History of Wat Bang Phra

History of Wat Bang Phra

History of Wat Bang Phra Introduction

Wat Bang Phra, nestled on the western outskirts of Bangkok, stands as a beacon of spiritual heritage and cultural richness. This Buddhist temple is renowned not only for its religious significance but also for its association with the sacred art of Sak Yant tattoos. In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the fascinating history and enduring legacy of Wat Bang Phra.

Origins and Early History of Wat Bang Phra

Wat Bang Phra’s roots can be traced back to the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767), a time when the region flourished as a center of Thai culture and religion. The temple was established by revered monks who sought to create a sanctuary for meditation and spiritual practice. The term “Wat Bang Phra” translates to “Temple of the Reverend Monk,” reflecting its founding purpose.

Founding Figures

Luang Phor Pern Wat Bang PhraThe temple’s founding is attributed to Luang Phor Phern, a legendary monk whose life and teachings have left an indelible mark on Thai Buddhism. Luang Phor Phern’s reputation for his wisdom, compassion, and mastery of Sak Yant tattoos drew followers from far and wide, establishing Wat Bang Phra as a hub of spiritual activity.

Wat Bang Phra Cultural and Spiritual Significance

Sak Yant Tradition and the History of Wat Bang Phra

One of the defining aspects of Wat Bang Phra is its association with Sak Yant, the ancient art of sacred tattooing. These tattoos are believed to bestow spiritual protection, strength, and good fortune upon the bearer. The tradition at Wat Bang Phra dates back centuries, with monks meticulously inscribing intricate designs imbued with powerful mantras.

Sak Yant Tattooing Rituals

The process of receiving a Sak Yant tattoo at Wat Bang Phra is steeped in ritual. Monks use a long bamboo stick or a metal rod to apply the tattoos by hand, ensuring each mark is made with precision and intent. The tattoos often depict mythical creatures, deities, and sacred geometries, each carrying specific spiritual meanings.

Wat Bang Phra Wai Kru

Annual Wai Khru Ceremony at Wat Bang Phra

Wat Bang Phra hosts the annual Wai Khru ceremony, a grand event where devotees gather to pay homage to their spiritual teachers. The ceremony, usually held in March, features elaborate rituals, including chanting, offerings, and the renewal of Sak Yant tattoos. It is a vibrant manifestation of the temple’s enduring spiritual vitality.

Wat Bang Phra Architectural Marvels

The architecture of Wat Bang Phra is a testament to traditional Thai design, with structures that exude both grandeur and serenity. The temple complex comprises several significant buildings, each with its own historical and cultural relevance.  Even without an interest in Sak Yant Tattoos, the wonders of the buildings have always been a part of the history of Wat Bang Phra.

Main Chapel (Ubosot)

The main chapel, or Ubosot, is the heart of the temple. Adorned with intricate carvings and vibrant murals, it serves as the primary space for prayer and meditation. The Ubosot houses a revered Buddha statue, which is the focal point of worship for visitors and monks alike.

Chedis and Stupas

Scattered across the temple grounds are numerous chedis and stupas, which are traditional Thai Buddhist structures that house sacred relics. These architectural elements not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of Wat Bang Phra but also underscore its spiritual significance.

Modern-Day Relevance

History of Wat bang Phra as a Tourist Attraction

In recent decades, Wat Bang Phra has gained popularity as a tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the globe. Tourists are drawn by the temple’s rich history, spiritual ambiance, and the allure of receiving an authentic Sak Yant tattoo. The temple’s serene environment provides a tranquil escape from the bustling city life of Bangkok.

wat bang Phra Tourist Sak Yant Tattoo
The bad quality of Sak Yants from Wat Bang Phra is why most tourists now go directly to a Sak Yant Ajarn

Cultural Preservation

Wat Bang Phra plays a crucial role in preserving Thai cultural heritage. The temple’s commitment to maintaining traditional practices, such as Sak Yant tattooing and the annual Wai Khru ceremony, ensures that these ancient customs continue to thrive in contemporary society.


When defining the History of Wat Bang Phra is more than just a temple; it is a living monument to Thailand’s spiritual and cultural legacy. Its history, deeply rooted in the Ayutthaya period, coupled with its ongoing cultural significance, makes it a cherished institution. Whether as a site of pilgrimage, a center of Sak Yant tradition, or a tourist attraction, Wat Bang Phra continues to inspire awe and reverence.

How to get a Sak Yant Tattoo at Wat Bang Phra

It is still possible to have a wonderful experience if you speak (or take a Thai speaker) along with you and know how to navigate around the touts to find the Temple Masters.  It has just become very difficult to do and as recent reviews of peoples experience getting a Sak Yant tattoo at Wat Bang Phra Temple suggest a rare occurrence.

It has become so difficult that those who research well, end up deciding to go to a Sak Yant Ajarn in Bangkok rather than the Temple itself.  Sadly this has lead to vast increases in costs as a few of the more famous Sak Yant Masters become more well known.

So what to do?

We have an option at Sak Yant Bangkok for getting a Sak Yant at Wat Bang Phra, with our Service 2 option which you can find details here

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