Bangkok’s enchanting temples will take your breath away
With over 400 temples (called “wats”) in the stunning city of Bangkok, it can be overwhelming to choose which ones to visit, but we’ve rounded up our favourites to add to your itinerary. Be sure to bring along your camera, because these temples are adorned with glittering golden chedis (the most sacred structure in a wat), intricate mosaics, and breathtaking, well-tended grounds. These temples play an important part in Buddhist traditions, so please remember to abide by the dress code: men must wear long pants, women must wear long skirts, and all shoulders should be covered in order to enter.
Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha
A visit to this breathtaking city wouldn’t be complete without exploring the most important and most visited temple in Bangkok. We recommend getting there as soon as it opens when you’ll have the grounds to yourself, and you’ll be free to admire every bright and beautiful corner at your own pace. Here, you’ll discover the famous Buddha carved from a block of pure jade, a 2 kilometer gallery covered in breathtaking murals, and glittering chedis covered in colourful glazed tiles or gold leaf. If you feel a sense of déjà vu, you may have recognized the towering golden chedi of Phra Sri Rattana, which is featured on the one baht coin.
Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha
If you only have 48 hours in Bangkok, you can still explore at least two stunning temples during your visit! Wat Pho is only a ten minute walk from Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and because visitors tend to spend the most time at the first location, these grounds tend to be less busy in the afternoons than other popular spots. As the name suggests, Wat Pho is home to a giant reclining Buddha statue covered in gold leaf. Upon entering, you can purchase a bowl of gold coins to drop into the 108 bowls lining the corridor. They’re meant to represent the 108 auspicious characteristics of Buddha. This practice is believed to bring good fortune, and the funds are used to help the monks maintain the temple. If you’re feeling tired from walking all morning, this temple is also home to the leading school of massage in Thailand!
Wat Saket, Temple of the Golden Mount
This modest hill is crowned with a glittering golden chedi and is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples. During a festival held each November, this temple becomes a sacred pilgrimage site. The chedi is draped in beautiful red cloth, the grounds are decorated with colourful lanterns and flags, and food vendors sell tasty treats! Visiting at this time is the perfect way to get a local’s perspective of the city. Climbing 300 steps to the top is a must-do.
Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha
This temple is conveniently situated at the edge of Chinatown, making it the perfect stop during a full day of exploring Bangkok’s old-world charm. Make your way through the entrance gate for a breathtaking view of the white and gold temple. Although this spot is rather modest compared to other temples, it holds a stunning secret that makes it a must-see. Wat Traimit is home to the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statue weighting a massive 5.5 tons, and it is believed to have been built sometime in the 13th-14th century. However, it was just recently discovered in 1955 by accident, hidden under a coating of plaster!