachings and played a crucial role in establishing Wat Paknam as a center for spiritual development and meditation.
During this period, Chaofa introduced meditation techniques that emphasized the importance of inner cultivation and mindfulness. His teachings attracted a substantial following of practitioners, leading to the rise of the Dhammakaya tradition within the temple.
The Dhammakaya tradition, rooted in the teachings of Chaofa, focused on the practice of meditation to attain enlightenment and spiritual awakening. The tradition gained further momentum under the leadership of Luang Por Sodh Candasaro, a highly respected disciple of Chaofa, who became the abbot of Wat Paknam in the early 20th century.
Luang Por Sodh continued the work of his predecessor by expanding the influence of the temple and spreading the Dhammakaya teachings, by attracting devotees from all walks of life.
In the following decades, Wat Paknam continued to flourish under the leadership of subsequent abbots, who carried on the legacy of the Dhammakaya tradition and expanded its reach. Til this day, the temple serves as a Buddhist hub, offering meditation retreats, religious ceremonies, and educational programs, for its thousands of devotees.
To reach Wat Paknam in Bangkok, you have several transportation options available. Below is a guide on how to get the temple, efficiently:
Private Taxi: Taking a taxi is a convenient and direct way to reach the temple. Simply flag down a taxi or use a ride-hailing app like Grab, and provide the driver with the temple’s name and address. Make sure to have the address written in Thai for better communication: แขวงปากคลองภาษีเจริญ เขตภาษีเจริญ กรุงเทพมหานคร 10160.
Insider Tip: Only take a taxi if you’re staying nearby, as traffic in Bangkok is horrendous.
MRT + Motorbike Taxi: If you prefer using public transportation, you can take the MRT to Bang Phai Station (on the Blue Line). Once you exit the station, you can easily find motorbike taxis waiting outside, that’ll take you directly to the temple for 30-40 baht.
Alternatively, you can walk from the MRT station – it’s a ~15 minutes walk at a brisk pace.
BTS Skytrain + Taxi: If riding the BTS is more convenient than the MRT, you can take the Skytrain to Bang Wa Station on the Silom Line. From there, exit the station and proceed to the taxi queue.
Tuk-tuk: For a more adventurous experience, you can opt for a tuk-tuk ride to the temple. Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled vehicles that are a popular mode of transportation in Bangkok. Be sure to negotiate the fare with the driver before getting in, as they have a reputation for price gouging.
The best time to visit Wat Paknam is in the morning. Here’s a couple reasons why:
Morning Quietude: Visiting in the early morning allows you to observe the morning rituals and melodic chants of the monks. Additionally, the temple grounds won’t be crowded during this time, providing a peaceful atmosphere for meditation or quiet contemplation.
Cooler Temperatures: Bangkok’s weather is oppressively hot and humid, especially during the midday hours. By visiting in the morning, you can avoid the peak heat of the day and enjoy more comfortable temperatures. This can enhance your overall experience as you explore the temple complex and its surroundings without feeling excessively sweaty or fatigued.
Wat Paknam opens around 8:00 am and closes around 6:00 pm, daily.
When visiting Wat Paknam, it’s important to adhere to a dress code that shows respect for the temple’s spiritual and cultural significance.
Both men and women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and extends below the knees. Sleeveless shirts, tank tops, shorts, and mini-skirts should be avoided. Additionally, clothing with offensive or provocative images or messages should not be worn. We highly recommend that you choose modest and comfortable attire, such as loose-fitting pants, long skirts, and shirts with sleeves.
Adhering to this dress code ensures a reverential atmosphere within the temple grounds and demonstrates appreciation for Buddhist customs and traditions.
“Wat Paknam” translates to “temple by the river” in English.
“Wat” means temple in Thai, while “Paknam” is a combination of two words: “pak,” which means riverbank, and “nam,” which means water or river. Therefore, the name “Wat Paknam” refers to a temple located near the river or on the riverbank.
Admission to the temple is free for both foreigners and Thai. However, donations are welcomed.
On average, a visit to Wat Paknam ranges from 1 to 2 hours.
This amount of time, allows you to appreciate the main highlights of the temple, including the main pagoda, the Buddha image, the meditation spaces, and the gardens.
With that being said, if you have a deeper interest in Buddhism, you may want to spend an extra hour exploring the temple’s museum and gallery.
The buddha image measures an impressive height of 69 meters (230 ft), which is equivalent to the height of a 20-story building.