3 Must-See Temples In Bangkok, Thailand

How do you figure out which temples to see in Bangkok when there are over 400 of them? Here are the top 3 that should be on anyone’s list. I’ll explore more in another episode but here’s where to start. This may be enough for your first trip to Bangkok, Thailand.

Let’s start the tour!

Number 3, Wat Arun.
Even though it’s name means temple of dawn this is a wonderful site best enjoyed at sunset. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, some consider it the most beautiful temple in Thailand. It’s prang or spire on the banks of the river is a world-class landmark. At the time of my visit, Wat Arun was undergoing major renovations as you can see by the scaffolding.
Wat Arun held the great Emerald Buddha before it was transferred to Wat Phra Kaew at the Grand Palace. In fact the temple was part of the grounds of the royal palace where it was located before it was moved in 1785.

Wat Arun glistens in the golden hour at sunset. It’s intricate craftmanship of tiny pieces of glass and Chinese porcelain artfully placed on the prang and other structures is an unforgettable site. You can get to Wat Arun via Tha Tien Pier also called Pier 8 right after you visit the number 2 temple.

Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha. This temple complex is perfect for just wandering as most people will show up, check out the 46 meter long Buddha and immediately leave. You’ll have lots of space to enjoy the atmosphere of a world-class heritage site and the largest collection of Buddha statues in Thailand.

Wat Pho was the first public university in the country and is also home to the top massage school. This is where you can experience a more therapeutic rather than soothing massage. Book ahead otherwise you may have a long wait which can eat into precious exploring time.

Of course you also want to savour the presence of this incredible reclining Buddha that’s covered in gold leaf. This image is the Buddha entering Nirvana thus ending reincarnations. The statue is 46 meters long and 15 meters high with the soles of the feet at 3 meters height and inlaid with mother of pearl.

There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor representing the 108 auspicious characters of the Buddha. You can purchase a bowl of coins you can use to drop in the bowls for good fortune, which also aids the monks in preserving the reclining Buddha and Wat Pho. The sound the coins make when dropping is pretty cool in the giant hall.

Wat Pho is within walking distance of the number one temple to visit in Bangkok, Wat Phra Kaew or the temple of the Emerald Buddha, located within the Grand Palace complex. Because Wat Phra Kaew doesn’t house any monks it is more like a personal chapel for the royal family than an actual temple.

The emerald Buddha is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is made of a single block of jade and is 66 centimeters or 26 inches high, cloaked in three different gold costumes appropriate for the three seasons, wet and hot, and winter, the cool season. No photographs or video are allowed inside the chapel but you can spend as much time as you like enjoying the Buddha and interior of the structure.
This is the spiritual heart of Thailand and the top tourist attraction of Bangkok with thousands of visitors daily. There is a dress code and you will be stopped by officials if your clothing is deemed inappropriate. I’ll leave a link in the video description for your reference. In fact most if not all Buddhist temples in Thailand have specific requirements for appropriate clothing.

The Grand Palace is crowded and most of the time, an extremely hot place with no air conditioning so pace yourself. To avoid some of the bigger crowds it’s best to start as early as possible, the complex opens at 8:30 everyday.

Conceivably you could see all top 3 temples in one day. Starting out at The Grand Palace, then stopping for a coffee or tea beak in a cool cafe around Tha Thien or Pier 8, which is close by Wat Pho and the reclining Buddha. Then visiting Wat Pho before a leisurely lunch around Tha Tien. Then finishing off your tour with a river crossing to Wat Arun in the late afternoon and perhaps enjoying the sunset from one of the best spots in the city.

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Dress Code For Royal Urn at Grand Palace-Bangkok, Thailand:
Regular Dress Code:

Music Credits

Indore Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Mystic Force Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

About the Author John Saboe

I am a broadcaster, photographer, writer and videographer with a passion for travel throughout Asia. I love making connections and engaging with people. I am spiritual and seek adventure wherever I go.

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