With over 40,000 estimated Buddhist Wats in Thailand, you’ll find the most beautiful of them all here in Bangkok – at least in my opinion. Temples in Bangkok often holds his place atop the must-sees in the city.
In a maxi dress, I went about with the sole aim of wanting to be mesmerized, to be in awe and in a trance by seeing some of the incredible Buddha temples. They don’t hold back. With massive gold statues and intricate murals depicting the teachings of Buddha, these are definitely a sight to behold.
Temple fatigue is a thing when in Bangkok but here are five of the most spectacular ones I had visited.
Temples in Bangkok
1.Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha
First on my agenda was Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha which is the holiest amongst them all. It is part of the Grand Palace and there is a good reason why it remains one of the popular tourist destinations in Bangkok.
Carved in a single block of jade and adorned with pure gold clothing, you can find the Buddha in meditation. The Emerald Buddha is smaller than you expect but the grandeur of the temple makes up for it.
According to the legend, the Emerald Buddha originated in India, and it’s prophesied that it brings ‘prosperity and pre-eminence to each country in which it resides’.
The temple is broadly divided into two sections – the outer section where one can find different types of architecture inspired by Italian, Balinese, and Thai. It’s the inner section that houses Wat Phra Kaew.
The architecture you find in the below picture is mostly inspired by the likes of Angkor Wat.
As you move towards the inner circle, you’d be mesmerized with the intricate details of the figurines. Did you know? The whole temple was constructed in just under two years and there is some restoration or the other happening always every fifty years.
Note: Wat Phra Kaew should be the first temple on your list. Be sure to cover it in the morning because it closes down at 3.30 pm.
Open: 8:30am until 3:30pm
| Read more about The Grand Palace, Bangkok
2. Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat comes second because of its close proximity to the Grand Palace. But unlike it, there are barely any tourists to ruin your experience.
Built during the Ayutthaya era, Wat Mahathat is one of the ten Royal Temples in Bangkok. This is also a place you can learn Vipassana Meditation.
After the grandeur of Wat Phra Kaew, you’d find this temple quieter with a small courtyard and only a couple of buildings.
Price: 50 THB ( 1.60 USD)
Open: 7:00am until 5:00pm
3. Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha
We headed to Wat Pho next, popularly known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
It is right next to the Grand Palace and is one of the oldest temples in the city. Also known as Wat Phra ChetuPhon, the temple has a 160 feet wide Buddha in a reclining position. This makes it one of the most well-known and popular cultural icons in Thailand.
This reclining image, known as Phra Buddha Saiyas is made of brick and stucco and is lacquered and gilded.
The mother-of-pearl inlaid patterns on the soles of the Buddha’s feet depict auspicious signs of The Buddha in line with the belief from Sri Lanka. It is said that these patterns were found on the soles of Prince Siddhartha five days after his birth and these were the signs of a great man.
In the main sanctuary, you’d find 108 wish-granting bowls. To make them work, buy a pot of change, make a wish, and put a coin in every bowl. If you manage to put a penny in all of them – your request will come true.
Apart from the main shrine of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is home to many Buddha images than any other temples. The Colonnades houses 150 Buddha images in the inner circle and 244 images in the outer one. These images are brought down from cities in the North.
You’d also be enchanted by what is known as Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn, which is a group of four huge pagodas. Each pagoda is 42-meter high and symbolizes the four Kings of the Chakri Dynasty.
Phra Ubosot or the Ordination Hall is the main structure of the temple used for monastic rituals.
This houses the main Buddha image, Phra Buddha Theva Patimakorn meaning, the Buddha built by Heavenly Beings. The Buddha is found in the posture of concentration, on a three-tiered pedestal.
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Wat Pho houses many beautiful Buddha shrines. . . At Phra Ubosot or the OrdinationHall, ‘Buddha built by Heavenly Beings’ is found in the posture of concentration on a three-tiered pedestal. . . One of the beautiful Buddha shrines in the palace! . . #kohleyedme #Slayingitin2019 #project365 #lifestyleblogger #bloggersofinstagram #bloggersofindia #plixxoblogger #thailand_ig #tourismthailand #thai #thailandgram #thailandinsider #bangkokdiaries #travelista #womenwhotravel #tripotocommunity #tripotoinfluencersclub #theglobewanderer #buddha #thailandbuddha #grandpalacebangkok #thaistagram #tbt
Phra Buddha Palilai finds Buddha in a sitting position on a rock with trees behind. In front of the Buddha image, there are statues of an elephant and monkey.
This is related to the time when Buddha stayed alone in a forest away from the monks lacking unity. He was under the care of an elephant named Palilai and a monkey.
Phra Buddha Chinnaraj depicts the Buddha in an act of giving the first sermon to the five ascetics.
He is seen preaching the path to Nirvana, the need of avoiding pleasures and austerity, the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path. It is said that each of these ascetics had attained enlightenment.
Another charm of Wat Pho is Chinese Ballast or Chinese rock giants. Some of these giant statues found to act as gate guardians.
Price: 200 THB
Open: 8:00am until 6:30pm
4. Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn
Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn is situated on the bank of Chao Phraya River. From the Pier get into a ferry for just 4 Baht and cross the river to reach Wat Arun.
This temple is one of the most photogenic ones in Bangkok and is made of colorfully decorated spires. It is different from the other temples in Bangkok and is absolutely glorious during sunset (not just dawn) as well.
Wat Arun is designed keeping in mind, a Khmer design. It houses a giant 70-meter-tall prang tower in the middle with four smaller towers around it. The whole temple is encrusted with colorful porcelain and refurbished continuously to keep its blinding white color.
If you dare, you can climb the steep central tower and enjoy a beautiful view of the river and the Grand Palace.
With pearly white exterior and colorful architecture, you’ll see why Wat Arun is a favorite amongst the tourists.
Price: 50 THB
Open: 8:00am until 6:00pm
5. Wat Traimit, Golden Buddha
Another beautiful Buddha temple is Wat Traimit which houses a 3-meter tall Golden Buddha.
The largest solid gold Buddha statue in the world, however, for centuries the true importance of the statue wasn’t known. It was by accident in the 1950s that it was discovered that it was made of solid gold.
The Wat Traimit temple is in the Chinatown area of Bangkok. So, you may keep this temple for visiting for the evening.
Price: 50 THB
Open: 8:00am until 5pm
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Let me know if you are planning a trip to Bangkok? Read this detailed post on where to stay in Bangkok.