The Erawan Shrine is one of Bangkok’s busiest religious sites where there’s always a lot going on.
It’s a popular spot for tourists to visit while they’re in the City of Angels, but is also a much loved landmark among the city’s locals, who venerate it as a worship site and a place to make merit.
Its popularity is also helped along by the fact of its uber-central location, at one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Erawan Shrine…
What is the Erawan Shrine?
The Erawan Shrine has somewhat spooky origins.
It was originally built in the 1950s. At the time a luxury hotel was being constructed at the same location, but from the start the building works were cursed with problems and bad luck including multiple injuries to workers on site and precious construction materials being lost at sea.
The problems were so bad that the superstitious workers laid down their tools and refused to continue to work on the project until something was done to placate the land spirits on the site.
After much discussion with religious experts and astrologers, it was decided that building a shrine was the best solution to the problem of the inauspicious construction site.
Indeed, after it was built the bad luck did seem to be driven away, and construction of the luxury hotel was completed, after which it achieved much acclaim. The hotel was demolished in the late 1980s, but the shrine kept its name, The Erawan.
Locals and tourists still flock to the Erawan Shrine Bangkok today, to make merit and to worship. It is regarded as a particularly powerful shrine for those with money worries.
Hinduism has long been an important influence on Thai Buddhism, and the site is important for both Buddhists and Hindus, as it contains an elaborate gold leafed statue of Phra Phrom — the four-faced Thai representation of the Hindu god of creation, Brahma — who has four faces representing the virtues of kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality.
Here’s a quick video primer on the shrine:
2015 Bomb at the Erawan Shrine
But it hasn’t all been good luck since the building of the Erawan Shrine.
Sadly on 17 August 2015 a huge bomb blast just outside the shrine killed 20 people, including a number of foreigners, with 125 wounded.
To this day no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, although two Uighur men are awaiting trial for the incident. An inability to find an interpreter has been the cause of delay for months.
Two days after the explosion, all the debris had been cleared, the crater in the street repaired and life went on as normal.
What to See at the Erawan Shrine
Hordes of locals and people from all over Asia — particularly East Asia and China — come to make offerings and wishes every day at the shrine from morning until evening.
The streets outside are lined with stalls selling carved teak elephants, colourful flower garlands, incense, fruit and other merchandise to be given as offerings.
Many worshippers also make cash contributions, which are then invested in multiple local charities.
There are often displays of traditional Thai dance and music to be seen here too, as performances are often commissioned as another form of merit making.
When surrounded by the opulence of the shrine, wreathed in heady incense smoke amongst the the powerful reverence of the crowds as they worship, the atmosphere at Erawan Shrine can be pretty intense.
Where is the Erawan Shrine?
The Erawan Shrine can be found at the heart of the capital at the Ratchaprasong intersection, five minutes’ walk from Chit Lom BTS skytrain station.
Take exit 1 from the station onto the skywalk, then follow the overhead sign to Central World Plaza. Looking out for Gaysorn Plaza on your right, walk straight to the Ratchaprasong intersection where the Erawan shrine is below on your left.
The Erawan shrine opening hours are from 6:00 am to 11:00 pm every day.
If you would like to make a wish at the shrine, it is best to come early before the masses arrive, or late in the day when most have gone elsewhere for the evening. Offerings such as incense, fruit and flowers are traditionally given in groups of seven.
Hotels near the Erawan Shrine
Looking for somewhere to stay close to Erawan Shrine? You’re in luck — this is the epicentre of many of Bangkok’s top hotels.
Here’s our pick of the best of them…
InterContinental Bangkok provides ultra-modern luxury and a true cosmopolitan escape.
The 5 star, 37-storey hotel features 381 rooms offering all the amenities and comforts a modern business traveler may need, such as spacious guestrooms and state-of-the art in-room facilities.
In addition, the hotel is situated directly adjacent to Chit Lom BTS station, making travel to other cultural attractions in the area quick and convenient. Some of Thailand’s largest shopping malls and excellent restaurants are also within walking distance.
- Wellness spa including hydrotherapy, massage and sauna, reflexology and beauty treatments
- Outdoor pool
- 24 hour gym
- Yoga classes
- 5 different restaurants including a renowned steakhouse grill, plus other western, Thai and Cantonese dining options
- 2 bars including a cigar lounge
Only 5 minutes’ walk from the historic Erawan Shrine, the 5 star Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is a landmark of luxury, refinement and extraordinary happenings.
It offers guests the opportunity to revel in life’s finest pleasures, from spacious guestrooms or suites, gourmet dining, lavish spa, spectacular event spaces and much more.
Each of the luxurious accommodations features stunning city views, marble bathrooms and flat-screen TVs.
- Award winning spa
- State of the art 24 hour fitness centre
- Outdoor sea salt swimming pool
- 5 fine dining options including acclaimed Italian at Spasso Restaurant and Bar
- Cocktail and wine bar
- Shopping Arcade in the lower lobby
An award winning Bangkok Boutique Hotel, the interior design and décor of Hotel Muse’s 174 rooms and suites exude an interplay of classic European signatures juxtaposed against ornate Asian motifs.
Winner of numerous awards for both its unique design and outstanding service, the Hotel Muse Bangkok offers guests unique, 5 star boutique hotel accommodation, to create an unforgettable experience whilst staying in Bangkok.
The hotel features 88 superbly appointed rooms and suites falling into six categories inspired by Buddhist cosmology and relating to different levels of pleasure. Private bathrooms have a bathtub and separate rain shower.
- Outdoor pool with wet bar
- Fitness centre featuring latest-generation equipment
- Award winning Speakeasy cocktail rooftop bar with panoramic views
- 3 dining options including a traditional tea salon, award winning italian restaurant, and the Speakeasy steakhouse restaurant
- 5 minute walk from Erawan Shrine
Have you visited the Erawan Shrine yet?
Featured image is by Mr.Peerapong Prasutr (CC BY-SA 4.0 licence)