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Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha)

Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha)

It's not every day you get to see a World Record worthy of the Guinness Book. Known in Thai as Phra Buddha Maha Suwanna Patimakorn, the Golden Buddha weighs 5.5 tons making it the world's most valuable (money-wise) sacred object. Amazingly the 13th century Sukothai-style statue spent centuries hidden under a layer of lacquered plaster which King Rama III ordered to disguise it when he moved it to Bangkok. An accidental crack in 1955 revealed the solid gold interior. The three-meter tall statue in the Subduing Mara, Calling the Earth to Witness posture occupies the fourth level of a somewhat pyramid-like shrine inside Wat Traimit. Entry to the temple is free and it is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, for foreigners there is a 40-baht fee to see the massive gold Buddha image. On the third floor is an exhibit telling the history of the statue and its move to Bangkok.

The second floor is home to the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center. Both exhibits are closed Mondays but otherwise follow the hours of the temple. Wat Traimit and the Golden Buddha should be the first stop on an exploration of Bangkok's Chinatown.

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