There are countless reasons why the city of Bangkok is such as popular destination among travelers from around the world. The Thai capital boasts some of the best nightlife in Asia, a friendly local population, great shopping opportunities, a rich culture and incredible cuisine. However, some of the most important religious and historical sites in Bangkok are the temples.
Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist nation, and some of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country are located in and around Bangkok. Whether you are interested in the stunning architecture, you love the opulent decor in the interior or you just want to learn more about the local culture and religion, be sure to visit at least one of these incredible temples while in Bangkok.
Wat Phra Kaew
This temple, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is one of the most religiously significant in the city. In addition, the Wat Phra Kaew is very easy to locate, since it is directly next door to the Grand Palace. The highlight of the temple, and what it is named after, is the emerald Buddha image that was made in the 15th century. Some of the other things to look for within the temple include the beautiful murals painted on the walls, the balconies that overlook the Grand Palace and the incredibly detailed model of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
This temple is located just across the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace, and there are several inexpensive ferries that can shuttle you across the river in just minutes. Also known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun boasts some of the most recognizable architecture in Bangkok. Its spire, in particular, is known around the world for its detailed patterns and decorations made of porcelain and colored glass. Although it is typically visited during the early morning, it is actually also very beautiful at night when lit up. The best view is from the other side of the river, which is where most people stop to take photos.
This is the largest temple in Bangkok, and it is conveniently located just next door to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Although the colorful spires and intricate patterns are stunning, it is the Buddha inside that is why so many people visit Wat Pho each year. Inside, you will find a large statue of a reclining Buddha that measures in at more than 46 meters in length. The statue is covered in gold and mother of pearl, and its sheer size is magnificent. While you are in the temple, you can actually pay to have a massage, a yoga class, a blessing or a palm reading.
This temple in Bangkok is situated on an artificial hill so that residents below can easily see the impressive gold building and its spires. In order to reach Wat Saket, you will have to walk up the more than 300 steps first. Once you get there, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the city below and ancient relics that can be traced to Buddha and his original followers.
Whether you are in Bangkok for a single day or for several weeks, make time to visit one or more of these amazing Buddhist temples. Remember that while you may have to pay to enter, these are still religious sites where many locals worship regularly. Show respect while you are there, and dress appropriately. Showing your knees or your shoulders is unacceptable, so they rent out saris to foreigners. Save money and avoid that extra wait by coming dressed in modest attire.