Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit - Atlas Obscura

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Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit

This enormous gold Buddha statue was hidden inside a stucco decoy for centuries. 


For more than 200 years, what appeared to be an ordinary plaster Buddha statue sat unprotected at the center of Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan. Then in 1955, when a crew of workers attempted to move it, they accidentally dropped it—only to reveal the far more valuable treasure contained within: an 83 percent solid gold Buddha statue weighing 5.5 tonnes.

With its slim waist and elegant proportions, the Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwanna Patimakon, is a fine example of Sukhothai art. Archeologists believe that it was originally cast in the 13th century. Unfortunately, the discovery of the Golden Buddha led to a short-lived craze for chipping the stucco off other Buddhas, to no avail.

Today, the statue is currently Thailand’s most prized holy relics, valued at over $250 million. Curiously, the statue actually consists of nine separate parts, which can be disassembled for transportation using a key hidden at the base of the statue. 

Know Before You Go

There are two entry tickets for non-Thai nationals, one to see the Buddha and another that allows access to the Buddha and the Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center.

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January 18, 2024

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