Wat Mongkoltepmunee – Bensalem, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura
Holiday Gift Guide: Atlas Obscura Books and Calendars

Bensalem, Pennsylvania

Wat Mongkoltepmunee

A glittering Thai Buddhist temple in suburban Pennsylvania. 

Wat Mongkoltepmunee is a completely unexpected find, like a transplant straight out of Bangkok, plopped in the middle of an otherwise run-of-the-mill suburban town.

Dating from the 1980s, but finished more recently, the temple plays a central role as an anchor for the local Thai community living in southern Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Surrounding the temple is a community center and park where festivities occur, particularly on important Thai holidays like Songkran.

The temple boasts ornate decor. A brilliant and gleaming red roof is adorn with intricately designed gold-colored overhangs, while colorful mosaics impresses the viewer as they gaze above the entrance. The bedazzling array of color is contrasted by simply painted white stucco walls. Inside sits the Buddha, adorn in gold leaf and surrounded by all the fineries you’d expect in a proper wat.

The temple ceiling, like the exterior roof, is bright red, with a large chandelier hanging over the space where a monk leads meditations and sermons. Surrounding the temple hall is a patio, flanked with what is perhaps the space’s most unique features: two golden Naga snake statues, which are, according to tradition, to be the protector of the Buddha. Wat Mongkoltepmunee is truly a hidden gem and an oasis of peace.

Know Before You Go

The temple is easy to drive to, and there is a SEPTA bus stop at the intersection of Knights and Street Roads. The people at the temple will be happy to let you inside. Donations are welcome and appreciated.

Community Discussion