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Visit Wat Samphran (Dragon Temple) (Nakhon Pathom)

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Nakhon Pathom

Presentation Wat Samphran (Dragon Temple)

Thai name : วัดสามพราน
My opinion:
Wat Saphran is located in the Nakhon Pathom province 40 kilometers west of Bangkok and 25 kilometers from Nakhon Pathom city. It is known and recognizable among all the temples of Thailand thanks to its large red tower that is embraced by a life-size dragon. Actually life-size if dragons existed;). There are many symbolic elements on this building starting with its 80 meters high which represents the age of Buddha at his death, the 16 floors symbolize the 16 material levels of Brahma loka (brahma loka is the name of the highest celestial kingdom, it gets its name from the creator god, Brahman and from the Sanskrit word loka, which means ''plane of existence''. In Theravada Buddhism, the one found in Thailand, it consists of 16 lower kingdoms and four upper kingdoms), the body of the dragon that embraces the building symbolically rises from hell to paradise, and also symbolizing the evolution of the spirit which reaches different levels through meditation, the choice of a dragon with a long serpent body is also a symbol of strength and good fortune for the Chinese and recalls the legendary ''Phya Nag'', the Great Naga, for the Thais. If the elevators to climb to the top are ''in renovation'' for years, it is anyway more Interesting to climb up the tower through the long corridor inside the dragon's body (access is from the inside). There is no staircase just a slope which goes up. The raw facades probably should have decorated with colorful murals as one usually finds in temples with dragons but they were never painted. At the top, you can enjoy a dominant view of the surroundings from the upper platform (there are 2 levels). The floors between the ground floor and the top are not accessible (I am not sure they even have a floor, it seems they are more symbolic than real).

The park around the tower, often denigrated by visitors, is quite interesting too. It offers a small pleasant circuit in a small forest by following paved paths. You can start it from the back of the tower or from the big turtle which is at the back of the parking lot almost opposite the temple entrance on the street. In your walk, you will come across a statue of a white elephant, a rabbit, a peacock ... There is also another building with a terrace on which a Buddha sits, but access was closed when I visited Wat Samphran.

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Practical information about Wat Samphran (Dragon Temple)

Wat Samphran is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (well, it's especially the tower which closes at 6 p.m. sharp).
Entrance is free but a donation of 20 THB is requested to pay for the electricity for the ascent into the tower tunnel.

How to get to Wat Samphran (Dragon Temple) ?

There is no easy way to get to Wat Samphran by public transport. I came by car but one option would be to take the train from Thonburi Railway Station or Hua Lamphpng in Bangkok and get off at Nakhon Chai Si station which is 12 kilometers from the temple and from there negotiate with a tuk-tuk or moto-taxi but it will probably be cheaper to order a vehicle on GRAB application directly from Bangkok. The temple is a 40-minute drive from Bangkok and 25 from Nakhon Pathom.

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Rules to respect when visiting a temple

Wat Samphran (Dragon Temple) is a temple and when you visit a temple in Thailand there are some rules to know and follow :

  • Dress properly (knees and shoulders should be covered)
  • Take off your shoes when entering the buildings
  • Be quiet
  • Don't hug or kiss
  • Don't point your feet to Buddha's image
  • Don't smoke

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