Wat Samphran: Sunset at the infamous Dragon Temple – Bangkok, Thailand

I heard stories about this temple. It popped up on my Instagram feed and one of the Instagram shots is going viral. I see it reposted on all the big travel pages. So we want to go and visit to check it out for ourselves. I also want to have a sunset drone shot of this place. I’m sure it will do absolutely great on my Instagram page. But there’s one problem. It is a bit far away from Bangkok. How will we get there?

I’m currently living in Bangkok. I got an Airbnb and I am living together with Mystery girl. I cannot express it enough how amazing it feels to have a home after all the travels. A few of my blogposts started with me stating this. It just feels absolutely great. But this is killing my exploration state of mind. The crazy adventures took a rest for now.

Today is different

But today is a bit different. I absolutely want to go and check out the dragon temple. I want that crazy good sunset drone shot. But we are facing one big problem. It is more than 1.5 hours away from Bangkok! And where my apartment is, makes it over 2 hours! That is with a taxi and no traffic. But we are going for sunset. There is a lot of traffic. I also don’t want to blow any unnecessary money. I want to travel in S.E. Asia for a long time. I don’t have money to spare on expensive transportation.

Luckily Mystery girl is here to help me get there. We discuss everything over breakfast. She is from Bangkok and knows how public transportation works. We are going to take cheap buses to get to our destination and back. And I will tell you all about it, so you can get there too.

Public transportation

I am staying near Bearing BTS, which is all the way on the other side of Bangkok. It’s really far away from our destination. But Bangkok has really great public transportation. Well for the most part. There are buses, Skytrains, and metros. All of these are so cheap compared to the West.

Mystery girl uses an app called Moovit. They have a website, but it is better to install the app. This app will guide you through all public transportation options to get to your destination. They even provide live updates and give you a notification when it’s time to leave the bus.

There are a few options to choose from. Two of our options involved switching from the bus to the Skytrain and then back to another bus. I know that going by Skytrain is a bit more expensive than the bus, so we opted to take 3 local buses to get there. The first bus was bus number 25. This ticket was only 21 baht (€ 0.60).

Traffic jam

But we are stuck in traffic. We were sitting on the bus for a long time. I thought we were moving pretty great. 40 minutes in, we check the map and then we see we are at Prom Phong BTS station! Like what? This would’ve taken us under 20 minutes by Skytrain. At this pace, I’m going to miss the sunset. This will really upset me and makes i just a waste of time.

One of the options we had was to go to Bang Wa by Skytrain and then take the bus to the temple. This bus doesn’t have any traffic as this is outside of Bangkok. We get off at Siam station. Siam is a really big Skytrain stop. It’s the link between 2 Skytrain lines and leads to Bang Wa.

We take the Skytrain to Bang Wa here, which is only 56 baht (€1.60). Yes, this is more expensive than the bus, but at least it’s fast and we will make it by sunset. It’s super cheap compared to a taxi, which would be 400 baht or so one-way.

We are going to make it

Bang Wa really is outside of Bangkok. You can feel the difference. It’s way calmer and more importantly, no traffic jam! We get a little snack on the street and get on bus number 84. The bus ticket to the dragon temple is only 23 baht (€ 0.65).

The bus ride is 1h30. This is a really long time! The seats are just okay. They aren’t the most comfortable seats. But it could be worse. We actually make it at the temple before 6 pm! Sunset is at 6.30 pm. This is just perfect.

At the bus stop are some restaurants, we will get something to eat after exploring the temple.

I got the shots! Let’s explore the temple

So we made it on time. The first thing on my list is drone shots! The lighting is great and I get the crazy shots I was looking for. But there’s a lot more to this temple. I haven’t come all this way just to take a picture and leave. The temple is open for exploring. So let’s explore.

This temple is pretty much outside the tourist route. The best thing about sights outside the tourist route is that they are absolutely free! There are locals everywhere and you can really feel the local culture.

The Turtle temple

On the right side of the temple is a turtle temple. This is very strange. I have never seen anything like this before. It’s so unique. You have to enter the turtle through its mouth. But it looks like it is built to close. Like the mouth of the turtle can close.

The inside of the turtle is actually a bit messy. There are stacked tables and stuff. It looks like it is storage. But there is some free water and they also sell fertilizer? Hmmm, interesting.

On the backside of the turtle is a tunnel. Like you are going down through the tail of the turtle. Below is a buddha sanction place. I actually don’t know how to call this. There’s a statue and you can pray. When you follow the tunnel, you get out on the backside. Here is a garden and it leads to the infamous dragon tower.

The dragon tower

The dragon tower itself is unique. I have never seen anything like this before. You can enter the building. At ground level, there is a big Buddha. It’s just like any other temple where you can pray.

But this one is different. You can go all the way to the top of the tower. To get to the top, you have to go through the dragon itself. The dragon on the outside of the building is hollow and there is a pathway up to the tower.

However, because we came for sunset, the dragon was already closed. There are opening hours. I think they closed it at 5 pm. It was no longer possible for us to go to the top.

Is it worth it?

If you go through all the hassle we went through to only see this temple. I would say no. For the average tourist, this is not worth it. However, as a content creator and storyteller. Yes, this is worth it. The taxi is still a good price for most tourists.

But you can make it a lot more worth it if you ask me! There are a lot more things around and you can turn this into a day-trip, which will make it all worth it. On the way back, I suggest stopping at Wat Rai Khing temple. There are also some really amazing local restaurants in Samphran. And if you are interested, there is the Elephant Ground & Zoo. However, I do not recommend the zoo for the sake of animal care. It’s not like the other sanctuaries. Here they only use the elephants for shows.

Compared to staying in Bangkok, I would say it is definitely worth it. You will receive a different feel of Thailand. Bangkok is a big city. It is convenient for living. But it’s not really that great of a tourist destination. Making a day trip to Samphran might be worth it if you have an extra day to spare.

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