Wat Chalong

Although historical records are unclear, Wat Chalong was probably first constructed during the reign of King Rama II (r.1809–24). The temple moved locations at one point, and the original structure no longer remains. Today, this complex features sacred imagery, including sculptures and mural paintings that depict the Buddha’s life. The holiest object is a bone fragment of the Lord Buddha, now housed inside the Grand Pagoda. The temple is known as Wat Chaitararam by royal decree, but everybody refers to it as Wat Chalong.prac_infoChao Fah Nok Road • 07621 103607638 1893 • open 7am–5pm daily

1. Buddha Image

Known as Poh Than Jao Wat, the temple’s principal Buddha image is found inside Wat Chalong’s western hall. It is flanked by two statues, one of which supposedly depicts a local man who won several lotteries after praying to the Buddha image.

2. Grand Pagoda

This 197-ft (60-m) tall golden pagoda enshrines a bone splinter of the Buddha. Brought from Sri Lanka in 1999, the fragment is housed inside a chedi (stupa) on the third story of the pagoda.

3. Gilded Statues

Cast in bronze, these depictions of former temple abbots are covered in flecks of gold foil. Visitors offer donations and make merit by affixing small pieces of gold-colored foil onto the statues.

4. Architecture

The temple’s colorful multi-tiered sloping roofs, ornate exterior, and interior decorations are very picturesque and provide opportunities for great photographs. The towering golden spire of the Grand Pagoda and glittering window frames are among other visual highlights of Wat Chalong.

5. Wall Paintings

Inside the Grand Pagoda, wall paintings depict events from the life of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha after gaining enlightenment. The Buddha is depicted teaching his disciples and receiving offerings, among other acts.

6. Merit-Making

Thai Buddhists visit temples and pay respect to the Buddha, and other spiritual leaders, in order to accumulate merit, with the belief that meritorious deeds will benefit one’s position in this life and future lives.

7. Firecrackers

Devotees burst firecrackers to give thanks for answered prayers. The fireworks pop inside a beehive-shaped structure located outside, near the sermon hall.

8. Fortune Telling

You can consult the fortune tellers who sit inside the temple’s main hall. They shake two cans of numbered bamboo sticks until one stick falls on the floor. The number corresponds to a paper slip inside a wooden cabinet. Retrieve the fortune and ask someone to translate it for you.

9. Wax Figures

Lifelike wax models of former temple abbots can be found inside a special exhibition space. Visitors pay tribute to these spiritual leaders to make merit.

10. Temple History

During an uprising of Chinese tin workers in the late 19th century, many local Thais fled to Wat Chalong for protection. The temple’s then abbot, Luang Poh Cham, provided shelter to the people and was later honoured by King Rama V (r.1868–1910).

Wat Chalong Fair

First held in 1954, the annual Wat Chalong Fair transforms the temple grounds into a bustling entertainment venue featuring live music performances, sermons, and an endless variety of delicious local cuisine. Vendors also set up carnival games, ferris wheels, and merry-go-rounds. The eight-day festival coincides with the Chinese New Year and historically marked the end of a local farm harvest.

Tip Tip: Remember to dress conservatively and remove your shoes before entering certain buildings.
Tip Tip: A number of street food vendors, selling everything from fried grasshoppers to grilled chicken and pork skewers marinated in chilli sauce, congregate outside the temple.
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