Wat Jek is a defunct temple situated on Ayutthaya’s city island in the Pratu Chai Sub-district. The monastery stood on the present property of the Rachaphat University Student Dormitory at the northeast corner, near the crossing of the Rojana Road with the Khlong Makham Riang Road.

Wat Jek was located on the west bank of Khlong Makham Riang (1), north of the Nai Kai Gate, Wat Ho Rakhang stood in the north, Wat Khok Phao Khao was on the opposite side of the canal to the east (2), Wat Sing Rai stood to its south and Wat Jin more or less to the east. Wat Jek was likely part of the Chinese quarter, east of Khlong Pratu Jin (3), situated on the island's southeast corner. ‘Jek’ is an unpolite denomination of a Chinese national.

Chris Baker wrote: "In the seventeenth-century European accounts, the main Chinese commercial settlement was in the southeast, behind the port, where the main thoroughfare was called Chinese Street and the city gate called Chinese Gate. In the Description, this market stretches over half a kilometer along Chinese Street, which is lined with “Chinese brick shops on both sides” selling “all kinds of goods from China, including food and fruit”. This market has also expanded to the east and merged with the Three Horses Market behind Diamond Fort. On the island, close to the main Chinese market, there are Chinese settlements making sweets, noodles, barrels, water jars, rattan furniture, and metal ware." [1]

Wat Jek on the maps

On a 19th century map by an unknown surveyor, we find a temple called Wat Tha Phai, or the Monastery of the Landing of the Paddle, in the area where Wat Jek was situated. As the word "landing" appears in its name, the temple was likely located on the west bank of Khlong Nai Kai. Wat Tha Phai could as thus have been just another name for Wat Jek. The map indicates no existence of a chedi or prang. It is only my assumption that Wat Jek and Wat Tha Phai could be the same temple. (4)

Wat Jek appears for the first time on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926 CE, in the same position as mentioned at the beginning of the document except for Wat Khok Krabue to its east instead of Wat Khok Phao Khao. The place is though not named.

Wat Jek features on the Fine Arts Department [FAD] of 1974 CE and 1993 CE. The monastery disappears from the 2007 CE GIS FAD map, indicating that until that year, no traces of the temple were discovered.

Historical data about the monastery and its construction are unknown.

The site should have been located in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 3.02" N, 100° 34' 30.34" E.


(1) Khlong Makham Riang, or the Canal of the aligned Tamarind Trees, was before called Khlong Nai Kai. It is a still existent canal situated east on Ayutthaya's city island. The canal was a shortcut in the oxbow of the old Lopburi River. It has today its origin at Khlong Ho Rattana Chai below Wat Senasanaram and the Front Palace, and its mouth at the present Chao Phraya River, west of Phet Fortress. At the mouth was one of the eleven water gates of Ayutthaya called Pratu Nai Kai. The southern exit of the canal, having today a water regulator, has been altered. The original mouth was about 170 metres more south, close to Pom Phet. Khlong Makham Riang is one of the three large canals running north to south, of which two still are in existence.

(2) Assessment based on Kaempfer’s sketch of June 1690 CE. Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716 CE) was a medical doctor working for the Dutch VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) who surveyed the city of Ayutthaya in June 1690 CE.

(3) Khlong Pratu Jin was the southern extension of Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak and part of a waterway running through the middle of Ayutthaya from north to south. The canal, a shortcut in the oxbow of the Lopburi River, ran until the Chikun Bridge and continued to the Chinese water gate (Pratu Jin).

(4) Assessing all the monastic structures in the zone demarcated by Chikun Road, Pa Thon Road, Pridi Banomyong/Rojana Road and U Thong Road is rather complex, as the position and name of the structures vary on different maps. On a 19th century map, there are 15 structures counted, while on the 20th century PBR map, there are 13 mentioned. There is inconsistency in the names and the positions. Even maps drafted by the Fine Arts Department, what I presume based on excavations in the zone, shed no light on this matter. The positions of monastic structures can be asserted, but their ancient names will remain questioned forever.


[1] Baker, Chris (2011). Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society. Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767: Translation and Analysis of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya. Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. 99.