Bangkok's Beautiful Temples
Even the most savvy local could go a lifetime living in Bangkok without seeing all of its glorious temples, so don’t expect that you will as a visitor. Do expect that wherever you go, a shrine of some sort will pop up out of nowhere and sneak up behind a wall or closed door. The city is 95% Buddhist, and it’s not hard to soak up this aspect of the culture simply by walking around.
Bangkok’s temples (or wats) number in the hundreds, so it’s best to go with a sense of which you’d like it see in advance. While visiting any of the wats, be sure to dress appropriately, with covered legs and shoulders, particularly to give proper respect to the monks.
No trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to Wat Arun, a temple on the Chao Phraya river that dates back to the 17th century. The way to Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is by ferry, and entrance is 100 THB (~3 USD). Those with a bit of strength who aren’t afraid of heights should climb the steep stairs for fantastic views. But even from down below, it’s possible to spectate the gorgeous detail of the structure, seemingly constructed piece-by-piece in an array of detailed ceramic pieces.
Among the most popular wats in Bangkok is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, located on the grounds of the Grand Palace. The massive jade sculpture was discovered in the 15th century, traveled around the region and finally settled in Bangkok permanently. Entrance costs 400 THB (~12 USD) and the site closes at 3pm.
Wat Pho, known as the reclining Buddha, is another beloved site to visit and worship. The 50 x 140 foot Buddha is covered in gold and seems to diminish the size of everything around it. In the area around Khao San Road, near Democracy Monument, is Loha Prasat, known to be an architectural icon among so many beautiful structures in the city.
The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophitr) is constructed of imported Italian marble and has recognizable European architectural elements. Just look on the five baht coin if you need a reference - it’s an icon for everyone in the country.
These are just a few of the many wats to visit in Bangkok. For a more comprehensive listing, visit the website Temples in Bangkok for more information.