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Looking for a unique temple around Bangkok? Then visit the amazing Wat Samphran dragon temple, located just outside the city. The location, surrounded by greenery, is surprisingly peaceful and barely visited by tourists. Join us, as we explore Wat Samphran’s life-sized dragon and temple grounds. Get ready to be amazed!

Wat Samphran: the Dragon Temple

Sometimes you see photo flashing past, you get inspired and immediately think: WOW! I want to see that in real life! You know what I’m talking about, right?

That’s what happened to me a year ago when I came across this photo on the internet:

Wat Samphran in Bangkok

Photo credit: Avaxnews

How awesome is this?! It’s definitely nothing like all other temples in Thailand. I really want to go here!

After a couple of minutes’ research on the internet, I found out that this remarkable temple is located only 40 kilometers outside of Bangkok’s city centre. Also, I read that there are barely any tourists there and that you should really take your time when exploring the surrounding garden.

And so we went on our “adventure”. We decided to go by taxi. We showed the taxi driver the photo and he immediately knew where it was. That’s how “difficult” traveling through Thailand is in 2017…

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Foot of the dragon

After about 45 minutes we could see the dragon temple loom up ahead of us from the highway.

We got out in surprisingly green and serene surroundings at the foot of the dragon. Wow! Awesome!

Decorated dragon feet - Wat Samphran in BangkokWat Samphran in BangkokWat Samphran in Bangkok

Just like going to the fun fair

Before climbing the dragon (save the best for last), we noticed a large pit surrounded by lots of small red signs with enticing messages written on them.

Eternal happiness, wealth for your entire family, a new successful job or friendships for life were among the things that could be yours; if you could manage to hit certain objects, statues or pots with your coins, that is.

So of course we threw about a month’s salary into that pit. But hey, we can rest assured that happiness and prosperity will be ours for many years to come!

After hearing all our “oohs” and “aahs”, a monk decided to have a look as well – and he was very happy with the day’s spoils.

Throwing coins for good luck - Wat Samphran in BangkokYes, I'd like that! Wat Samphran in BangkokA monk doing it's ritual for good luck - Wat Samphran in Bangkok

Beastly garden around the Wat Samphran

Besides throwing coins, there’s a lot more to see and do around Wat Samphran.

The trail, entirely decorated with hand and footprints, leads past all kinds of animal statues and crazy things, such as a white rabbit, an undulating path with jumping dolphins, a huge elephant which you can walk under, a wooden ship that suddenly appears out of nowhere and statues of tigers.

The absolute highlight is the turtle under which you can walk through a large underground concrete tunnel with a small pond.

All in all, you’ll easily spend an hour walking through the gardens and marveling at Wat Samphran’s sights. During that time, you’ll run into only a handful of (mostly Thai) tourists.

Giant turtle-cave where you can wander around in - Wat Samphran in BangkokFootprints in the pavement - Wat Samphran in BangkokBig lotus flower with golden Buddha statue in the center - Wat Samphran in BangkokBig lotus flower with golden Buddha statue in the center - Wat Samphran in BangkokThe surrounding temple grounds of Wat Samphran in BangkokStatue of a lion - Wat Samphran in Bangkok"Wild" animals around Wat Samphran in BangkokGiant rabbit in the garden of Wat Samphran in Bangkok

Climbing the Dragon

After having a drink of water in the shade, we decided it was time to climb the dragon. The view from the top has to be amazing, and what about the inside of the building?

As is custom, we removed our slippers and entered the dragon temple – which was somewhat musty. There was a lot of dust and, with the exception of one flickering fluorescent tube, it was poorly lit.

The elevator had been securely barricaded as well, so we had to take the stairs.

The elevator is best avoided - Wat Samphran in Bangkok
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before we ran into a closed door. &@^#&^@%#%!!

I tried to enter all the four-digit codes imaginable and asked all the monks for the code in my best Thai, but they wouldn’t give it to me. The door remained closed…

Acces forbidden; and yes, we tried a couple codes - Wat Samphran in Bangkok

Getting there

The easiest way to get to Wat Samphran is by taxi. A one-way trip on the meter is about 400 Thai Baht. At the roadside near the Wat Samphran exit you can easily hail another taxi to take you back to the center of town.

The dragon temple is a great outing for families with kids, because there are just so many fun things to see. The surroundings are green, it has a pleasant atmosphere, there’s enough shade and all in all it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours of your day. The morning and the late afternoon are the best times to go. Make sure you bring food and drinks though. Oh, and some coins as well!

Best Hotels Bangkok

Here Hostel, Bangkok

Here Hostel - $

Only a 10-minute walk from Khao San Road, Here Hostel is a backpacker’s paradise! It offers private, shared or female only rooms and is equipped with aircon, warm showers, clean towels, kitchen, lockers and a slide (!). Breakfast is included!

Chillax Resort, Bangkok

Chillax Resort - $$$

The Chillax Resort is located in the backpacking district of Banglamphu (walking distance from KSR). It’s a perfect place for couples; it’s got a hot tub in the middle of the room and a swimming pool on the roof with a view of the city. How romantic!

Inspired to visit the Dragon Temple? When are you going?

Credit page header image: Avaxnews


Author Sander

Former elementary school teacher, storyteller, sports enthusiast, and adventurer. Love to do the "impossible", which is usually the exact opposite of what’s expected.

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