Wat Mongkon Kamalawat is the largest and most important Chinese temple in Bangkok. It was built in 1871. The original Chinese name was Wat Leng Noei Yi until King Rama V changed it to Wat Mongkon Kamalawat which means Dragon Lotus Temple in English.
The temple is in a courtyard off Charoen Krung Road in Chinatown. It was built in a classic Chinese architectural style with tiled roofs decorated with dragon and lotus motifs. The entrance passage, the hall of the heavenly guardian kings is guarded by 4 large superbly crafted statues of the Chatulokkaban, the four guardians of the world, who each look after one of the four cardinal directions of the world, each 4 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.
You will then walk into a central courtyard. The main hall contains three Chinese-style Buddha images, Shakyamuni, in the center, with Amithaba, and Yaoshifa to either side. Around the temple, there are separate shrine rooms to Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian deities.
At the rear of the temple are three pavilions, one dedicated to the Chinese goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin, one to the temple’s founder, Phra Archan Chin Wang Samathiwat, and 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 rather than tourists. They come to make merit, pray for health and wealth and 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.
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 and Wat Mangkon Kamalawat will be on your left.