Wat Mahathat


The head-quarters of Thailand's most ancient monastic order and home Vipassana Meditation centre, Wat Mahathat is the most important center of Buddhism and meditation studies in South East Asia. Many guests from Cambodia and Laos can be met here.

Built during the Ayutthaya period this wat was known as Wat Salak. Soon after the capital was moved from Thonburi to Bangkok, the wat got its strategic location between the Grand Palace (then under construction) and the residence of the vice-king called the Front Palace. As a result, the wat started to be used for royal ceremonies and burials. During the last two centuries the wat was promoted in terms of its status. It acquired the name of Wat Mahathat of Bangkok in 1803 and got its modern name in 1996.

The wat is home to Thailand's oldest higher education facility for the Buddhist monks, MCU or Maha Chulalongkorn University. It was established in 1887 by King Chulalongkorn for Buddhist monks, novices and laymen with the emphasis being put on Buddhist studies. It opened its doors in 1889 and received its present name in 1896. There is a faculty of Human Sciences, Social sciences, International programme and a special graduate college programme.

The majority of the meditation programmes are conducted in Thai language, but there are some in English. Wat has gradually become a popular place for Vipassana studies. Vipassana can be translated as the "superior vision meditation" or higher vision. It is one of the movements aiming at self-development via Buddhist meditation techniques. Classes are held daily.

After visiting this wat you will also be able to find out your destiny. Bangkok's major amulet market appears next to the wat every Sunday, where you can find all kinds of religious amulets, charms, talismans and products of Thai medicine. There is almost everything capable of bringing you luck or scaring the evil spirits away. The amulets are also used for particular purposes, such as to attract financial prosperity, help in love affairs, tackle health problems and give protection from the enemies.

Address: 3 Thanon Maharat, Na Luk
Opening hours: daily 7 am – 6 pm
How to reach: Tha Chang pier
Coordinates: 13.7549, 100.49003