Bangkok is a city full of temples that explain the whole history of the capital. They all have their role in history and they all have their little details. Wat Suthat and the giant swing or Sua Ching Cha in Bangkok stand out from the rest.
History of the Giant Swing
Wat Suthat is one of the few temples in Bangkok with royal status. Its construction began in 1807 during the reign of King Rama I and was completed in 1847 during the reign of King Rama III. Wat Suthat is notable for housing an 8-meter high Buddha figure from the fourteenth century (Phra Si Sakyamuni Buddha) that came from Sukhothai (brought by boat) and a replica of the Mongkhon Bophit Temple in Ayutthaya.
In the temple area, there is a courtyard with an arcade surrounding the main chapel. More than 150 Buddha images, all handmade, are arranged along the walls and near the entrances. Inside the chapel are beautiful frescoes depicting the 24 previous reincarnations of Buddha. There are also other Chinese-style sculptures. The doors deserve special attention: they are painted and decorated with Ramakian scenes.
Although the interior architecture of the temple is amazing, it is best known for its giant swing. It consists of two red columns connected by a third horizontal column and dates back to 1784.
Apart from all this, Wat Suthat is also known for a small detail, well a big detail… the remains of the structure of the Great Swing or Giant Swing, more than 20 m high and all made of teak wood. Its origin goes back to the same time as the creation of Bangkok as capital of the kingdom. At that time, the Brahmanic religion was still very important and was very present in Thailand. This type of swing was very important in the annual celebrations where the swing was associated with the arrival of Shiva and Vishnu, the great gods of the Brahman tradition. This swing was associated with good fortune and selected men would participate by trying to keep their balance while trying to pick up a bag filled with silver coins that were tied to the top of the swing. This celebration was accompanied by songs and prayers and was attended by a large number of people. Over the centuries and after Brahmanism ceased to have as much influence, the giant swing continued to be used for special occasions until 1935. The main reason to stop using it was the large number of fatal accidents.
Today, one can get an idea of how spectacular the celebration will be and how high the 21 m high swing should fly.
How to get there
Because of its central location, there are also several bus stops nearby, but we don’t recommend taking them because it’s easy to get lost. If your idea is to arrive by public transportation, the 508 bus is the most central and is part of the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour route.
The hours of operation are from 8:30 am to 9 pm.
The entrance fee is 100 bth.
146 Bamrung Mueang Rd, Wat Ratchabophit, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.