A Guide to Bangkok's David Beckham Temple

The vibrant Wat Pariwat | ©  Prawat Thananithaporn/Shutterstock
The vibrant Wat Pariwat | © Prawat Thananithaporn/Shutterstock
Photo of Iona Proebst
13 December 2017

Bangkok is a splendid mix of traditional and modern juxtapositions and influences, a bustling hub of surprises. Not even the revered Buddhist temples, or wats, escape the thin line of contrasts and contradictions. Here, we take you inside the famous David Beckham Temple.

The story of how David Beckham made it into a Thai temple

Thailand is home to a number of quirky and bizarre temples, and the David Beckham Temple is definitely one. The “David Beckham Temple” is the affectionate nickname for Wat Pariwat, located in central Bangkok.

The temple adopted its nickname after a head monk–who happened to also be an avid Manchester United fan–decided to replace a mythic winged Garuda with an image of David Beckham on the base of the main Buddha shrine. The addition was made when David Beckham was still playing for the team, and Manchester United fans across Thailand were singing David Beckham’s praises.

The small 30-centimetre statuette of David Beckham is believed to have been added after the monk-fan received approval from the head abbot in 1998. The football star sports a slightly different haircut than his iconic one of the time, but from his team t-shirt there is no doubt who he is.

David Beckham shares the honoured base-of-the-shrine position with two former Thai Prime Ministers.

The beautiful Buddha at Wat Pariwat | © Stripped Pixel/Shutterstock

What about David Beckham and Donald Duck?

If you are keen to keep exploring, wander next door to the new Wat Pariwat. It’s currently under construction, and expected to remain that way for at least a decade longer. Here, a couple of interesting images have already been added, including an image of the childhood favourite, Donald Duck.

When to visit?

The section of the temple where David Beckham resides is not open every day; officially, it only opens on special occasions to the curious public. But the word on the street is that if you turn up (in appropriate temple attire) and ask around, you will be given the key to the famous spectacle outside of official opening times.

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