Buddhism is the primary religion in Thailand; in fact, it is estimated that 95% of the population adheres to the teachings of the Buddha. It is no surprise, therefore, that some of the most beautiful temples in the country are in Bangkok. You must be sure to visit at least a couple of them while you are visiting the capital.
Rules to Follow in BangKok
First things first. Remember that you are visiting a holy site, not a museum. Treat the temple with the same respect you would expect others to treat the places in which you worship. If you follow some basic rules, you will not cause offense to those who are there to worship, not gape.
- Take your shoes off in the temple grounds and do not point your feet at the Buddha, monks or nuns. This is the height of rudeness and Buddhists believe you will go to hell for doing so. Why take the chance?
- Women need to be covered. Wear long pants or a long skirt and bring a wrap or sarong with which to cover your arms when you are inside.
- Keep quiet and bow your head to the Buddha when you enter.
- When you take a photograph, do not photograph another person without his or her permission.
Now that you are appropriately attired, you are ready to explore some of the myriad of temples within the city.
When you think of the Buddha, you probably picture a huge, gold statue. Wat Pho is the home of this statue, Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha. Simply enormous, the statue’s feet alone measure 46 meters. They are inlaid with mother of pearl, which show the 108 signs of the Buddha. As if this weren’t reason enough to visit, the temple also boasts stunning murals and lacquer work.
This may be a good temple to visit at the end of the day. The temple is also the location of one of the most respected Thai massage schools, in existence since 1955. As a visitor, you can stop in for a full traditional massage, sure to ease away any stress and cares of the day.
Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit is another temple that does more than just provide a place to worship. While it is by no means one of the most beautiful temples, it is one of the oldest and most religiously significant. Today, it is home to the oldest university for Buddhist monks. It also provides classes in Vipassana Meditation that visitors are welcome to join.
Wat Traimit is another temple that appears a bit dull from the outside. Inside, however, is one of the largest solid gold Buddha statues anywhere. Why is such a valuable icon housed in such a dull exterior? Turns out that the Wat didn’t know what they had until the 1950s. A workman dropped what he thought was a plaster Buddha and was shocked to see a shine under the dull exterior. Not only did the monks discover the gold statue; turns out it dates from the 13th century.
Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew is another temple with a rather bland exterior. Housed in the grounds of the Grand Palace, many people simply stumble across it as they tour the Palace. They are in for a treat. Inside the temple is a Buddha that many believe is the most revered Buddha statue in Thailand. It is carved from a single block of jade (not emerald as is sometimes claimed) and clothed in gold. The gold clothes are changed every season; once for the summer, once for the rain, and once for the cool.
Probably the most famous temple, certainly the one most often photographed, is Wat Arun. Ironically named the Temple of the Dawn, it is at its most beautiful at sunset. Take a walk to the east side of the river and wait for the sun to shine behind the temple. The spires make a magnificent contrast to the hustle of city life going on around it. It is easy to understand why so many revere this particular temple.
It is estimated that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of wats throughout Bangkok. While those listed are among the best known, keep your eyes open as you walk around the city. You will more than likely stumble across some small, out of the way temples that can give you a much calmer and relaxed sense of the Buddha.
Bangkok is a great place however there are many other places you can visit and activities to do in Thailand!
At the end of a long day of walking through temples, you will need a wonderful place to rest. Click here for hotel suggestions in Bangkok. Please comment below about your experiences in any of these temples or to suggest some others.
Knowing Where to Visit in Bangkok is Only the Beginning!
Find your way through Bangkok by visiting all of these spectacular sites. Your next holiday in this unbelievable city will be filled with history, wonder, and the best that Bangkok has to offer!
Images Credit: commons.wikimedia.org