Over 40,000 temples can be found in Thailand, and your Thailand trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting any of them. Having Buddhism as the dominant religion in the country, these temples or what they call “wat” are part of every day lives of the most Thais and plays an important role in the Thailand’s rich heritage. Its unique structures are one of the reasons why many tourists pay a visit on these temples so on our recent Thailand trip, we didn’t miss the chance to see few of their known temples in Bangkok. Here are the temples you can visit in Bangkok if you wish to have a day or even a half day spent for a temple hopping:
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of The Emerald Buddha)
Probably the most famous and major Thai Buddhist temple located in a complex known to be “The Grand Palace”. Grand Palace is a vast complex of buildings and structures established in the year of 1782 and has been the official residence of the King of Thailand. Aside from being the King’s residence, Grand Palace also houses royal halls and government offices.
The temple of the Emerald Buddha was established by King Rama I in 1782. The Emerald Buddha was housed on the building called Phra Ubosot or The Chapel of the Emerald Buddha. It is an ordination hall with distinct Thai architecture decorated with golden garudas, gold leaves and colored glasses. The main sacred image is an image of Buddha in a lotus position made of jade and 66 cm in tall. When entering the Ubosot, you have to get off your shoes and taking pictures are not allowed.
Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM and entrance fee costs 500 Baht that you may book online or walk-in. There are instances that the Palace is close due to events so better check their official website for closure schedules.
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phranakorn (Rattanakosin)
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of Reclining Buddha, is one of the oldest wat in Thailand located just about a 10-minute walk south of Grand Palace. It is known for the 15m high and 46m long golden reclining Buddha that represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana. There are also 108 bronze bowls behind the reclining Buddha structure that represents the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha where visitors can drop coins for good fortune.
Wat Pho is open daily from 8:00 AM until 6:30 PM and entrance fee costs 200 Baht.
Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Perhaps, my personal favorite among the temples we visited. Wat Arun, also known as The Temple of Dawn, is one of the famous landmark in Bangkok that stands in the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its name derived from the Hindi God, Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun.
It is said built in a Khmer architectural style having a central prang covered with colorful porcelain pieces as its main hallmark. The prangs (spire) are decorated with shells and porcelains which had been used as ballasts by boats coming from China.
I was personally in awe when I saw this temple during the daylight. The temple’s beauty also illuminates during the night when its lights are turned on (got to see it from our Chao Phraya River cruise dinner). What a stunner to sight from the iconic Chao Phraya River! There are also a lot of stores outside Wat Arun that offers traditional Thai costumes for rent that ranges from 100 to 200 Baht. Wearing a traditional Thai costume could elevate your travel photos and experience.
Wat Arun is open from 8:00 AM until 6:00 PM and entrance fee costs 100 Baht that already includes a bottle of water.
Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
How to go to these temples?
There are no near train stations on these temples so we booked a grab from our hotel going to The Grand Palace (You may opt to ride tuktuk or metered taxi). From Grand Palace, you can either walk for about 10 minutes going to Wat Pho but if you don’t want to walk, you may opt to ride a tuktuk for your convenience. In our case, we chartered a tuktuk from Grand Palace going to Wat Pho for 100 Baht good for 3-4 pax. From Wat Pho, we had an 8-minute walk going to the ferry terminal that will take you to Wat Arun on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. Ferry ride costs as 5 Baht each.
Sample half day itinerary of this temple visit:
8:30 AM – 10:15 AM Grand Palace
10:15 AM – 10: 25 AM Walk to Wat Pho from Grand Palace
10: 25 AM – 11: 00 AM Wat Pho
11: 00 AM – 11: 15 AM Walk/Ferry to Wat Arun
11:15 AM – 12: 00 PM Wat Arun