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Wat Maharat

Wat Maharat means Temple of the Holy Relic in the Thai language. Every city in Thailand has a Wat Maharat, however, the Wat Maharat in Bangkok is the most important of these in Thailand.

Wat Maharat Yowarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara, to give the temple its full name, is one of ten Royal palaces of the highest class. It is very much a working temple, at the head of Thailand’s largest monastic order – The Mahanikai School. The head of the order (‘The Supreme Patriarch’) resides at the temple.

Built during the Ayutthaya Period (1350 – 1767), Wat Maharat came to prominence in 1788 under the patronage of the first king of Siam, Rama 1. The temple buildings were then expanded by Rama IV, who had studied here as a young monk before ascending to the throne. The growth of the temple carried on with the establishment in 1889 of the first institute of higher education for the monkhood in Thailand. In 1997 this institute became a public university.

Foreign visitors are welcome to come and share this learning with Vipassana meditation classes held daily at 7am to 10am, 1pm to 4pm, and 6pm to 8pm. Classes are free, and it is possible to stay in temple while studying also for free, although a donation to the upkeep of the temple is normally required. If you would like to attend telephone +66 (0)2 222 6011. Please note that students are expected to dress in white clothes, and observe the eight precepts of Buddhism, during their period of study.

As a tourist you are welcome to visit the temple. Visitors will appreciate the opportunity to visit a functioning temple. The temple is open from 7am to 6pm every day. Admission is free. The temple is not close to either Skytrain or Metro stations. You can however reach the temple by catching a Chao Phraya Express Boat. The closest pier is Tha Chang Pier. If you are coming by boat, the entrance to the temple (on the Maharat Road) is a 10 minute walk from Tha Chang Pier. If you are coming from Sukhumvit, Silom or Siam Square you can connect with the Chao Phraya Express Boat by taking the BTS (skytrain) to Saphan Taksin station, which is adjacent to Sathorn Pier.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market, located in the north of central Bangkok, lays claim to being the world’s largest weekend market. With an estimated 8,000 stalls and 200,000 visitors the scale of the market is breath taking. If you can’t find what you are looking for in Chatuchak Weekend Market, you probably can’t find it in Bangkok.

Opening Hours at Chatuchak Weekend Market

This is definitely one of the must-see destinations in Bangkok, even if you aren’t there to buy anything. It is a great place to eat, drink and people watch. The market is really easy to get to by both the Skytrain (Mo Chit station) and the Metro system (MRT Chatuchak Park station). It is fully open from 09.00 to 18.00 on Saturday and Sunday, and some sections are open during the week.

Finding Your Way Around Chatuchak Weekend Market

The market is something of a maze. The market organisers have tried to help visitors navigate their way around the market by splitting it into 27 sections, each supposedly having a concentration of same product stalls, such as art or furniture. With the exception of the pets sections and the plants section, the types of product are all mixed up and you need to search around to find what you want. The split into sections is only useful if you are trying to locate a particular stall or if you are trying to navigate your way in or out by the free maps which are distributed at the main entrance.

Busy Market

If you are visiting for the first time, a word of caution: this is a hot, noisy, busy market and you might want to avoid the heat of the midday sun and take regular breaks. Perhaps better to visit both days of the weekend and do shorter sessions, rather than spend a whole day there.

Value For Money

In terms of value for money Chatuchak Weekend Market isn’t always the best place to go. You can probably buy things cheaper in MBK or Chinatown. This is particularly true of the shops on the main throughway. The prices at these shops are expensive. However, to be fair when you go farther into the market, away from the main throughway, you can get much better value for money.

Variety

Where the market comes into its own is the sheer variety of what is on sale. Not only is this a ‘one stop shop’ it is difficult to find the same things for sale elsewhere in Bangkok. A lot of the better stalls are outlets for small factories, artisans and artists. They may have small outlets elsewhere in the city but you would be hard pushed to find them. For creative artwork at the lower end of the price scale, the market is the best place to shop in Bangkok. If you are looking for a handmade quality souvenirs for your own home, or someone else, then the best range and quality is to be found in Chatuchak Weekend Market.

Location of Chatuchak Weekend Market

Next read about Where to Leave Your Luggage When Visiting Chatuchak Weekend Market