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Wat Bang Kung (วัดบางกุ้ง)


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Bang Kung Camp was once a navy campsite during the reign of King Taksin the Great. Following the second defeat of the Ayutthaya kingdom in 1767, the king relocated his navy to this campsite. A wall was built, making a temple, Wat Bang Kung, not only the spiritual center of the camp but also the physical center. As King Taksin the Great later ordered Chinese soldiers from various provicnces to guard the camp, the camp came to be known as Bang Kung Chinese Camp. A year later, Ayutthaya was successfully reclaimed, and the campsite was left deserted for almost 200 years before the Ministry of Education built a shrine to memorialize King Taksin the Great’s achievements.

Within the camp compound, there is an ordination hall built in the Ayutthaya period and now covered with lush ficus. Upon arriving at the compound, visitors will also see a replica wall built to celebrate King Taksin the Great’s battle with invading forces.



Temple hidden within the roots of a banyan tree







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Even though many have come to visit and photograph the small buddhist temple that appears to be emerging from within a banyan tree, the historic significance of Wat Bang Kung, and its beautiful natural surroundings alongside the western bank of the Mae Khlong river in Amphawa district, are often not fully known by tourist and Thai alike.

While there are, admittedly, many buddhist temples to visit throughout Thailand Wat Bang Kung is one of the most iconic. Having been engulfed by the roots and branches of large banyan trees over the course of several centuries the temple provides a seamless combination of natural beauty and serene spiritualism.


Customer feedback – “This temple reminded me of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Really beautiful and unique with the trees growing through it.”

The temple building dates from the Ayutthaya period and, aside from the golden buddha image it houses, is quite simple in design. The remarkably majestic banyan trees are the crowning glory of the site, dominating the temple and shading much of the landscape, a landscape that served as a battleground for Siamese and Burmese warriors in the 18th century. Today, the temple and nearby area is preserved as a memorial to those heroic warriors of the past.

Some of the more unique items you will see at Wat Bang Kung:
Statues of soldiers in 18th century dress.
Statue of General Taksin (he would eventually become King Taksin).
A pier to enter the temple if arriving by boat from the Mae Khlong river.
A small zoo with birds and monkeys.

The Wat Bang Kung temple area served as an army stronghold of the Siamese after the ancient city of Ayuttahya was overrun by the Burmese in 1767. During this time, Burmese forces had blockaded the Mae Khlong river and the Siamese General Taksin managed to gather his army at the area of Wat Bang Kung.

Customer feedback – “I was amazed to learn more about this area from our private tour guide. I really wasn’t aware of Thailand’s history of war with Burma. It added a lot to my trip to Thailand.”

Eventually, Burmese forces attacked the Siamese camp, but General Taksin and his warriors won a victory that would end up turning the tide of the war in favor of the Siamese.

The next year, in 1768, Burmese forces retreated from Siam and General Taksin and his army left the area of Bang Kung. In time, the temple was forgotten and the banyan trees reclaimed the land. In 1967, as part of Thailand’s bicentennial celebrations, the government had the site restored and commissioned a memorial statue of King Taksin at the site.






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Location

Samut Songkhram 4013 Rural Rd., Bang Khonthi, Amphoe Bang Khonthi, Chang Wat Samut Songkhram 75120

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