The name translates into English as ‘the boat temple’. The temple is one of the oldest in Bangkok and was built sometime in the 18th century.
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The temple was originally called Wat Khok Kwai and known for its buffalo. But after the boats was built some years later in the 19th century, Ayutthaya period under the reign of King Rama III, it was renamed Wat Yannawa.
The boat is used as a special room for monks and it modeled on the Chinese junks, small rickety ships. The 40-metre long white stupa (a placed used by Buddhists for meditation) is made from concrete and painted brilliant white, with gold-coloured port holds and point in the middle. Steps lead up to the entrance and a statue of King Nangklao. A small well kept-green garden surrounds it.
There are several other eleborate buildings inside the temple complex and several gold Buddha statues.
Wat Yannawaat isn’t a temple that’s particularly well-known or popular with western tourists. But it is a good one to visit as part of a day trip to other attractions in the area.
The temple is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. One popular activity Wat Yannawaat is to release fish back into the river. The idea is that symbolically buying them, and setting them free, brings good luck, or merit making, the accumulation of good deeds which are carried into the afterlife and next reincarnations. This activity of releasing the fish is popular with Thai people. The stand there has several different types of fish and some eels, too.
After releasing the fish, there are several different ferry boats available from this point to go for a ride along the river, which provides some spectacular sights of downtown Bangkok. The Asiatic complex, with a large Ferris wheel, bars restaurants and market stalls is also a short boat ride away from the temple. Asiatic is a great place to visit in the evening.
Unlike some of the other tourist attraction temples, the Wat Yannawa temple is free to enter. There are always plenty of monks, and young teenagers training to be monks, walking around
Wat Yannawa is on Charoen Krung road in Sathorn district of Bangkok. Take the Silom line BTS Sky Train and exit at Saphan Taksin station.