If you’re looking for temples in Bangkok you’re definitely not going to be disappointed, there are over 400 of them in the Thai capital. The most famous and important temple is the Grand Palace and the Royal Temple of the Emerald Buddha. One thing you need to be aware of, if you’re visiting this temple, is the strict dress code. If you’re visiting any temple in Bangkok you’re expected to dress respectfully and at the Royal Temple the dress code is always enforced.
When you’re visiting Bangkok you really can’t miss its temples. Thailand is a country that is 95% Buddhist so you would expect there to be a large number of temples in Bangkok. You may find some of the smaller ones down back streets, hidden away. We have introduced you to some of the most opulent, culturally significant and historical temples or “wats”. Visiting any of them is an eye opening and memorable experience. Don’t forget to dress with respect, and it’s a good idea to make sure your shoulders and legs above the knees are covered when you enter any of the temples in Bangkok.
GRAND PALACE AND THE ROYAL TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA
As it’s the main temple in Bangkok, and the place where we’ve spoken about the dress code being most vigorously applied, we’ll start with the Grand Palace and the Royal Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Of all the temples in Bangkok this is the must see.
The palace was built in 1782 and is a truly inspirational example of the creativity of the Thai nation, with its intricate and ornate architecture. Even though the Royal Family no longer resides at the palace, it still lies at the heart of the Thai people. The site also plays host to royalty on ceremonial occasions such as the changing of the robes of the Emerald Buddha.
Carved from a single piece of jade, the Emerald Buddha is a small representation of the Buddha in a meditating position. The carving dates back to the 15th century and is revered in Thailand. It is housed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, which is on the same site as the Grand Palace. The robes of the Buddha are changed three times each year, to correspond with changing seasons. This in an important event, said to bestow good fortune on the country, and is only ever undertaken by the king.
THE TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA (WAT PHO)
This is another temple which houses a representation of Buddha, but this is the reclining Buddha and he has very different proportions from the Emerald Buddha. The Reclining Buddha is 15 metres tall and 46 metres long; even his feet are 5 metres in length! Visiting the Buddha is the most popular thing to do at the site, and if you need some luck in your life you can buy some coins at the door to throw in the brass bowls within the room where the Buddha is housed. You should be aware that you’ll be expected to remove your footwear and that your shoulders should be covered, with no clothing to be worn that doesn’t fall below your knees.
WAT ARUN (TEMPLE OF DAWN)
In a city full of the most beautiful temples in the world which one rates the highest? It’s usually a battle between Wat Arun and Wat Pho, both worthy of a visit and both offering something a little different to the other. In many ‘what to do in Bangkok guides’ Wat Arun wins the battle! It is arguably the best temple in the city and there’s no doubt that this should be on your list of Bangkok attractions to visit.
The Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, sits on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Named for the Hindu god, Aruna, the temple magically catches and reflects the first light of the morning sun, creating a striking sight that you’ll only be able to appreciate at dawn. Wat Arun looks quite amazing at night too, all lit up with a golden glow. The temple is best accessed by ferry across the river and be sure to climb the steep stairway up the face of the temple for the ultimate experience. If you make it to the top the views are fantastic and you’ll be able to tick that off your list of things to do in Bangkok!