6 Great Bangkok Shrines and Spirit Houses

Discover Bangkok's Spiritual Side

    Bangkok has its own very unique edge with numerous shrines and spirit houses at different corners around the city. Among the skyscrapers, the sophisticated BTS Skytrain system and megamalls, there are places of worship where you'd go to pay respect to sacred icons who are believed to grant you love, happiness, good fortune, success, luck and even fertility.

    Spirit houses are dollhouse-sized homes set atop a pedestal and placed in an auspicious location, which allows residents, workers and others to offer prayers and small gifts to appease spirits, represented by doll-sized human figures, or perhaps a small figurine of Buddha. Here are some of the most notable shrines and spirit houses to spot on your visit to Bangkok.

    1

    Erawan Shrine

    Erawan Shrine in Bangkok is Brahman and not strictly Buddhist. And yet, this famous shrine attracts more visitors than many of the city's temples. It was erected during the mid-1950s after the Thai government had decided to build the luxury Erawan Hotel on this location.

    The first stages of the construction were beset with so many problems that superstitious laborers refused to continue unless the land spirits were appeased. Nowadays, it’s where you can see graceful Thai classical dance performances several times a day – quite a unique cultural attraction mere steps away from the busy Bangkok traffic.

    Location: Ratchadamri Rd, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 6am to 11pm

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    2

    Ganesha Shrine

    Ganesha Shrine is an important Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati. The deity is easily recognizable (at least for non-Hindus) because of his elephant head, human components (many arms), elements of serpents, and big belly.

    Ganesha is often linked to the field of arts. Craftsmen would invoke Ganesha before embarking on a delicate process like stone carving, hence the link with the arts. Located in front of CentralWorld Mall, Ganesha Shrine is directly adjacent to the Trimurti Shrine.

    Location: 999/9 Rama I Rd, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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    3

    Mae Nak Shrine

    Mae Nak Shrine is located within Maha But Temple which was built in the late Ayutthaya period. The temple itself was named after the monk who initiated its construction. Locals often refer to it as Wat Mae Nak Prakanong (Temple of Mother Nak of Prakanong). It looks more like a 'home' for Mae Nak and her child as it's always filled with flower garlands, colorful Thai costumes, cosmetics, toys, diapers, and milk bottles offered by devotees as gifts.

    Location: Wat Maha But, On Nut, Sukhumvit 77, Suan Luang, Bangkok 10250, Thailand

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    4

    Phallus Shrine

    Hundreds of phalluses – from small wooden carvings to 10-feet-tall stone sculptures decorated with ribbons – make the so-called Phallus Shrine quite a unique sight in Bangkok. The shrine honors Chao Mae Tubtim, a female fertility spirit.

    Women visit this shrine when they are trying to conceive, leaving offerings of lotus and jasmine. And if rumors can be believed, the shrine has a high success rate.

    Location: Nai Lert Park Heritage Home, Witthayu Rd, Lumphini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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    5

    Spirit houses around Bangkok

    If you've been to Bangkok, you've seen these spirit houses. They're everywhere: beside houses, offices, schools, car dealerships, construction sites, trees, demolished buildings, malls and even high-rise office towers.

    You'll also have seen locals giving them a deferential wai (a traditional form of greeting) before heading on their way, or delivering daily offerings at the doorways of these elaborate constructions – gifts of food, incense, flowers, figurines and candles.

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    photo by ekeidar (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Trimurti Shrine

    Head to the Trimurti Shrine in front of CentralWorld in Bangkok on a Thursday evening at around 9.30pm. This is when lovelorn singles wearing red turn to Trimurti, the god of love, with offerings of red roses – all in the name of love and the hope that they will meet their eternal sweethearts.

    The shrine is a unique landmark being in front of a megamall. Many claim Trimurti is successful in matching foreign mates with Thai partners, and the shrine is so crowded on Thursday nights that you'll often have to wait your turn.

    Location: 999/9 Rama I Rd, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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