Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple from the ground. Temple surrounded by trees.

Wat Sam Phran, more commonly known as the Dragon Temple, is a unique and beautiful piece of architecture found just outside Bangkok. Nestled 40 minutes out of the city lies this hidden gem. Wat Sam Phran is no ordinary temple; prepare to be wowed by this 17-story pink tower with a dragon wrapped around the building. 

This needs to be part of your Thailand itinerary. 

This guide will take you on a journey through the Dragon Temple’s unique features, its fascinating grounds, its scandalous history, and why it deserves a place on your Bangkok itinerary. 

Are you ready to discover Bangkok’s best kept secret?  

Must-See Temple in Bangkok: Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple 

Standing in front of Dragon Temple. Foliage frames the photo.

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How far is Wat SamPhran Dragon Temple from Bangkok? 

Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple is located 40 km (25 miles) outside of Bangkok’s city centre. The temple is in the Sam Phran district of Nakhon Pathom province. 

The address for the parking lot is: P6P8+469, Khlong Mai, Sam Phran District, Nakhon Pathom 73110, Thailand.

Depending on traffic, the drive from the city will be around 40 minutes to an hour. 

Luckily, the temple is outside the bustling streets of Bangkok, making it a straightforward drive along the motorway. 

How to get to the Dragon Temple from Bangkok

There are a couple of methods you can use to get to Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple from Bangkok. I used the Grab app, which I encourage you to download. 

17-story dragon temple towering above the trees. Dragon body  wrapped around building with head resting on the top.

Getting a Grab Taxi to the Dragon Temple

The Grab App is very similar to Uber and should be your go-to method while travelling in Southeast Asia.

The app is for booking taxis and private cars without the hassle.

As the journey is through the app, your whereabouts are tracked, and you will be notified if you are going the wrong way or have been stopped for too long. The app then encourages you to reply to make sure you are safe, i.e., yes, at a red light or stuck in traffic. 

This is a game changer for solo travellers.

The app can also be linked to your bank card, which means you do not need to haggle with the driver or hand over cash. However, if you prefer to deal in cash, the app offers that payment method too. 

Like Uber, you can review and even report your driver if you have had a bad experience. 

A Grab one way to Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple will cost between 325 THB and 510 THB (£7 and £11). 

As this temple is outside the city, it is less likely you will be able to get a Grab back in. I suggest asking your driver if they can wait for you and pay extra cash for their time. Usually drivers are happy to wait as they need to go back to Bangkok anyway. 

Unfortunately, I did not do this and had to walk in the direction of Bangkok to find a driver. In the end, I found a bus stop and waited for that until a taxi pulled up and offered me a lift. The taxi driver was cheaper than Grab but you pay for security. 

I paid 700 THB (£15) for the whole experience.

Wooden Bridge with two logs either side leading you to the temple.

Getting the Bus to the Dragon Temple

If you would like to take public transport, you will fall 5 km (3 miles) short of the temple. However, you can either wait and get a taxi for the last leg of the journey or you can walk.

Buses are a little complicated and semi-unreliable; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. I would just allow extra time! 

The best bus route to use is number 84. This method of transport will take 1.5 to 2 hours and will cost 25 THB (55p). 

Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple history

The incredible Wat Samphran Dragon Temple in Bangkok, Thailand, is a 17-story Buddhist temple. 

The dragon wrapped around the pink temple is to symbolise the journey from sorrow to happiness and from hell to heaven. 

Remarkably, there isn’t much information on the temple’s origins, but it was officially registered in 1985. 

This unique temple mixes Thai and Chinese design together and was created to stand at 80 metres tall, the age the Buddha was said to have lived. 

I have seen three different names for who they believe the founder is. One piece of information that keeps reoccurring is that the creation came to the founder during a 7-day fast meditation. 

The creation took five years to build but was never finished. 

Unfortunately, during this time, the biggest scandal in Thai Buddhism occurred. The abbot at the time was accused and sentenced for s*xual assault. Due to this scandal, some parts of the temple project were abandoned. 

Pink Dragon Temple with giant dragon claw holding onto it.

Opening hours of the Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple

The opening hours for the Dragon Temple are from 7am to 6pm. The temple is open 7 days a week, and due to it still being a hidden gem, there are no crowds. 

I visited at 11am and was the only soul around. It felt quite strange, like I shouldn’t have been there. 

But I did see monks, and they welcomed me into the temple, so I felt reassured that I was allowed to be there. 

Entrance Fee for the Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple

The pink Dragon Temple in Bangkok is free to visit. If you wish to go inside the temple and up the dragon, there is a woman asking for a small donation. In exchange for this donation, she will give you an offering to take with you to the Buddha. 

A statue of a man and dragons holding pots at the front of the temple.

Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple has unique features.

The dragon temple is one of the most unique temples in Bangkok because of its creative architecture. 

Did you know the dragon coiled around the pink temple is hollow? And you can actually walk up it! 

The Dragon Temple 

Before entering the temple, be sure to remove your shoes as a sign of respect. 

You will be welcomed by a nun, who will accept a donation in exchange for an offering. These offerings are flowers on a string that you will take up to the Buddha, who is perched at the top of the pink tower. 

Take your offering through the mouth and begin your climb up the 17-story building. Inside the dragon’s belly are a series of fans to help cool you down on your way up. 

Along the way, windows will help you navigate how far you have gone. Surprisingly, the journey only takes around 15 minutes. 

As you near the open roof, you will come to a room with a tree and golden statues kneeling. This is a place of prayer, and it is important to stay quiet as you move through this platform. 

Finally, you will get to the rooftop, where you will have panoramic views of Wat Sam Phran. 

There, you can give your offering and say a little prayer before your descent. 

Explore the Dragon Temple Grounds.

Thin trees going over pathway making it look like a forest tunnel.

The Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple gardens feature several different statues, from rabbits to peacocks to elephants to turtles to dolphins. 

All around this temple are pathways and sculptures scattered about. You can easily find yourself wandering for a couple of hours just to see it all. 

I nearly missed the giant golden Buddha. I had to do research on how to find it during my walk. 

To find the golden Buddha, you will need to enter the white building that might have shoes outside it. 

Walk up the stairs, and you will come to a big open patio where the Big Buddha sits, along with another beautiful angle of the Dragon Temple. 

Outside in the parking lot, you will also see another standing Buddha that you can walk up to and explore. 

A giant standing golden Buddha with a headdress, long robes and a cup in its hand.

Remarkably, there is little to no information about the Dragon Temple and the two Golden Buddhas.

Dragon Temple in Bangkok: dress code and temple etiquette 

As always, it is important to respect the culture of the countries you are visiting. 

If this is your first time visiting a Thai temple, here are a few basic tips to help you stay respectful in the houses of worship: 

  • Please cover your shoulders and knees. This applies to both men and women. 
  • Please be quiet inside the temples, as they are a place of meditation and prayer.
  • Please take your shoes off before entering the temple.
  • Please have no public displays of affection.
Golden Buddha standing with donation bowl in front and in a mini temple.

The best time to go and see the Dragon Temple

Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple is not a tourist hot spot (yet!). It is easy to visit at any time and still feel that peaceful atmosphere. However, to avoid the heat and humidity of the Thai sun, I recommend visiting in the morning. As the temple and the Buddha viewing platform are shoe-free zones, the ground can get very hot. 

I visited at 11am and was the only tourist on the grounds.

Is the Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple worth visiting? 

This eccentric and wonderful temple cannot be missed on your North Thailand itinerary! As the Dragon Temple is still a hidden gem, it is absolutely worth going. 

This temple offers a unique experience that cannot be replicated. The intricate details, like the height and the hollowed-out dragon belly, just show how interesting this temple really is. 

Where to stay in Bangkok

As Bangkok is a vibrant and chaotic city, it offers its travellers a variety of accommodations. 

The Bed Station

The Bed Station is where I stayed and loved. Located 10 minutes down the road from Koh San Road, you are among the action. 

This hostel is centrally located with a chilled but social vibe.

The rooms are spacious, with lockers, curtains, air conditioning, a lamp, and plug sockets. The hostel has a pool and a bar on site, making it an easy place to make friends. 

Once Again Hostel

Once Again Hostel focuses on giving you the proper Thai experience. 

This centrally placed hostel is a 15-minute walk from the Grand Palace and other tourist attractions. 

The dorm rooms all come with air conditioning, super-fast wifi, curtains, and personal lockers. 

This hostel offers free breakfast and has a cafe on site, which is perfect for the digital nomad community. 

Lub D Bangkok Siam

Lub D Bangkok Siam is part of a chain of hostels all over Thailand. Due to its great reputation, it is a popular hostel to stay in. 

This award-winning hostel is located next to the Skytrain in the shopping district of Siam Square. 

Another great one for digital nomads, as it has co-living spaces and an outside cafe. 

The Lub D Bangkok Siam also puts on activities for travellers like movie nights, bingo, food tasting, and more. Joining hostel events like these is a great way to make friends while solo travelling. 

Final Thoughts 

Wat Sam Phran Dragon Temple is completely unique and still a hidden gem. Even though it isn’t centrally located, this temple is worth a place on your itinerary.

As always, happy exploring!

Girl standing in front of Dragon Temple.

Explore with Holly

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