Did you know that the Chinese Buddhist-style 8-tiered pagoda on the Western bank of the Chao Phraya River—known as the Chee Chin Khor Temple—is part of a larger temple compound built by the Chee Chin Khor Moral Uplifting Society?
The society was formed in 1952, to perform charitable works, and has had several headquarters around Bangkok during the intervening years. This particular temple area only dates back to 1993, and the grand pagoda—given the royal name Mahathat Chedi Prajonchatri Thai-Chin Charoen—was officially opened in 2001 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the society and the 72nd birthday of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The society’s charitable works include providing student lunches, disaster relief, and distributing rice, blankets, and free coffins to the poor.
The colourful pagoda and temple building are open every day from 8:30am to 4pm, and visitors can climb the pagoda to get a beautiful view of central Bangkok across the river. Cremations are also held in an adjacent temple, and the rising smoke provides a mystical atmosphere to this unique civic landmark.
The easiest way to get to the Chee Chin Khor Temple (494 Somdet Chao Phraya Rd 17) is by boat, taking the Chaophraya River Express to the Siphraya Pier, and then taking the cross-river ferry to the Klong San pier. From the Klong San pier, walk through the market to Charoen Nakorn Road, turn right, and walk about two blocks down. You can also get on the free shuttle from Saphan Taksin pier that goes to the Baan Chao Phraya condominiums, as the temple is very nearby.