Wat Prayoon, or Wat Rua Lek, sits on the western side of the Chao Praya river bank. Built during King Rama III’s reign, the temple’s outstanding features include a large inverted bell shaped chedi (pagoda), turtle ‘mountain’ housing spirit houses and a pond where visitors can feed the turtles.
The temple is located on the Thonburi side, at the foot of Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut). This area is on the southern edge of the old Portuguese community (Kuthi Jeen), an area designated to Portuguese merchants and government officials during the Early Rattanakosin Period (after Ayutthaya was destroyed and King Rama I founded a new capital in Thonburi).
Wat Prayoon Highlights
As a Buddhist temple, Wat Prayoon features typical structures such as an ordination hall, assembly hall, meditation hall, chedi and library. But what sets Wat Prayoon apart from other temples is the bright red, 1.5m tall iron fence fashioned from ancient weapons, including lances, swords and axes. Upon reaching the foot of Saphan Phut, you cannot miss it. This fence once was a prominent feature inside the temple, but today only the section that leads from the gateway up to the white chedi remains.
Home to the Buddha’s relics, the bell-shaped chedi (Phra Boromthat Maha Chedi or Great Chedi) sits on an 80-metre base, surrounded by a porch and 18 satellite chedis. It is quite an impressive site, due to its size, height and architectural features. Next to the Great Chedi is a well-kept museum housing Buddha images, amulets and artifacts excavated from underneath the chedi during the 2006 restoration.