All Thai men are expected to become monks for some time, even the King. Of the nine Chakri Dynasty Kings, four of them have lived at Wat Bowonniwet Vihara during their monkhood, including Rama IX, the current monarch. In fact, the first abbot was Prince Mongkut, who lived here fourteen years before he became King Rama IV. He also formed the Dhammayut sect of Thai Buddhism.
Wat Bowon has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years with funds from the Royal Crown Properties and the Thai Government. The statues and chedi on the grounds are spotless and the tile work is perfectly aligned. A new building was also constructed to celebrate the 96th birthday of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, currently abbot of this temple.
Riverboat taxi: Phra Athit Pier
Free; donations accepted