Planning or considering a trip to Bangkok? The capital of Thailand is certainly a busy place, yet it’s also full of magnificent temples and palaces that are worth visiting, even if you aren’t religious. The beauty and grandeur of these sacred sites is captivating, and exploring them is a great way to spend a holiday.
Why Are There Temples in Bangkok?
The intricately decorated Buddhist temples, with their unique architecture, are certainly gorgeous, but why are there so many in this city? They play an important role in the lives of Thai people (more than 90 percent of whom are Buddhist), and they continue to be used by monks, who you’ll see walking around and attending to prayers. The structures were built as far back as the 17th century, and some of them are more modern, so you can compare the differences as you check them out.
In Bangkok, there are hundreds of temples, or wats. All of them are unique, but some of them really stand out from the rest. You won’t want to miss these while you’re in Bangkok.
- Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Also known as Wat Pho, this is one of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok, featuring the famous Reclining Buddha. It’s located next to the Grand Palace. This temple is also home to a massage school, and visitors can get a *traditional Thai massage or enroll in a massage class.
- Temple of Dawn. Wat Arun is on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its image is on Thai currency, and it is one of Bangkok’s most iconic constructs. The Temple of Dawn, or Wat Arun, is also one of the most ornate wats in the city.
- Temple of the Great Swing.Named for a giant swing and ancient ceremony, Wat Suthat is also known for its elegant roof structure. The temple was once the site of the Great Swing Ceremony, in which young men would give thanks for a good rice harvest by taking turns on a giant swing. The frame of the Giant Swing can still be seen today inside this temple, along with a huge Buddha and massive wall paintings.
- Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Phra Kaew houses one of Thailand’s most revered Buddha statues, which is carved from a single piece of jade. Inside the temple, murals depict the traditional life story of the Buddha.
- Temple of the Golden Buddha. Wat Traimit has the world’s largest sitting Buddha, which is covered in gold foil. It is located on the edge of Bangkok’s Chinatown, and recent renovations make it especially worth seeing.
- Marble Temple. Wat Bencharnabophit, one of the most modern temples in Bangkok, stands out for its beautiful, Italian white marble façade.
- Wat Pathum Wanaram. This temple is located in one of the busiest shopping districts in Bangkok. The grounds are especially beautiful and make for a great place to take a break from shopping, relax, and take in the view.
- Wat Dhammamongkol. Also known as Wat Dhammamongkon, this temple is relatively new and is Bangkok’s tallest temple, so it can be seen from many places throughout the city. It houses a museum with a large collection of Buddhist texts, monk’s fans, bowls, statues and other temple furnishings. It is located just southeast of Bangkok and is known for its pond, which is filled with turtles.
- Wat Prayoon. This temple is on the western side of the Chao Praya river bank.
- Temple of the Golden Mount.Wat Saket isn’t exactly a remarkable temple; however, the man-made hill on which it sits offers an incredible and beautiful view of Bangkok.
A few other things to remember when you go
- Consider the time when you want to see the temples. The best time to visit temples is early morning when it’s cooler and less crowded. Most temples close at 6 p.m.
- Appropriate dress is required to be let in. This means no shorts or revealing tops.
About the Author: Sienna Brown is an avid traveller and writer. She enjoys sharing her journeys with others online. She visited Bangkok last year and was able to see all 10 of the above temples on her trip.