Visiting the “David Beckham” Temple in Bangkok

Visiting the “David Beckham” Temple in Bangkok

First things first.

I know, I know, it’s a “Wat” not a temple in Thailand.

Second things second (I just checked, by the way, and this is a legit English expression…) so yes, second things second, the Wat is NOT called the David Beckham Wat.


It’s full name is Wat Pariwat, but the fact remains that everyone seems to know it as the David Beckham Temple (except the teenager glued to his mobile whom I asked for directions – more anon).

So, why David Beckham, do I hear you ask?

“…Wat Pariwat, a one-of-a-kind temple down the Chao Phraya River. Sometimes nicknamed the “David Beckham Temple” for its statue of the famed soccer star below the main altar, Wat Pariwat is both an active place of worship and a hodgepodge of pop culture references. Eagle-eyed visitors can spy miniature versions of Pikachu, Albert Einstein, Winnie the Pooh, Captain America, Mickey Mouse, and others hidden among the more traditional figures.”

We went to War Pariwat one late afternoon, and it was empty.

As in empty.

There were a few people sitting peacefully under trees, in the shade, but no guards, no monks, no other visitors to the temple, no-one except the 2 of us pottering around, looking at all the weird and wonderful sculptures, while secretly keeping our eyes peeled for Dave.

I find Thai “wats” delightfully stress-free, since they are all relaxed, welcoming places, but Wat Pariwat takes the cake, since we were left completely to our own devices.

The sculptures are truly fun and interesting, and despite featuring Popeye & Donald Duck – and dear David, of course – not in the least bit disrespectful.

There are hundreds of fun, quirky carvings – and we missed SO many, sad to say…couldn’t find Einstein, nor Barack Obama taking a selfie, for example 😛

Nor could we find Mr. Beckham, so when I saw a little refreshment stand with a young man glued to his mobile sitting outside, I asked him (this is the kid referred to earlier in this blog). He looked non-plussed, until the man manning the refreshment stall (his Dad, I reckon) suitably attired in a Messi football shirt, explained in sign language where we should go, then told the youngster to go with us.

Which, being a polite Thai teenager, he did.

Across a courtyard, into a large building, up in a lift, and…then he had to call his dad to find out where David was 🙂

Guided by a kid talking to his dad, we checked out all the Garuda style carvings holding up the Buddha, and finally found Mr. Beckham, all gilded like the others, but sporting a Man U shirt (the statue dates, amazingly, from 1998)

The polite kid waited for us, to escort us back down in the lift and through the large building.

So polite.

As to “why” Dave is there, the best i could glean is that there was an abbot who liked football and agreed to the statue, as a way of interesting youngsters.

It is a fun Wat to visit, and is definitely one of the city’s quirkier sights.

Wat Pariwat is on Rama III Road, next to the BRT Wat Pariwat Station.

Open from 9.00 – 18.00 and entrance is free.

Despite its “fun” nature, please do remember that this is still a place of worship, so dress respectfully, remove your shoes on entering the Wat, and be mindful of your surroundings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *