History & Culture

Wat Suthat - the Giant Swing

Built in the early 19th century, Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing are both a little off the beaten track, but well worth a visit if you have the time. You don’t get to see the actual swing these days, only its frame. The swing itself was used for Brahmin ceremonies that no longer take place in modern day Thailand. One such ceremony involved young men trying to swing high enough to snatch a sack of gold attached to a pole about 75 feet from the ground. The ceremony was banned because of the number of deaths and injuries it caused. Despite these ceremonies not taking place, the temple is still very important historically and amongst Thai worshippers. Wat Suthat plays a role in key ceremonies such as the Ploughing Ceremony held annually at the beginning of the crop growing season. The wall of the temple’s cloister has around 150 Buddha images and doors at the centre of the inner temple walls have very colourful depictions of scenes from the Lord Buddha’s life. There’s a very strong Chinese influence here, with numerous Chinese statues scattered around the temples courtyard.

Details: Wat Suthat is on Kanlayana Maitri Road, a walkable distance from Democracy Monument.