Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaran is often referred to by Bangkok locals as ‘Wat Ben’, but overseas visitors may know it better as the Marble Temple. Wat Benchamabophit is one of Thailand’s most famous temples and 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 not only to King Rama V but also to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej who stayed here as a young man when he ordained as a monk.
Although the temple itself isn’t as grand as Wat Pho or Wat Phra Kaeo, it is still an attractive cluster of buildings and with Wat Ben attracting fewer tourists than the previously mentioned temples, it’s worth a look if you are in the Dusit area visiting other attractions such as the Vimanmek Teak Mansion.
The temple is officially open to visitors from 08.00 to 18.00 and is located in Bangkok’s Dusit district on the corner of Si Ayutthaya Road and Phra Rama V. There are no Skytrain or metro stations within easy walking distance, but Bangkok taxi and tuk-tuk drivers should know where you mean if you say ‘Wat Ben’.