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“Bangkok - Wat Bowonniwet Vihara - Important Royal Temple that is easily missed”

Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
Ranked #31 of 530 things to do in Bangkok
Certificate of Excellence
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Gateshead, England
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755 reviews
481 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 516 helpful votes
“Bangkok - Wat Bowonniwet Vihara - Important Royal Temple that is easily missed”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2014

We stumbled across Wat Bowonniwet Temple after drifting away from Khao San Road and only paid a brief visit to the grounds, which were extremely impressive. This temple has only recently opened to the public and is free to enter and plays an important part in the royal traditions of the country as this is where the current king, Rama IX, and previous kings spent time as a monk, study and go through their ordination. It is an extremely well laid out complex which runs from front to rear with a subtle and impressive layout. We did not have too much time as other locations had been earmarked for the day, but given the importance of this place it should be higher up on any visitors to see list.

Visited April 2014
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2 Thank SteveJacksonnufc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Hong Kong, China
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5,413 reviews
3,459 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11,766 helpful votes
“Wat Bowonniwet - Several Thai kings resided at this temple during their monkhood”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 10, 2014

We visited Wat Bowonniwetwiharn (free entry) during a recent trip to Bangkok and very much enjoyed this particular temple.

This first grade Royal Temple was built during the reign of King Rama III between 1824 and 1832 and is historically important for being the location where several Thai kings resided during their monkhood years, including King Rama IV, King Rama VII and King Rama IX.

One of the things we liked about Wat Bowonniwet was the Wiharn room which features an ancient Buddha statue (circa 1350), nice wall murals, window carvings and general decor. We also liked the statues and figures found throughout the temple grounds.

There is a large golden chedi that you can walk around as well as ceremonial halls built with a blend of Thai and European architectural styles. These are attractive and unique buildings to see, enter and take pictures of.

Overall, we found Wat Bowonniwet to be a decorative and attractive temple to visit, one that we would happily visit again during future trips to the city.

You can conveniently visit from Khao San Road area and comfortably see most of the temple grounds in 30-45 minutes, making this nice attraction to see for those staying in the area.

Visited April 2014
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5 Thank BradJill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok
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33 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“worth a visit”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 27, 2013

although I personally am not into temple life, this one, the actual seat of the Thai Buddhist Sangha and therefore the most "active" temple, is sure worth a visit. has a tranquil feel about it.

Visited April 2013
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1 Thank herbertbkk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamburg, Germany
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873 reviews
472 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 294 helpful votes
“oasis in the middle of Khao San hustle and bustle”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 9, 2013

This is one of the most important temples in the whole of Thailand, as many kings, including the present spent some time here for study and ordination.
In its main Bot there are two beautiful buddha statues.If you wander around into the back area of the temple grounds, you're soon alone.

Visited January 2013
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2 Thank jobst56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
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57 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 227 helpful votes
“A great little Wat for reasons you might not expect”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 29, 2012

Wat Bowonniwet (or Boworniwet, as the locals spell it) is fascinating for a variety of reasons, well beyond its presence as a cool respite in an interesting neighborhood. Many site that it was where the current King Bhumibol received his training and ordination into the monk hood, or that the Supreme Patriarch lives here...fine. Others site the very nice Sukothai Buddha image inside from Phitsanulok…it is beautiful and soothing to behold, certainly. Others love the modern clean lines of the large chedi out back, and if you like modern chedis, fine. Still others point out the odd juxtaposition of the Chinese style broken-pottery roof top over one of its structures, and that’s interesting too, I suppose. These are reason enough to go.

I found three attractions to the place on top of those. First, it was the first time I saw, examined and touched one of the machines for which King Bhumibol holds a patent: the propane-powered canal/pond aerating machine. (His other patent concerns a cloud-seeding process.) There, in the small Koy channel that runs around one of the temple structures, is a small steel aerating machine, ingenious in its simplicity and apparent effectiveness. Wat Boworniwet is one of the few places where such channels are sufficiently oxygenated for the Koy to thrive. Second, there is hand-carved plaster of such strength and thickness that it is actually part of the support structure for a colonnade/walkway outside the Wiharn building. I was able to watch the carving process (done entirely with mallets, chisels and Surform-style formers for a twelve-foot section of supporting plaster!) and able to see it lifted into place the next day. It is molded offsite, and all carving is done onsite. Amazing filigree in a true support structure! Third, was the active life in this Wat. Much like an active Catholic Parish church from the 1960s, Wat Boworniwet has a strong local following that makes it uplifting at all times of day. Donations are taken up as necessary from locals via the placement of long steel wires to which are affixed Baht bills, into blocks of Styrofoam in large vases out front. No one steals the money, and in the end, the vases appear to be filled with Baht-bill flowers! You will feel part of a community there, even if you are not interested in architectural design or engineering. Go!

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
11 Thank DavidWGrant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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