Being a vibrant city with natural sites, cultural attractions, and beautiful locations, Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has vast options for travelers who are looking forward to experiencing everything in one place. However, the most compelling factor that attracts most travelers to Bangkok is its jaw-dropping wats (temples). The City of Angels is home to over 400 temples that are the abodes of spirituality, and are also stunning when it comes to their visual beauty. From the very old to the most ornate and the ones you just can’t miss, check here our list of the must-see Bangkok Temples where you can connect with your inner self as part of Bangkok tour packages.
Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon district of Bangkok in Thailand. Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, it is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and among the top places to visit in Bangkok. Founded in the 16th century by King Rama I, it is considered one of the oldest and largest temple complexes in Bangkok and also placed first on the list of six first-class royal temples in Thailand. It is known worldwide for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 m long and is covered in gold leaf. The soles of the feet are decorated with numerous precious stones. In addition, the temple complex also houses 400 Buddha images, a colorful Chinese pavilion, and a traditional Thai massage school. This is also a great place to get a Thai massage as it is regarded as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.
Wat Phra Kaew
Situated within the Grand Palace grounds, Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the most sacred Buddhist Temple in Bangkok and among the must include places in Thailand Tour Packages. Commonly known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram in Thai, it was established by King Rama I in 1782. The temple enshrines the highly revered Emerald Buddha image in meditating posture in the style of the Lanna school of northern Thailand. This 66 cm tall Emerald Buddha housed in the temple is considered to be the protector of Thailand. No one is allowed to touch the statue except the Thai King. The King changes the robes of the statue corresponding to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons, and is an important ritual performed here to bring good fortune to the country during each season. The walls of the temple are covered with mural paintings depicting the events in the life of Lord Buddha. The Rattanakosin style of architecture is evident in all of the buildings within the complex and houses a model of the Cambodian shrine Angkor Wat, a huge Pantheon, and a bell tower.
Located among a cluster of temples on Rattanakosin Island, Wat Suthat is one of the oldest and most popular temples in Bangkok. The construction of the Wat Suthat began when Rama I became the first ruler of the Rattanakosin Kingdom in 1782 and was finally finished during the reign of King Rama III in 1847. It is one of the six temples in Thailand of the highest grade of first-class Royal temples. This temple houses an 8m tall Phra Sri Sakyamuni Buddha idol which has been moved from Sukhothai Province and is the largest surviving bronze cast of Thailand belonging to the 14th century. It has an elegant prayer hall with sweeping roofs, magnificent murals, and exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels. The Wat Suthat is also known as the temple of the giant swing, after the 20m tall teak wood swing called Sao Ching Chaa standing at its entrance.
Wat Traimit or the Temple of Golden Buddha is an elegant, and multilevel temple located in Chinatown just at the very beginning of Yaowarat Road, Bangkok, among the top places to visit in Thailand. The main attraction of Wat Traimit is not only its beautiful architecture but the immense gold idol of Lord Buddha. Nearly 5 meters in height and weighing 5,500 kilograms, it is the largest gold seated statue of Buddha in the world and is said that the current value of this statue is more than $250 million. This 14th-century statue was long hidden under an unimpressive coating of stucco and plaster, and the gold hidden underneath was only revealed by accident in 1955! The temple is a 3-storey building named Phra Maha Mondop which the first floor contains a museum, the Chinatown Heritage Center, and the second floor contains an exhibition on the history of the Golden Buddha while the top floor of the Phra Maha Mondop contains the Golden Buddha image. The Buddha statue inside the temple is represented in the traditional pose of Bhumisparsha Mudra that is touching the earth with the right hand to witness Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, among the must-visit Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India. Chinatown is one of the best places to try Thai cuisine in Bangkok.
Situated opposite the Grand Palace, Wat Arun is a popular Buddhist temple in Bangkok that stands magnificently at 79 m tall on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. Also known as the ‘Temple of Dawn”, this is one of the stunning temples in Bangkok and among the best places to visit in Bangkok as part of Thailand tour packages. Built-in Khmer architectural style, the grand central prang at Wat Arun is surrounded by four smaller prangs. These five towers are beautifully decorated with vibrant porcelain and colorful ceramic tiles. The base of the grand prang is also adorned with sculptures of Chinese soldiers and animals. The temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Buddhist cosmology. Despite its name, this magnificent temple looks more stunning during sunset as well as at night when it is lit up.
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Set atop an artificial hill, Wat Saket is yet another famous temple located in Bangkok. Also known as the temple of Golden Mount, the temple is well-known for its Golden Chedi (Stupa). The stupa was first started by King Rama III and collapsed because of the soft ground. Later, the construction was abandoned. The golden chedi you see today was built during the reign of King Rama IV and Rama V and is actually built on the remains of the original one. One can also get a panoramic view of Bangkok from the temple which is a marvel sight to behold. The place of worship is busiest during Loy Krathong, a temple fair that takes place every year in November following a Buddha relic worshipping ceremony.
Loha Prasat Temple
Of the many majestic temples in Bangkok, Loha Prasat really stands out with its unique architectural identity. Situated next to Wat Saket, the temple was built in 1846 during the reign of King Rama III and was submitted to UNESCO in 2005 to become a World Heritage site, highlighting the historical importance of the temple. Also called the Metal Castle, the temple is a 36 m high construction supported by 37 metal spires representing the 37 virtues toward enlightenment. Following in the style of Indian and Sri Lankan design, the temple is erected in a very unusual way with multiple concentric square levels built on geometrically aligned pillars, and it also happens to be one of those rare temples whose roof is built of bronze tiles.
Wat Mahathat, or more precisely Wat Mahathat Yuwarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara is one of the most important royal temples in Bangkok. Established during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the site is home to Thailand’s oldest institute for Buddhist monks as well as a vipassana meditation center. Travellers are welcome to stay on the temple grounds and learn the principles of Vipassana meditation, taught by monks from the Mahanikai School of Buddhism, one of the largest fraternities of Theravada Buddhism. The site is also said to be home to a relic of the Buddha. One can also explore the gigantic amulet market, just opposite Wat Mahathat which goes far beyond the few vendors on the street walkway.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.