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The 17-Story Dragon Wrapped Around Pink Buddhist Temple

Khadija Bilal

One of the most popular things to do on vacation in Asia is roam visit ancient temples and religious monuments. When we think of ancient Buddhist temples, we have certain images in our minds.

We see ornate wooden carvings, detailed golden statues, and similar symbols of spirituality and power — but what we don’t typically imagine is a big pink tower with a gigantic dragon curled all around it. However, over in Thailand, there really is a temple just like that.

The temple is question is known as Wat Samphran. The word “Wat” simply refers to a type of temple, while “Samphran” relates to the temple’s location in Amphoe Sam Phran, Nakhon Pathom province.

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

The temple is only about 25 miles outside of Bangkok, so it’s very easy to access for tourists, but is actually one of the lesser lesser known temples in Thailand, making it quite a quiet and peaceful location for large parts of the year.

Any visitors who do make the journey to Wat Samphram will be greeted with a truly spectacular sight. The temple towers some 17 stories into the air.

It’s formed in a cylindrical shape and has been painted completely pink from top to bottom. All the way up the statue, curling around and around it, is a huge dragon sculpture which runs right from the base to the top.

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

According to This Is Colossal, the concept for the design of this rather peculiar temple came to a Buddhist monk during a week-long fast. He’d been meditating for several days when the image simply came to him.

The temple was then constructed according to his vision, being specifically built at a height of 80 meters (260 feet) in order to represent Buddha’s age when he died.

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Giant Dragon Temple at Wat Samphran at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

As explained by Go To Thailand, the temple is surrounded by beautiful lush gardens and never gets particularly busy, with many people ranking it as one of the county’s “hidden gems”.

It’s a very unique place where tourists can get right up close to the dragon sculpture and see all the intricate detail that went into its creation.

Giant Chinese dragon encircling a red temple at Wat Samphran in Nakhon Pathom province, near Bangkok, Thailand

Giant Chinese dragon encircling a red temple at Wat Samphran in Nakhon Pathom province, near Bangkok, Thailand

Down at the base of the tower, visitors can marvel at the dragon’s feet and the many colorful flags, ribbons, and decorations that have been placed there by monks and visitors over the years.

There’s also a little pit where visitors can toss coins in, attempting to hit various statues and pots in the process. A sign hung nearby lets visitors know that they can attain wealth, health, and happiness by donating money to the temple.

Nakon Pathom, Thailand – February 5, 2018: Religious offerings in the courtyard of the dragon temple Wat Samphran, Nakhon Pathom province, near Bangkok, Thailand

Nakon Pathom, Thailand – February 5, 2018: Religious offerings in the courtyard of the dragon temple Wat Samphran, Nakhon Pathom province, near Bangkok, Thailand

As well as the dragon itself, the gardens and area around the temple are decorated with many additional animal statues and figures.

There’s a whole trail for guests to walk along, seeing statues of diving dolphins, towering elephants, majestic tigers, and more. There are also various memorials from the past, as well as actual wildlife in the form of deer and birds.

Getting back to the temple itself, the dragon is actually a stairway. Parts of it have deteriorated over the years, so the interior of the temple has been fitted with its own stairway and elevators.

The views from the very top are said to be unparalleled, with visitors from all over the world making the climb each day and taking photos of their incredible journey to one of the most unique locations in all of Thailand.