Situated at the begin of Chinatown, the temple has the world's largest solid gold Buddha image weighing in at five and a half tons, the 15-foot tall seated image is worth in the neighborhood of US$14 Million.
The image has a colorful history, which is recounted in a free pamphlet distributed with your paid admission, 20 Bht for each.
Wat Traimit is dated back from the 13th century. The Golden Buddha image is about 900 years old and is cast in the Sukhothai style. It is believed to have been brought first to Ayutthaya. When the Burmese were about to sack the city, it was covered in plaster to hide its value. Two centuries later, still in plaster, it was thought to be worth very little.
In 1957, when the image was being moved to a Wat Prayakrai temple in Bangkok, it slipped from a crane and was left in the mud by workmen.
In the morning, a temple monk, who had dreamed that the statue was divinely inspired, went to see the Buddha image. Through a crack in the plaster he saw a glint of yellow, and discovered that the statue was pure gold.
The true nature of the Golden Buddha wasn't discovered until it was moved to its present location at Wat Traimit in 1955. When the image was being prepared for its move, some of the plaster was chipped off, revealing the gold underneath. Bits of the plaster can be seen in a case to the left of the statue.
The statue sits in a plain building just barely big enough to hold it within the temple compound. On the terrace outside of the room housing the Golden Buddha are some interesting fortune-telling machines. You drop a coin in the slot and a sequence of lights indicating numbers flash around in a circle, wheel of fortune style, eventually stopping on a number. You can retrieve your fortune from the marked boxes below the machine. The fortune slips are in English as well as Thai and Chinese.
How to get there:
Wat Traimit is located just off Odeon traffic circle, which is dominated by the huge symbolic Chinese gate marking the entrance to Bangkok's Chinatown. Or you may take a express boat along the Chaophraya River and drop at Rajawongse Pier and walk along Yaowaraj about 1 km to the temple.