Travelers looking to make their way to Thailand would do well to stop by the Wat Samphran Dragon Temple. Sitting only 30 miles (48 km) outside of Bangkok, the 17-story cylindrical tower is a well-hidden Easter egg for visitors as it is rarely mentioned in guidebooks, tourist maps, and travel websites.
This marvel of Thai architecture and Chinese culture in the Samphran district was built 80 meters tall to honor the number of years Buddha lived, and it was used by monks as a place to study and meditate. Its construction took only five years.
Founded by Bhavana Buddho, the pink shrine of Wat Samphran is known for its giant encircling dragon. The creature is made of iron and glass fiber and its hollow construction, which includes a tunnel and stairs, allows visitors to climb to the top. However, do note that the stairs have deteriorated over the years and now only certain sections of the hollow dragon can be visited. Still, you can try your luck climbing the stairs where possible to explore the interiors of the dragon, and when you’d like to make it to the top of the tower, you can use the elevator inside which has been installed for visitors.
At the base of the temple, you will find traditional Thai prayer pots. These pots are said to bring wealth, love, and eternal happiness to all those who can toss a coin inside.
Beyond the famous tower, the garden surrounding the temple is also a must-see. A trail leads visitors around the complex taking them past various statues such as dolphins, tigers, elephants, a rabbit, and a turtle.