Wat Mangkon Kamalawat

At the heart of Bangkok's Chinatown is the Chinese-Buddhist temple of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, known in Chinese as Wat Leng Nui Yee. The temple is the center of festivities during important festivals such as Chinese new years and the vegetarian festival.

The main altar of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat The main altar of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat

You enter the temple through a passageway off Charoen Krung Road. The temple is a low rambling structure with the requisite dragons playing with a pearl on the roof. Inside you'll find a labyrinth of courtyards and passages connecting various alters to Buddha as well as Taoist deities. All the while, the smoke of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of sticks of incense fills and swirls about the courtyards.

If you make your way back far enough, you'll find one courtyard with cases full of standing gilded Buddha images on either side.

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Outside of the temple building is a place to burn paper offerings for ancestors. Unfortunately, the temple's forecourt is often filled with parked cars. The best time to see the temple in all it's glory is during the annual Chinese New Year celebrations, when Wat Mangkon is the center of festivities.

Getting There

A visit to the temple should be part of a general walking tour of Chinatown. The district is easily accessible by boat. Take the Chaophraya Express Boat to Ratchawong pier. From the pier, walk up Ratchawong road to Charoen Krung, turn right and Wat Mangkol Kamalawat will be on your left a little more than one block down.