If you have seen the 5 Baht coin before, you must have taken a glance at the stunning Marble Temple or Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram. This unique temple is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok. The hidden meaning of the temple’s name is “the Monastery of the fifth King near Dusit Palace”, the fifth King being King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V). The ashes of King Rama V are kept at the base of the central Buddha image, a copy of Phitsanulok’s revered Phra Phuttha Chinnarat.
Believe it or not, this temple is not heavily promoted as much as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. But if you miss a chance to visit this hidden gem, you would literally miss another must-see destination worthy of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most stunning point of the temple is the white marble and the golden windows, which make this temple a delightful appearance all day and night.
When it comes to the highlight of this temple, it must be the Carrara marble ordination hall which was designed by Prince Narisara Nuvativongse, half brother of King Chulalongkorn. It is built from Carrara marble imported from Italy. Its entrance is also marked by four marble pillars and even the courtyard is made of bright white marble from Italy. When you step inside you would encounter a magnificent Sukhothai-style Buddha statue that resides the Buddha Chinnarat in Phitsanulok. You'll see that most of the decoration inside is European-influenced, such as red carpets, painted stained-glass windows on the wall, the gold-on-white motifs painting and the royal blue wall behind the central Buddha image.
Furthermore, you might be surprised to discover the Bodhi tree imported from Bodhgaya in India where the Buddha reached enlightenment. This temple has another incredible fact that King Rama V spent his days as a monk before his coronation here. For those who are interested in historical artworks, there are galleries surrounding the ordination hall which display 52 Buddha images in different styles dating from Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Dvaravati periods.
Wat Ben as commonly called by locals is one of the most unique temples in Thailand. Although being surrounded by many temples, we personally think Wat Ben is truly worth a visit. It's standing out with the imported marble material. The admission fee is as low as 20 THB.
If you plan to visit, do not forget to dress properly because of the importance of the temple. The temple is open daily from 8 am until 5.30 pm. Let’s explore this outstanding sacred place in Bangkok because it’s really worth visiting once in your lifetime!