Bangkok’s Best Wats: Guide to Seeing the Temples
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 to visit, along with a few other tips as you make the most of your Thailand holiday.
No spiritual journey in Bangkok is complete without a visit to Wat Pho, also called the ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha”. Explore the sprawling temple complex, home to the enormous, gold-plated reclining Buddha. 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, treat yourself to a Thai massage. This temple is also the birthplace of the Thai massage and ancient relaxation techniques are still used today. Experience this unique temple on a night tour.
Wat Phra Kaew
Discover one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the country: Wat Phra Kaew. Drink in the majestic sight of the highly-sacred Emerald Buddha, made from a single block of green jade. Its robe is changed thrice a year by the king, depending on the season. 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. You can see this iconic temple and more of Bangkok’s top sights on a half-day city tour.
Locals have nicknamed this “Wat Ben” or “Marble Temple”. The white and gold façade showcases modern Thai architecture and European accents, with Carrera marble imported from Italy. Enjoy the brilliant glow of delicate marble and gold carvings glittering in 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.
Stroll around picturesque Chinese footbridges and blooming lotuses. This lesser-known wat has fewer tourists, so you’ll be able to have a moment of peaceful contemplation surrounded by its captivating beauty. Experience this beautiful temple on a half-day tour of Bangkok’s top temples.
When it comes to the title of Bangkok’s most beautiful temple, Wat Arun (“Temple of Dawn”) is one most people consider most-worthy. Its prominent spires, built with coloured 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.
What to Wear in a Wat
As a sign of respect to the locals and the temples, it’s best to dress conservatively when visiting the wats. The rule of thumb is to cover your shoulders, knees and ankles. That means no sleeveless shirts, short skirts or shorts. Bring a scarf just in case, so you can easily drape it over a tank top.
Ready to embark on your spiritual and aesthetic journey? Let us know ‘wat’ you’ve chosen to include on your Bangkok trip in the comments below!