Bangkok is an exotic and vibrant metropolis that offers everything from glittering skyscrapers to bustling markets, and everything in between. Visitors to this cosmopolitan city will also find an abundance of world-class shopping centres that boast internationally renowned fashion brands as well as local boutiques.
A stroll down the city’s many winding streets will unearth a culinary journey, from authentic street food vendors dishing up the best of Thai cuisine all the way to globally recognised Michelin-starred restaurants. However, no trip to the City of Angels is complete without a visit to see some of the many stunning Buddhist temples.
Every year, tourists flock to experience the authenticity and excitement of Thailand culture and to explore the architecture, art and sculptures that are synonymous with the country’s rich history. There are hundreds of Thailand ancient temples that decorate each region, all of which vary in their architectural style. These differences do their part in telling a distinct story about how Thailand has evolved as a nation, as well as where the nation’s roots truly lie.
There are a vast diversity of temples in Bangkok itself. One must-see site is Wat Traimit, also known as the Temple of the Golden Buddha. This cultural landmark is situated on the end of bustling Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road and is home to the world’s largest golden seated Buddha statue that measures an impressive five metres in height and weighing five and a half tonnes.
Many of the best temples to visit in Bangkok are nestled along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. One of the most notable sites in this area is the opulent Grand Palace which houses one of the country’s most important temples, Wat Phra Kaew, also recognised as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Its importance comes from the fact that it enshrines a centuries old statue of Buddha that has been carved out of a single block of jade. Thai people respectfully address the statue as Phra Kaew Morakot.
Wat Pho, also recognised as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is another important site. The temple grounds are some of the largest in the city, boasting various murals and religious idols. However, it is most famous for its colossal reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long. For a well-deserved break, the temple is also Thailand’s leading massage school so it is an ideal location to experience an array of traditional treatments.
Moreover, Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn sits on the west bank of the river, right across the stunning Wat Pho. It is considered one of Thailand’s architectural masterpieces, featuring structure made up of colourful spires. When night falls the grounds are illuminated by giant spotlights, making the temple a sight worth viewing at all times of the day.
Lastly, Wat Saket is where visitors can see the Phu Khao Thong which is loosely translated to ‘Golden Mountain’. This giant golden Chedi has been built on a high hill in the old city of Bangkok. Not only are the temple grounds stunning but the views from the top of the hike are stunning.
There are also other famous Buddhist temples in Thailand; for example, Ayutthaya Kingdom, Thailand’s old capital when it was still recognised as Siam is home to the popular Wat Chaiwatthanaram. In the north, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple, are both must-see sites. There are also temples situated along the coastlines such as the Sanctuary of Truth, an intricately crafted wooden structure standing tall near Pattaya.
Remember, visitors to all temples should respect the local culture and stick to the Bangkok temples dress code of covering shoulders, knees and midriffs!