Wat Khanikaphon (Wat Mai Yai Faeng)

Wat Khanikaphon (Wat Mai Yai Faeng), Bangkok: Address, Phone Number, Wat Khanikaphon (Wat Mai Yai Faeng) Reviews: 4/5

Wat Khanikaphon (Wat Mai Yai Faeng)

Wat Khanikaphon (Wat Mai Yai Faeng)
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Interesting History --The Name Says It All
Feb 2018 • Solo
Wat Khanikaaphon is just up Mangkon Street from Wat Mangkon Kamalawat in the Yaowarat (Chinatown) district of Bangkok.

It's a small private wat, but don't be put off by that. Many small wats have some very interesting architectural or decorative features.

But the real reason to visit this wat is because of its unique history.

Back in the CE 1800s an enterprising wealthy businesswoman Madam Feng (yes, that sort of madam) decided to build a wat. She and her "girls" chipped in to contribute the funds for the construction. When construction was finished in CE 1833, she invited Pra Tdoo -- a very famous monk who many consider the most revered monk in Thailand. In his remarks at the opening ceremony, he reportedly made two points. First, he commented that if one's motive in doing good works was to get the admiration of people, the karmic benefit was little to none. Second, he noted that a good portion of the contributions came from the earning of prostitutes and was thus tainted.

Today Pra Tdoo's statue is in the wat's bot. Madam Feng's "shrine" is in the back wall.

The wat was originally called Madam Feng's New Wat. Later her descendants petitioned King Rama V for an official name. It's common in Thailand for the King to provide an official name derived from Pali-Sanskrit. King Rama IX named Bangkok's international airport Suvarnabhumi (Golden Land) after a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom said to be located east of the Ganges in SE Asia.

Rama V bestowed the name Khanikaaphon on Madam Feng's wat. As I was told, this means the "wat that prostitutes produced/built".

Despite its origins, the wat today runs an elementary school and seems to have an active congregation of worshippers, judging from the number of people I saw at the at during Chinese New Year.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat should be on your list to visit if you come to Bangkok. A short walk further up Mangkon Street will bring you to this wat with an interesting history.
Written March 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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