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Buddhist temple..JPG Wat Peapahd.Battambang.2009.jpg
Cambodian padgodas: Left: Wat Ko, Right: Wat Peapat

A wat is a monastery temple in Thailand, Cambodia, or Laos. The word wat (Thai: วัด (Pronunciation), Khmer: វត្ត, sometimes rendered vat when referring to Laos) means "school".


Front of Wat Mahathat in Luang Prabang, Laos

Strictly speaking a wat is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks' quarters, the temple proper, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha, and a structure for lessons. A Buddhist site without a minimum of three resident monks cannot correctly be described as a wat, although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. (As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.)

In Cambodia, a wat is used to refer to all kinds of places of worship. Technically, wat generally refers to a Buddhist place of worship, but the technical term is វត្តពុទ្ធសាសនា (wat pootasasna). A Christian church can be referred as វិហារយេស៊ូ(vihear yeasu). Angkor Wat អង្គរវត្ត means city of temples.

In everyday language in Thailand, a wat is any place of worship except a mosque (Thai สุเหร่า - su-rao; or มัสยิด - Thai rendering of masjid; a mosque may also be described as โบสถ์ของอิสลาม - bot khong Is-a-lam). Thus wat cheen is a Chinese temple (either Buddhist or Taoist), wat khaek is a Hindu temple, and wat kris or wat krit or wat farang is a Christian church, though Thai โบสถ์ (โบด bot) may be used descriptively as with mosque.


According to Thai law, the Thai Buddhist temples are categorised into two types:

The facade to the Phra Viharn Luang (meeting hall) at Wat Suthat, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Bangkok, Thailand


A typical Buddhist wat consists of the following buildings:

The living quarters of the monks, including the กุฏิ (Thai กุติ kuti or กุด kut - monk cells) are separated from the sacred buildings.

The roofs of Thai temples are often adorned with chofahs.


Some well-known wats include:







  1. ^ ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศกระทรวงธรรมการ แผนกกรมสังฆการี เรื่อง จัดระเบียบพระอารามหลวง, เล่ม ๓๒, ตอน ๐ ก, ๓ ตุลาคม พ.ศ.๒๔๕๘, หน้า ๒๘๔

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