Bangkok, Thailand is home to over 400 wats, which are also called temples. However, most tourists rush to see the most famous wats – Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, and Wat Pho. However, you don’t have to stop at just these temples.
In order to make the visit more worthwhile, you must learn a little bit about the Buddhist religion. You also will want to bring your camera for snapping pictures. It is advised to wear long pants, a tee shirt to cover your shoulders, and the proper footwear as well. Temples usually do not permit flip-flops, so keep that in mind. Drink plenty of water and wear a hat or cap to shield you from the sun, as Bangkok is quite warm most of the time.
- Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew, which is also known as the “Temple of the Emerald Buddha,” is the most-visited temple in all of Bangkok. As you might guess, one of the highlights is the Emerald Buddha itself. The Buddha is a carving that is made entirely from jade. This highly revered icon was initially discovered in Chiang Rai in 1464, when the wat shelter was hit by lightning. The Buddha was transported to Laos before it made its way back to Chiang Mai, and finally settled in its permanent home in Bangkok.
If you are staying at local accommodations, such as the Centre Point Hotels, you will want to make sure you are close to the temple. Besides seeing the widely revered Buddha, you will want to explore other areas of the popular site as well.
A two km long gallery of detailed mural paintings is also located at the attraction. The images depict 178 scenes of the story of the Ramayana, which is sure to spark intrigue in any type of visitor.
The Wat Closes Early
However, be aware that the Wat is only open until 3:00 p.m., and that the cost of admission is at least 400 baht. A strict dress code also applies, as you cannot wear shorts or sleeveless shirts out of respect to the site.
- Wat Pho
Wat Pho, which is also known as the “Temple of the Reclining Buddha,” is named after a monastery located in India. Buddha is believed to have lived in this structure. The Wat is one of the biggest and oldest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. The image of Buddha in the temple is 15 meters high, 43 meters long, and is covered in gold leaf.
The icon bares four meters of mother-of-pearl or nacre decorations. Situated next to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho also holds one thousand Buddha images and 91 chedis. The temple was actually the base for the first Thai massage school. The official name of the temple is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan. Naturally, Wat Pho is much easier to remember.
- Wat Arun
Wat Arun is located on the Thonburi side of the city, almost directly opposite to Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. Constructed during the 1600s on the Chao Phraya riverbank, the full name is ‘Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan. It is also known as the “Temple of Dawn,” which is, needless to say, much simpler to enunciate. The unique shape of the temple features a central “prang” (tower), enveloped by four smaller towers, all encrusted with faience from potteries and plates.