The Marble Temple: Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok
Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaran is often referred to by Bangkok locals as ‘Wat Ben’, but overseas visitors may know it better as the Marble Temple. One of Thailand’s most famous temples, Wat Benchamabophit features on the back of Thailand’s 5-Baht coin.
Work began on constructing Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaran in 1899 during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V). Much like the nearby Dusit Palace and Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, there is a European influence in the design of Wat Benchamabophit with Italian white marble used extensively throughout the temple. Following the death and cremation of King Rama V, his ashes were placed in the base of the main Buddha image which can be found in the ordination hall. Wat Benchamabophit is classified as a top-ranking royal temple with connections to King Rama V and also to Rama IX (King Bhumibol Adulyadej) who stayed here as a young man when he ordained as a monk.
Wat Benchamabophit might not be as grand as Wat Pho or Wat Phra Kaeo, but it is an attractive cluster of buildings with beautiful design features including stained glass windows. And with Wat Ben attracting fewer tourists than the previously mentioned temples, it’s well worth a look if you are in the Dusit area.
The temple is officially open to visitors from 08.00 to 18.00. Entrance fee to the main temple is
20 Baht 50 Baht for non-Thais. The Marble Temple is located in Bangkok’s Dusit district on the corner of Si Ayutthaya Road and Phra Rama V. There are no BTS Skytrain or MRT metro stations in the immediate vicinity (Phaya Thai BTS station is a 30 minute walk away), but Bangkok taxi drivers should know where you mean if you say ‘Wat Ben’.