Wat Traimit

Hansar Cafe / Bar, Sukhumvit Soi 1, Bangkok, Thailand, 2006-12-03

#travel #thailand

I didn’t know of Wat Traimit until friends who were in town a couple of months ago asked me to take them there. Wat Traimit is in a fairly leafy part of town which even on a hot day like today makes it a nice place to visit.

To get to Wat Traimit today I took a motorcycle taxi from my place to Nana BTS, then the skytrain to Asoke station, and the subway to Hualampong. In the end it took probably the same amount of time and cost as it would have by taxi, which would have been more convenient, but sitting in the back of Bangkok taxi’s all the time gets boring after a while!

The subway is a great way to get there if you happen to be near a subway station because from exit number 1 at Hualamphong subway station it’s no more than a 5 minute walk to the temple. When you get to the top of the escalator at exit 1, you just walk straight ahead, crossing the bridge over the canal, and then take the first left (not the street that runs next to the canal, but the one after it). Wat Traimit is about 100 metres down that street.

Traimit is an active monastery. Today I was there while there were monks chanting, which still sounds exotic to my western ears. The monastery has a couple of chapels, but the main one houses a large golden buddha image. Not just large either, this statue of Buddha in the seated position must be around 12 feet high, and it’s allegedly solid gold. By my calculations, thats a serious amount of gold. The twist is that originally it was covered in plaster, and somehow the knowledge that inside it was solid gold was lost. In the 1950’s the image was being moved, and during that process some of the plaster was chipped off and the solid gold interior was re-discovered.

The main chapel where the gold buddha image is housed is elevated above the other chapels and the monks homes. Up there with the breeze and craggy twisted trees around the forecort it feels a little like being at a mountain temple like Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

I arrived at Traimit sometime around 1:30 pm. Even though it’s less well known than Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, by that time of day there were throngs of tourists. There were in fact so many people at one point in time that it wasn’t possible to get inside the chapel housing the buddha image. The temple is open from 8:30 am and I’d recommend visiting it earlier in the day than when I went.