The best temples to visit in Bangkok
Beyond the usual itinerary of markets, malls and street food
Say “wat”! You’ve heard all about Bangkok’s exquisite temples, but which ones should be on your itinerary? Here are our top picks for the top Buddhist temples you must visit, along with a few other tips as you make the most of your Thailand trip.
When it comes to the title of Bangkok’s most beautiful temple, Wat Arun (aka Temple of Dawn) is the one most people consider the most worthy. Its prominent spires, built with colored glass and Chinese ceramics, reflect beautifully onto the nearby Chao Phraya River. The best time to visit is during the sunset, when you can bask in the stunning glow of the sun and see it sinking beneath the towering spire. Enjoy a cruise around this temple through KKday.
No spiritual journey in Bangkok is complete without a visit to Wat Pho, also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha”. Explore the sprawling temple complex, home to the enormous, gold-plated reclining Buddha. But that’s not all you’ll see. There are over 1,000 images of Buddha along with the revered boddhi tree—a descendant of the “Sri Maha Bodhi Bodhi” tree at the Mahabodhi Temple where Buddha reached enlightenment. After admiring the ornate statues and lovely gardens, go ahead and treat yourself to a Thai massage. This temple is also the birthplace of the Thai massage and ancient relaxation techniques still in use today. Head over here to experience this activity on a night tour.
Discover one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the country. Take in the majestic sight of the highly-sacred Emerald Buddha, made from a single block of green jade or jasper. Its robe is changed thrice a year by the King, depending on the season (summer, winter, and rainy). Gaze upon a diamond encrusted gold robe, solid gold robe, or gilded monk's robe. Relish the tranquil atmosphere amidst the gleaming spires and shiny mosaics. Despite its impressive beauty, please remember not to take pictures inside the temple. Book this activity with KKday.
The full name of this temple is quite a mouthful, so locals have nicknamed this “Wat Ben”, or “Marble Temple”. The motif is white and gold, with modern Thai architecture and European accents; its Carrera marble imported all the way from Italy. Enjoy the brilliant glow of delicate marble and gold carvings, glittering from the sunlight. Spot monks in bright clothing as they move about their home quarters. Enter Ubosoth Hall, and view the iconic Phra Buddha Chinnarat, the main Buddha image, bronzed and illuminated in an unearthly blue hue. Spot Buddha images displaying a variety of hand poses and learn the meaning behind each one. Take a stroll around picturesque Chinese footbridges and blooming lotuses. Because this lesser-known wat has fewer tourists, you’ll be able to have a moment of peaceful contemplation surrounded by its captivating beauty. Experience this activity with KKday.
What to Wear in a Wat
As a sign of respect to the locals and the temples, it's best to dress more conservatively. The rule of thumb is to cover your shoulders, knees, and ankles. That means no sleeveless shirts, short skirts, or shorts. Make sure to bring a scarf just in case, so you can easily drape it over a tank top.
This article first appeared on KKday; the leading travel experience e-commerce platform in Asia.