Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is a popular Buddhist temple located off the Charoen Krung Road in the China Town district of Central Bangkok.
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is open every day from 06:00 to 18:00 and admission is free.
About Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat was founded in either 1871 or 1872, depending upon which source you refer to. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is a Chinese Buddhist temple and the form of Buddhism which is practiced here is Mahayana Buddhism, which is a different tradition to the type of Buddhism generally practiced in Thailand, which is Theravada Buddhism. Unlike Thai Buddhist temples, Confucius and a range Chinese Taoist deities are worshipped alongside the Lord Buddha at Wat Mangkon Kamalawat.
To get to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat you need to go down a narrow side street off the Charoen Krung Road, which is one of the major roads in Bangkok’s China Town. The temple is easy to reach from the newly opened Wat Mangkon MRT Station as well as by walking from Bangkok’s main railway station, Hua Lamphong. The narrow access road to the temple opens out in a large courtyard where vendors sell incense, oranges and lotus shaped dumplings for worshippers to make offerings to the statues of various deities in the temples, as well as to their ancestors in accordance with Taoist religious beliefs.
After you pass through the main entrance to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat the first room you come to is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings. According to Chinese Buddhist belief there are four Gods who protect each of the cardinal points. At Wat Mangkon Kamalawat there are two large statues of these Gods on each side behind a glass screen, with a distinctive Chinese style ‘laughing’ Buddha inside another glass cabinet at the back of the Hall of the Heavenly Kings facing the entrance.
After you pass through the Hall of the Heavenly Kings you come out into a large room, off which is the main shrine at the temple. The main shrine features three Buddha statues. The central statue is of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, who is commonly known simply as the Lord Buddha. In the Mahayana Buddhist tradition there are other Buddhas in addition to the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, and other two statues represent the Amitabha Buddha and the Vairocana Buddha.
Beyond the main shrine hall at Wat Mangkon Kamalawat there are three further shrine halls: one dedicated to Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of Mercy; another dedicated to Phra Archan Chin Wang Samathiwat, the founder of the temple; and a third dedicated to Lak Chao, a Chinese saint. Beyond the three three minor shrine halls is series of other rooms and niches with statues to further deities, collections of wooden plates inscribed with the names of deceased local patrons of the temples, and a fascinating collection of smaller standing Buddha statues. The meaning of these many and various statues is far from obvious and if you are really interesting in understanding what everything means then we suggest that you hire the services of a knowledgeable guide.
Location of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat
- Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is located 1.2 km walking distance from Bangkok Railway Station.