Located just four miles outside of Downtown Tampa, the Wat Mongkolrata Temple is a vibrant Thai Buddhist community in the Theravada tradition, or “tradition of the Elders.” First opened in 1981 to service the Thai immigrant community, it’s become a popular destination for both locals and visitors to the Tampa Bay area. Each Sunday, from 8:30 AM to 1 PM, the temple hosts its popular Sunday Market. Here, you can enjoy a wide variety of Thai food, including Phad Thai, egg rolls, fried bananas, sweet potatoes, tea, coffee, and assorted desserts. Seasonal fruits and vegetables are also available for purchase. Learn more in the video below!
The weekly market has been a local staple for 30 years. What started out as a small fundraiser with two tables has transformed into a busy event which now welcomes hundreds of visitors weekly. Vendors set up their tables on a covered porch and sells their popular items: mostly Thai foods and orchids. Visitors are advised to arrive early as popular stalls may have long lines! Many who visit in groups choose to split up and purchase items in separate lines before enjoying a pleasant lunch at the shady picnic tables overlooking the water. Food items are very reasonably priced, generally not exceeding $5.
If you’re curious about architecture, Buddhism, and Thai culture, the Temple is open to visitors from 11:30 AM to 12:45 PM. During this time, temple staff are available to answer questions about the Temple, Thai history, and the teachings of the Buddha. All are welcome to join for religious services from 1-2 PM. For those who cannot visit on market day, the Temple is open 9AM - 4PM Tuesday - Saturday. The temple hosts meditation classes which are open to the public periodically as well.
Cover image "Wat Mongkolrata Temple with Dragon - Tampa" by Photomatt28 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0