Wat Phra Dhammakaya is best known for its immense size and modern design. The sheer size of the temple makes it impossible to fully explore Wat Phra Dhammakaya in a single day, but for those who have just one day to visit the temple, here’s a quick guide to the activities that you simply must do when visiting the largest temple in Thailand.
Probably one of the most obvious activities to partake in when visiting any attraction is to take a tour. But unlike most Buddhist temples in the world a tour of Wat Phra Dhammakaya can’t efficiently be done on foot. Take a tour through the Buddhist Vatican City with our state of the art trams, designed to efficiently ferry people around the temple from one location to the other and provide an open air 360 degree view for visiting guests to see the sights of the temple with ease.
See the modest living quarters of our thousands of monks and staff who help run the temple, take a walk through our immense, but simple, Sapha Meditation Hall designed to accommodate 150,000 people, get a chance to marvel at the many grand shrines on the temple grounds that represent the history of the fastest growing Buddhist movement in Thailand, and take the opportunity to pay homage to 1 million Buddhas at the Great Dhammakaya Cetiya.
For tours and preliminary information, the World Dhammakaya Reception center is open from 9am-11am and from 1pm-5pm every day. There is a large welcome sign just outside the reception center.
Going somewhere just to look at the sights is a bit boring, in order to really indulge in the experience of being in Thailand’s largest temple requires partaking in some activities as well. One of the best activities to partake in at Wat Phra Dhammakaya nowadays is the mass chanting of the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, the Lord Buddha’s first sermon. Get a chance to make history by participating in a verse or two of Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s mass chanting of the famous sutta. The ongoing event began at the start of the rainy season in 2016 as a way to honor the Lord Buddha, who used these very words to set in motion the beginning of Buddhism.
The mass chanting event takes place 24/7 in front of the Dhammakaya Cetiya.
In addition to Wat Phra Dhammakaya’s immense size, the temple is also known for its iconic dome-shaped Cetiya. The Dhammakaya Cetiya is certainly one of the more grand cetiyas (stupas) in the world. The Cetiya houses 1 million Buddha statues, 300,000 on the outside and 700,000 housed on the interior. When visiting a Buddhist stupa, it is custom for one to pay homage to the holy shrine.
There are many ways to pay homage to a Cetiya, and the Dhammakaya Cetiya is no different. But the most classic way to pay homage to the Dhammakaya Cetiya is through the offering of lotuses. The lotus flower is a beautiful flower that represents finding enlightenment. By offering the lotus to the Cetiya you make an offering that represents enlightenment to the 1 million Buddhas the Cetiya houses.
Formal ceremonies to pay homage to the Dhammakaya Cetiya are held from 5:30am-6am and from 5:30pm-6pm everyday.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya is at the heart of the Dhammakaya Tradition, a Buddhist tradition that revolves around a meditation style revived in the early 1900s by the great master Phramongkolthepmuni. In honor of the great master’s legacy, Wat Phra Dhammakaya has casted eight solid gold statues of the great master Phramongkolthepmuni and built the Great Memorial hall to commemorate his contributions to Buddhism.
The hall is defined by its simple structure and clean lines and marked with the sweet sound of silence mixed with the gentle sound of water flowing from the memorial hall’s fountain. The calming and serene atmosphere serves as the perfect location to practice the art of meditation that the great master revived 100 years ago.
The Memorial Hall is open for public meditation from 1pm-5pm on Saturdays and 11am-1pm on Sundays. For those wishing to meditate at the memorial hall we ask they dress modestly in plain white clothes.
One of the oldest traditions in Buddhism is the tradition of Sangha-Dana. Since its inception, the Buddhist monastic community has relied on the generosity of the lay people to survive. Buddhists monastics are not allowed to make their own food and are required live off the sustenance provided by the faithful.
This tradition is no different at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and makes up a daily routine at pretty much any temple in Thailand. Experience the simple practice that has kept the Buddhist Sangha alive for 2,500 years by offering food to the monastic community of the largest temple in Thailand.
Food offerings are performed at the Khun Yai Chand Dining Hall from 10:30am-11am every day with a complimentary lunch provided for all guests from 11am-12:30pm.
Wat Phra Dhammakaya is famous for its massive events and it’s hard to get the full experience of the temple without participating in one. Get the once in a lifetime opportunity to meditate with hundreds of thousands of other people and take part in some of the largest Buddhist ceremonies the world has ever seen. While this opportunity is only available on special occasions, if you happen to be in the area during a Buddhist holiday it would be a great chance to witness and partake in one of the temple’s astounding trademark mass meditations firsthand.
Check for major events you may want to attend on the annual calendar here.
Group or Individual RSVP call +6693-104-9072 or +6695-116-5164
Of course, this guide is just a snapshot of what you can see and do at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, and one day is simply not enough to completely experience what the temple has to offer. If you have more time, we encourage you to try our 3-day program in order to have the opportunity to fully discover Wat Phra Dhammakaya. For the 3-day program, click here.