Places To Visit In Bangkok: Giant Swing
About The Giant Swing
The Giant Swing is a large wooden structure that stretches more than 25 meters into the air in front of the adjacent temple. Men used to strap themselves into this gigantic swing and attempt to swing high enough to use their teeth and grab a bag full of money attached somewhere near the top. While this practice was outlawed in the 1930s due to the number of related deaths and accidents, it is still an interesting cultural curio to visit.
The swing still stands and represents a great photo opportunity for tourists. It is also located directly adjacent to the Wat Suthat Thep Wararam Temple which is famous for its large bronze statue of Buddha and is well worth visiting.
Brief History Of The Giant Swing
The swing was first built in 1784 by the Thai King Rama I of the Chakri dynasty. During the reign of Rama II, the Swing Ceremony that utilized the frame was discontinued due to heavy structural damage from lightning. In 1920, it was moved from its original position to the courtyard of the temple Wat Suthat Thep Wararam where it stands today.
Renovations to the Swing occur approximately every fifty years due to the wear caused by the tropical climate on the structural integrity of the wood. Six giant teak tree trunks are used to construct it.
Originally, the Swing Ceremony lasted 10 days and celebrated New Year’s according to the Thai calendar. The ceremony involved using the Giant Swing to re-enact a Hindu epic involving Shiva’s descent to Earth shortly after Brahma created it.
Tips for visitors to The Giant Swing
This Wat is fairly difficult to find, but you can take a taxi. Buses 10, 12, 19, 35 and 42 all travel to Wat Suthat from central Bangkok. However, the only air conditioned bus is 42. The swing is free to visit and available to the general public.