Bangkok is home to some of the most breathtaking and historic temples in the world. These temples, also known as wats, are an essential part of Thai culture and religion. Here are some of the must-visit sites when exploring Bangkok’s historic temples:
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a temple located within the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the most important and revered temples in Thailand, and is a popular tourist attraction.
The temple was built in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, and is home to the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha. The statue is made of jade and stands at just over two feet tall. It is believed to have originated in India, and has a long and fascinating history that includes being stolen, lost, and rediscovered multiple times.
The temple itself is ornately decorated with intricate carvings, gold leaf, and colorful mosaics. Visitors to the temple are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the sacred site.
Wat Phra Kaew is an important cultural and religious site in Thailand, and a must-see destination for anyone visiting Bangkok.
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the largest and oldest temples in the city, and is home to a massive gold-plated statue of a reclining Buddha.
The temple dates back to the 16th century, and has undergone numerous renovations and expansions over the centuries. It is a significant cultural and religious site in Thailand, and is also renowned for its traditional Thai massage school, which is considered one of the best in the world.
The centerpiece of the temple is the giant reclining Buddha statue, which measures over 46 meters long and 15 meters high. The statue is covered in gold leaf and features intricate mother-of-pearl inlays on its feet, which depict various symbols and auspicious characters.
In addition to the reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also home to numerous other impressive structures and works of art, including a stunning collection of chedis (stupas) decorated with colorful porcelain tiles, and a courtyard filled with towering stone sculptures.
Visitors to Wat Pho are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple. It is also recommended to arrive early in the morning to avoid crowds and the heat of the day.
Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is a Buddhist temple located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city, and is renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate details.
The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period, and was originally known as Wat Makok. It was later renamed Wat Arun, or “Temple of Dawn,” after the Hindu god Aruna, who is often depicted as the charioteer of the sun.
The most striking feature of Wat Arun is its central prang, or tower, which rises over 70 meters into the sky. The prang is adorned with colorful glass and Chinese porcelain tiles, which shimmer in the sunlight and create a beautiful mosaic effect.
Surrounding the central prang are four smaller towers, each of which is also covered in intricate decorations and symbolism. Visitors can climb the central prang for stunning views of the river and the city skyline.
Wat Arun is considered one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok, and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Visitors should dress modestly and be prepared to remove their shoes before entering the temple grounds.
Wat Saket, also known as the Golden Mount Temple, is a Buddhist temple located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. It is situated on top of a man-made hill that offers stunning views of the city and is a popular tourist attraction.
The temple was built in the late 18th century, during the reign of King Rama I, and was originally designed to be a chedi, or stupa, to house the relics of the Buddha. However, the project was abandoned due to the instability of the hill, and the structure remained unfinished for many years.
In the early 20th century, King Rama V decided to complete the construction of the chedi, and a large golden stupa was erected on top of the hill. The temple has undergone several renovations and additions over the years, and is now a major religious and cultural site in Bangkok.
Visitors to Wat Saket can climb the 318 steps to the top of the hill, where they will find the golden stupa and a shrine containing Buddha relics. Along the way, there are several smaller shrines and statues, as well as beautiful gardens and water features.
Wat Saket is also famous for its annual temple fair, which takes place in November and features live music, food stalls, and carnival games. The fair is a popular event for both locals and tourists, and offers a unique glimpse into Thai culture and traditions.
Like most Buddhist temples in Thailand, visitors to Wat Saket are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple grounds.
Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the Marble Temple, is a Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It is considered one of the most beautiful temples in the city, and is renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate details.
The temple was built in the late 19th century, during the reign of King Rama V, and is constructed primarily of white Italian marble. The temple’s design blends traditional Thai and European architectural styles, and features ornate carvings and intricate gold leaf decorations.
The centerpiece of Wat Benchamabophit is its main ordination hall, which houses a large bronze Buddha statue that was cast in the Sukhothai style. The temple also contains a number of smaller chapels and shrines, as well as a stunning courtyard filled with fountains and manicured gardens.
Visitors to Wat Benchamabophit are required to dress modestly and remove their shoes before entering the temple grounds. The temple is open to visitors daily, and is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
In addition to its beauty and cultural significance, Wat Benchamabophit is also home to one of Thailand’s most prestigious Buddhist universities, which offers courses in Buddhist philosophy, meditation, and other related subjects.
These are just a few of the many historic temples to explore in Bangkok. Each temple has its unique charm and significance, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Thai culture and history.