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5 Buddhist Temples Tell You The Best of Thai History And Culture

Fill up with history, glitter with gold, overseen by giant Buddha statues, there are the places Thai people come to pray and travelers come to be astonished. But when there are more than 40,700 Buddhist temples in Thailand, where do you start?

1. Wat Pho

Right next to the south to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and one of the first class royal temples in Thailand. Visiting Wat Pho, you will be absolutely stunned by the most famous and the largest Buddha statue that gives the temple its name “Temple of the Reclining Buddha.” This statue measures 150 feet in length with the feet displaying 108 auspicious symbols of Buddha. To wish for happiness and good fortune, you can drop coins into one of 108 bronze bowls in the corridor. Wat Pho is also home to Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School - the first massage school in Thailand - where you can relax and get a massage after an hour wandering and discovering the temple. One of our customers’ most favorite experiences in Bangkok is visiting Wat Pho in the early morning. Our tour guides know how to keep them stay away from the crowd and finish the walking right in time to experience the monk early morning chanting ritual.

Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok

Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok

It is home to the largest Buddha statue

Visit early in the morning to witness the monk chanting ritual.

Entrance: 100 baht (free entry for children under 120cms)

Open: 8.00 am - 6.30 pm  

2. Wat Arun

Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn situated gracefully by Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River glittering beautifully in the soft, tremulous light of the dawn. The main attraction of Wat Arun is its Khmer-style central tower which is encrusted with colorful Chinese porcelain, making for a truly impressive sight at any time of the day. Climb up the tower for a panorama view over the river and surrounding landscapes. Although it is named The Temple of Dawn, many people say Wat Arun is at its best in the sunset. When the sun is setting behind its incredible architecture, the temple is simply gorgeous. Taking a boat tour on the Chao Phraya River or having a cocktail at one of the highest rooftop bars to see the temple twinkling at night is amazing as well. If you are a photography enthusiast, this is the place for you.

Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn situated gracefully by Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River

Steep Stairways to the Top of Wat Arun

Steep Stairways to the Top of Wat Arun

The temple is simply gorgeous.

The temple is simply gorgeous.

Entrance: 50 Baht per person

Open:  8.30am - 5.30pm  

3. Wat Phra Kaew

Colorful mosaics, amazing gold statues, intricate detail, and porcelain carvings, Wat Phra Kaew (or The Temple of Emerald Buddha) is a place you must put on your itinerary when you’re visiting Bangkok. This is home to the holiest Emerald Buddha statue that spent its first 300 years in various temples across Thailand and Laos until it finally settled in this breathtaking temples. Despite its modest size (especially given the massive size of many Buddha statues in the whole country), the Emerald statue exudes a powerful and sacred presence by the reverence of Thai people.

Wat Phra Kaew is home to the holiest Emerald Buddha statue in Thailand

A giant demon guardian in Wat Phra Kaew. There are many of demon guardian around the temple.

A giant demon guardian in Wat Phra Kaew. There are many demon guardian around the temple.

Buddha statues inside Wat Phra Kaew

Entrance: 500 Baht per person (include the entrance fee to the Grand Palace)

Open: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm  

4. Wat Chedi Luang

One out of the two important temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Chedi Luang aka the Temple of King, is undoubtedly the most impressive religious site in the north of Thailand. The construction of the present day temple began in the 14th century. Some parts of the temple were half destroyed during earthquakes and invasions. A few attempts to restore this sacred site has been made however it is still far from its original charm yet it is still an admirable temple that reflects Lanna-style architecture. Wat Chedi Luang was also the original place of the Emerald Buddha which is now enshrined at Wat Phra Kaew. That means visiting this temple is a delightful experience to taste the history and culture of Chiang Mai. If you are interested in learning more about Buddhism and the monastic life, it’s recommended to indulge into the “Monk Chat” program which allows visitors to have a chat with the monks daily between 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Wat Chedi Luang is the most impressive religious site in the north of Thailand 

The base of the chedi has 5 elephant sculptures on the south side.

The base of the chedi has 5 elephant sculptures on the south side.

 Standing golden Buddha statues inside the temple.

Entrance: Free

Open: 6:00 am - 6:00 pm  

5. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

From the height of Doi Suthep, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep gleams like a northern star in the sky. Along with Wat Chedi Luang, this temple is one of the two most historical and spiritual sites in the north of Thailand. Dates back to the 14th century, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is an impressive embodiment of the Lanna culture. The temple is home to one of the two pieces of Buddha’s shoulder bone. It is believed that a white elephant carried the bone on its back, roaming in the jungle until it died at Doi Suthep where the temple was constructed to enshrine. They also made a statue of the elephant placing on the ground as a tribute to its dedication.  With the stunning golden stupa, old walls, impressive murals, and beautiful shrines, this attraction is a must in Chiang Mai. Some of our Thailand tours that include Chiang Mai often drive our visitors up to the mountain in the afternoon. When the tourist masses leave the temple and dusk gives it a special atmosphere, you are on your own to receive a private blessing ceremony and witness the magical evening chanting of the monk. That would be a truly unforgettable and one of a kind experience you have in Thailand.

Dates back to 14th century, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is an impressive embodiment of the Lanna culture

Dates back to the 14th century, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is an impressive embodiment of the Lanna culture

From the height of Doi Suthep, the temple gleams like a  star

 

It is one of the best attractions of Chiang Mai

Entrance: 30 baht

Open:  6:00 am - 6:00 pm  

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