Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing

Wat Suthat is one of the city's finest temples with its magnificent carved doors and gilded Buddha images. Construction of Wat Suthat got under way during the reign of King Rama I and continued through the reigns of the next two monarchs. The wooden doors to the main 'viharn', featuring intricately carved tropical vines, plants and animals, are thought to have been designed and carved by King Rama II himself. Both the ceremonial and main halls of the temple are huge in size, each housing galleries of gilded Buddha images. The 8-meter bronze Buddha statue in the viharn is the largest surviving image from the Sukhothai period (14th century).

Notice the varied selection of pagodas and statues in the temple compound, many of which were brought from China as ship ballast in the early 19th century. The small park area around the temple offers pleasant respite from the streets. Many shops in the immediate vicinity of the temple stock a range of Buddhist ecclesiastic supplies.

The Giant Swing

Right in front of Wat Suthat is the 200-year-old Giant Swing, a bright-red wooden structure that was once the focus of Brahman ceremonies in honor of the Hindu god Shiva. At one time, courageous fellows would attempt to grab a pouch of money from a 25-meter stake by swinging higher and higher until they were able to reach it with their teeth. Accidents and deaths were so common that this practice was outlawed in the 1930s.

Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing are located on Bamrung Muang Road. The temple is open daily from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm and admission is free.