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
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.