Wat Mahathat is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, not far from Bangkok’s famous Grand Palace complex. Dating back to the eighteenth century, this ancient temple was later altered significantly after one of its monks, Prince Mongkut, became King Rama IV of Thailand.
Wat Mahathat serves as the center for the Mahanikai school of Buddhism, and as such is a hub for monastic learning for its members all across southeast Asia. This large and busy temple shares its grounds with monastic cells, schools, offices, and other buildings, and features a peaceful garden towards the back of its grounds.
Meditation classes are held here that welcome everyone, with many worshippers and other visitors attending these sessions before visiting the various viharns, shrines, chedis, and Buddha images within the temple’s sprawling complex.
The easiest way to reach Wat Mahathat is by boat. Hop on the Tha Chang ferry and alight at Chang Pier. There are several entrances but the one at Mahathat Road is the one most likely to be open. Within the temple, the International Buddhist Meditation Center offers daily meditation classes at 7am, 1pm, and 6pm, while the Meditation Study and Retreat Center also holds daily classes.