Emerald Buddha statue in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand


Emerald Buddha in Bangkok

Emerald Buddha Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand. It’s located in the same compound area as the Grand Palace in Bangkok city. The temple houses the legendary Emerald Buddha statue.

The three pagodas by the Emerald Buddha Statue in Bangkok
The three pagodas by the Emerald Buddha Statue in Bangkok

No person other than Thailand’s King is allowed to touch the statue. Thailand’s King changes a cloak around the Emerald Buddha three times a year to match the summer, winter and rainy seasons.

Tourists looking at the Emerald Buddha statue
Tourists looking at the Emerald Buddha statue

About the Emerald Buddha Statue

The Emerald Buddha is about 26 inches in height and carved from a single jade stone. The word “Emerald” in Thai means “deep green color” and is not related to a specific stone.

The Emerald Buddha is depicted in a meditating posture in style with the Lanna of northern Thailand. It’s forbidden to take photographs of the Statue from within the temple. Your best bet is to have a long zoom lens and an even longer arm to bat away the mob of tourists blocking your view from the outside.

Statue of a kinnara just outside Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok
Statue of a kinnara just outside Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok

History of the Emerald Buddha statue

The Emerald Buddha statue’s history dates back to first mentions coming from India. Physically it dates back to the 15th century where it is mentioned as residing in Cambodia. In the 16th century, it’s location was in Laos while finally in the 18th century it appeared in Northern Thailand.

Among the many other statues around the Emerald Buddha includes several Kinnara. A half-bird, half-woman creature that is renowned for dance, song and poetry.

Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)

How to visit the Emerald Buddha statue

Visiting the Emerald Buddha is probably easiest by taking a water taxi. If you are coming from a Skytrain simply head to Taksin pier. From outside the skytrain station take a water taxi to the “Grand Palace” located at Pier 8 & 9.

Once at the Grand Palace you can enter the main gates or to visit Wat Phra Kaew where the statue is located simple pass the main entrance to the Grand Place and continue to the end of the palace wall and turn the corner. There’s another entrance along this wall. Do read about scams in Bangkok to avoid the touts outside.

Statue of the Emerald Buddha
Statue of the Emerald Buddha

Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 3.30 pm

Entrance Price: 500 bhat (includes entrance to Grand Palace, Bang Pa In Palace, Sanam Chandra Palace & Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall)

Note: No short pants, short skirts, sleeveless shirts or open shoes are allowed. Sarongs and cloaks are made available for rent at the entrance. Save time and dress appropriately to avoid the queues!

2016 update: Both the Emerald Buddha and Royal Palace remain open following the death of King Bhumibol. However, there can be large queues to the royal urn which is currently off limits to non-residents.

On some occasions you’ll find that the entrance to Wat Phra Kaew does not have a ticket price. So if you only want to visit the Emerald Buddha statue try entering into the temple directly rather than through the Grand Palace entrance.

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16 Replies to “Emerald Buddha statue in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, Thailand”

  1. It’s been so long! Are you back in Thailand or is this an old post? I think the date says January so maybe I missed this?

    Fascinating to learn more about the Emerald Buddha :)

  2. I remember seeing this years ago but the crowds were overwhelming. Nice photo!

  3. It looks like one of those artifacts they write adventure movies from.

  4. One respects the Buddha and the journeys he took. Looks like this statue did the same. Interesting read about it’s history. Nice way of putting it into perspective.

  5. I really am enjoy what you write about from other countries. It gives us a lot to look at and read that really means a lot. Thanks.

  6. Nice read Dave. Like someone mentioned it’s a little like reading a famous story about a missing statue the way that one has been moved around.

    One question, do they still move it around or is this now it’s permanent home?

  7. Nice. I’ve always got time for some more temples … Good to see your return to the road, Dave (I was going to comment on the ‘Hog’ post – but no comments, so will do it here). Maybe I’ll see you back in Asia …

    Regards – MRP

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