When mentioning Hua Lamphong in Bangkok, the first thing comes to mind is the Hua Lamphong Railway Station, or perhaps the nearby Hua Lamphong MRT Station. But as I mentioned in my previous post, for the next several posts I will continue writing about more temples in Bangkok. So this time actually I am going to write about Wat Hua Lamphong or Hua Lamphong Temple. But if you are thinking like I was that this temple is located next to those stations with the same name, then you are mistaken. Wat Hua Lamphong is actually located at least 1 km away from Hua Lamphong Railway Station. This temple can be found on Rama IV Road, next to Sam Yan MRT Station which is one station stop before Hua Lamphong Station.
This temple is one of the bigger temples which is probably the closest to my office and the place where I stayed in Bangkok. In fact, the first time I notice this temple was when I was going to process re-entry permit for my visa in One Stop Service Center in Chamchuri Square which located just across the road from of the temple. I was captivated with this temple that I decided to spare another time to visit it. And I was glad that I was not disappointed. Wat Hua Lamphong is not a prominent tourist destination. In fact, this temple does not received as many tourists as other famous temples in Bangkok. That being said, this temple is quite famous for locals and many worshippers would visit this temple at any given time, thus making it a perfect spot to observe a temple in its day-to-day activities.
Wat Hua Lamphong underwent a renovation in 1996 to celebrate the late King Bhumibol’s 50th anniversary of ascension to the throne. As the result, this temple now boasts neat detailed ornaments. Both the viharn and ordination hall (ubosot) are located on raised platform. Except for similar roofs, interestingly both main pavilions are designed in two contrasting theme. One is in marble with gold decorations while the other one is almost all-white. Actually the latter reminds me a lot to the White Temple or Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai.
On the left side of the temple’s ground, we can found a stable full of cows where visitors can feed the cattle as merit. Meanwhile on the other side of the grounds, people can donate coffins. Well, actually people would come to donate money to be used to provide coffins to the needy. This noble act of kindness makes Wat Hua Lamphong also known as the Coffin Temple. Unlike other temples in Bangkok which become major tourist attractions, this temple might not have a lot to offer, but this temple is a very busy one, with worshippers involved in various activities. So if you want to see a working temple in a less touristy atmosphere, Wat Hua Lamphong is a nice place to visit.