This enormous temple has, at its heart, a captivating ghost story. Amid its colorful displays is a shrine dedicated to a legendary dead bride.
According to the story, Mae Nak Phra Khanong was a beautiful woman with a deep, undying love for her husband, Mak. Mak was sent to war while Mae Nak was pregnant, not knowing he would never see his love again—at least, while she was still alive.
Mae Nak and her unborn child perished during birth. But her husband did not realize what had happened after he returned from the war, as both his wife and child were still there waiting for him. Neighbors tried to warn him it was really their ghosts still lingering within the home, but Mae Nak ensured their attempts were thwarted.
However, Mak eventually realized he’d been living among the ghosts of his dead family. He fled to Wat Mahabut, where the spirit of his lost lover could not reach him. Mae Nak terrorized the town in her anger and grief before being captured by an exorcist and contained in a jar. She eventually escaped but was again captured.
Today, a shrine within the temple honors this storied ghost bride and her tragic tale. People seeking refuge from the bustle of Bangkok’s streets come to leave offerings at the shrine, as well as to release fish and turtles into the river.
Know Before You Go
From On Nut BTS Station, walk north, take right onto On Nut road and walk another 10 minutes to Wat, just past Lumpini condos.