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Discovering the most beautiful temple in Thailand
1. Wat Phra Kaew Pagoda
Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (officially known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram) is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Located in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the grounds of the Grand Palace, it enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot, the highly revered Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of jade.
The Emerald Buddha (Phra Putta Mani Ratana Patimakorn) is a Buddha image in the meditating position in the style of the Lanna school of the north, dating from the 15th century AD.
Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Loction: Na Phralan, Phra Nakorn (inside Grand Palace complex), Old City
Dress Code: no short pants or short skirts, not sleeveless tshirts. Sarong are for rent at the entrance but better dress appropriately to avoid the queue.
Price Range: 500 Baht
2. Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must- do for any first- time visitor in Bangkok. It is one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and it covered in gold leaf. It is an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace, and we recommend coming to Wat Oho second, because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex so the experience tends to be far more relaxing. This is also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho is often considered the leading school of massage in Thailand, so you really are in good hands here.
Opening Hour: Daily 08:00- 17:00
Location: Maharat Road. Close to the river (about a half mile south of the Grand Palace), Old City (Rattanakosin)
Price Range: the entrance fee is 100 baht
3. Wat Arun
Wat Arun, locally known as Wat Chaeng, is situated on the west (Thonburi) bank of the Chao Phraya River. It is easily one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok, not only because of its riverside location, but also because the design is very different to the other temples you can visit in Bangkok. Wat Arun (or temple of the dawn) is partly made up of colourfully decorated spires and stands majestically over the water.
We would recommend spending at least an hour visiting the temple. Although it is known as the Temple of the Dawn, it's absolutely stunning at sunset, particularly when lit up at night. The quietest time to visit, however, is early morning, before the crowds.
Opening Hour: 08:00- 17:30
Location: Located on the west side of Chao Praya River (opposite Tha Thien Pier)
Price Range: 50 Baht
4. Wat Saket
Wat Saket, popularly known as the Golden Mount or ‘Phu Khao Thong’, is a low hill crowned with a gleaming gold chedi. Within, the 58-metre chedi houses a Buddha relic and welcomes worshippers all year round. The temple also hosts an annual temple fair in November, which lasts a week during Loy Krathong.
The temple grounds feature mature trees and typical Buddhist structures such as the main chapel, ordination hall and library. Its origins can be traced back to the Ayutthaya period (1350- 1767 AD) and it underwent major renovations during King Rama I’s reign (1782-1809).
Opening Hour: 09:00- 17:00
Location: Between Boriphat Road and Lan Luang Road, off Ratchadamnoen Klang Road
5. Wat Traimit
Located at the end of Chinatown's Yaowarat Road, near Hualampong Railway Station, Wat Traimit houses the world's largest massive gold seated Buddha measuring nearly five metres in height and weighing five and a half tons. In the past, artisans crafted the Buddhas in gold and disguised them from invading armies by a covering of stucco and plaster.
The Buddha at Wat Traimit was discovered by accident when it was accidentally dropped as it was being moved, revealing, under a casing of plaster, a beautiful solid gold Sukhothai style Buddha. Pieces of the plaster are still kept on display.
Opening Hour: 09:00- 17:00
Location: Traimit Road (west of Hua Lampong Station), at the very beginning of Chinatown
Price Range: 10 Baht to visit the museum located half way to the top of the building. Visiting the golden buddha itself is free.
6. Loha Prasat
Bangkok has no lack of majestic temples, all more elegant and impressive than the next, but some really stand out with their unique architectural identity. Despite being quite near Khaosan Road and next to the well-known Wat Saket, the superb Loha Prasat is not often talked about.
Also called the 'Metal Castle', Loha Prasat is located in the grounds of Wat Ratchanaddaram and was even submitted to UNESCO in 2005 to become a world heritage site, highlighting the historical importance of the temple. However this title hasn't yet been given.
7. Wat Mahathat
The headquarter of Thailand's largest monastic order and Vipassana Meditation centre, Wat Mahathat is an important centre for the study of Buddhism and meditation. The temple was originally built to house a relic of the Buddha and one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. You can also have your fortune told inside the 'wat' (temple).
Opening Hour: 09:00- 17:00
Location: Phra That Road (near Sanam Luang Park, between the Grand Palace and the National Museum), Old City (Rattanakosin).
8. Wat Suthat
Wat Suthat, better known for the towering red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance, is one of the oldest and most impressive temples in Bangkok. It features an elegant chapel with sweeping roof, magnificent wall murals and exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels.
The temple’s construction was commissioned by King Rama I (1782-1809), to shelter the 13th Century bronze Buddha image transported by boat from Sukhotai, but it was finally completed during King Rama III’s reign (1824-51). Located in the Old City area, just east of the Royal Field, you can easily combine a visit to Wat Suthat with Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
Opening Hour: 08:30- 21:00 daily
Location: Bamrung Muang Road, Old City (Rattanakosin), opposite Bangkok City Hall
9. Wat Benjamanhopit
Wat Benjamabhopit, most commonly called Wat Benja was built by King Rama V in 1900 and is renowned for more than one reason. Nickednamed 'The Marble Temple' for all the external walls of the main temple are covered with marble imported from Italy, but also for being the temple embossed on the back of 5 baht coins! Located near the many government offices and palaces, this wat is highly revered and is often visited by high ranked officials.
10. Wat Prayoon
Wat Prayoon, or Wat Rua Lek, sits on the western side of the Chao Praya river bank. Built during King Rama III’s reign, the temple’s outstanding features include a large inverted bell shaped chedi (pagoda), turtle ‘mountain’ housing spirit houses and a pond where visitors can feed the turtles.
The temple is located on the Thonburi side, at the foot of Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut). This area is on the southern edge of the old Portuguese community (Kuthi Jeen), an area designated to Portuguese merchants and government officials during the Early Rattanakosin Period (after Ayutthaya was destroyed and King Rama I founded a new capital in Thonburi).