Bangkok was the first city in Southeast Asia that we visited, and this crazy, crowded, busy, and magnificent city amazed us in many ways. We fell in love with the temples in Bangkok, and we wanted to put together a guide for visiting the most beautiful temples in Bangkok.
What is the best temple to visit in Bangkok?
The most popular temple is the Grand Palace, but for the same reason, it can get very very crowded during the day. The Grand Palace is probably the most crowded place we have visited in general, and sometimes it was just too much. So if you only have 1 day or a limited amount of time in Bangkok, and you want to visit the most famous temple, then it’s the Grand Palace. However, if you want a calmer experience at an equally beautiful temple, we suggest you visit the Wat Pho.
How many temples are in Bangkok?
In Thailand there are over 30 000 temples, in Bangkok alone, you can find a temple at almost every corner. There are thousands of temples in Bangkok. Why are there so many temples in Bangkok? Temples in general play a really big role in the way of life in Thailand. Thai people go to the temples (wat) to pray for health, fortune, and Buddhism is a huge part of everyday Thai life.
What do you wear to temples in Bangkok?
The dress code in the temples of Bangkok and Thailand, in general, is very important. Some temples are more strict than others, but here are some general no go’s:
- Don’t wear short skirts and shorts or even shortened trousers. Your knee can’t be visible, and in some temples, even part of the feet is forbidden. Make sure to wear full-length trousers or skirts.
- Don’t wear vests or any top without sleeves, because you can’t show your shoulders. You can wear t-shirts or cover your shoulders with some scarves. In some temples, such as the Grand Palace, scarfs are not enough and they won’t let you in if you don’t have shirts that cover your shoulders.
- If it’s possible to enter the temple, you must take off your shoes – there will be signs as well and a place to leave your shoes.
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Most stunning temples in Bangkok:
Here is our top 10 of the most stunning temples in Bangkok!
1. Wat Arun
Opening times: 08:00 am to 06:00 pm
Entrance fee: 100 baht (It may be cheaper during off-season)
Is Wat Arun worth visiting?
Wat Arun is definitely worth visiting. Even if the way to arrive is a bit tricky, the temple is huge and colorful. The fact that is from the other side of the river makes this temple not so popular as other among the tourists. You will have a big chance to enjoy this temple in a quiet ambiance for yourself.
How to visit Wat Arun
Wat Arun is located on the other side of the Chao Phraya river, so we recommend to visit this temple at the end after visiting Wat Po and the surrounding temples. It is very easy to cross to the other side.
The ferry station is located at the end of the famous Tha Tian market. Once you arrive at the riverside of the market you will easily see the sign of the ferry service. The one-way ticket costs just 4 baht and the ride takes just 10 minutes. Once you leave the boat, you will see Wat Arun next to the river.
A little bit about the temple
Wat Arun is one of the most important temples in Bangkok and in Thailand. It is actually on the 10 baht bills! In the morning you can see the sun reflect on the surface of the temple, giving an amazing iridescence effect. Even though this temple has been here as we know it since the 19 century, this place has been a Buddhist landmark for more than 500 years.
The main part of the temple is the big prang at the center. It has a high of 80 meters and it has a white color given by the seashells and ceramics from the Chinese boats coming to Thailand in the past. Wat Arun’s towers are covered in tiny pieces of Chinese ceramics as well. If you want to take photos you will be able to find empty spots around from time to time, but it can get very crowded.
2. Grand Palace - Wat Phra Kaew
Opening times: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Entrance fee: 500 Baht – a show is included from Mo to Friday every day
Special requirements: You will need long pants and long shirts for entering, otherwise they won’t let you enter
Is Wat Phra Kaew worth visiting?
Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located inside the Grand Palace compound. At the moment of purchasing the ticket, you will have the entrance to both the palace and the temple. Both have a great history and architecture and they are very important Thai landmarks. So it really worth visiting it.
As an extra tip. The ticket includes an entrance for a dance show that you can enjoy in the evening during the week. You will be able to enjoy an amazing display of Thai culture as well!
How to visit Wat Phra Kaew
The best way to arrive at the doors of the palace is by taxi or Grab. Usually, the taxi drivers will let you know where is the place and where you should go to arrive at the entrance.
Our experience in Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace.
Located in the heart of Bangkok, this temple receives a huge amount of people every year. Being inside of the palace complex makes the people flow to keep in a big number the whole year. The temple is usually open unless there is some kind of special ceremony. The construction of the temple started in 1783 ordered by King Rama I.
The architecture of the temple is stunning, but maybe the most famous part of this temple is the chamber with the mythical Emerald Buddha inside. The statue is made from jade and is clothed in gold. It is also surrounded by treasures that have more than 200 years at the chamber. Everyone can enter to watch it and pray but you need to follow certain rules to be able to approach the chamber. As in every Thai temple, you will need to put out your shoes and cover your shoulders and legs. Normally this is not so difficult in other temples, but this temple, in particular, is very crowded all the time, so be sure to don’t forget where do you leave your shoes.
3. Wat Pho
Opening times: 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
Entrance fee: 100 Baht
Is Wat Pho worth visiting?
Definitely! Even if Wat Pho is not as famous as Wat Phra Kaew, this temple is amazing and it has some worldwide known features. It is very probable that you have seen photos of a giant reclining Buddha statue, this statue is located inside of this temple, so don’t miss the chance to visit it.
How to visit Wat Pho
Wat Pho is very close to the Grand Palace compound, so you can just go walking from one to the other one, it will take 10 or 15 minutes to go from one of the entrances to the other.
Wat Pho, Buddha’s house for excellence
Wat Pho has the largest collection of Buddha statues in Thailand, including one of the biggest as well! This temple complex is considered to be the first place taken as a public education center in Thailand and is also the birthplace of the famous Thai massage.
The famous giant reclining Buddha is located inside of the main chamber of the temple. This statue represents Buddha at the moment of entering to the Nirvana. For sure you will see this representation of Buddha in many more temples, but this is very impressive due to the massive size!
4. Wat Benchamabophitr
Opening times: 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance fee: 50 Baht
Is Wat Benchamabophitr worth visiting?
This temple is also known as the marble temple, and the sunsets and sunrises here are very magical due to the reflection of the sun on this clear material. We recommend to visit this temple at any of these two times of the day, it will be a great way to start or to finish the day.
How to visit Wat Benchamabophitr
For reaching the temple you just need to take the BTS Sky Train to the Phaya Thai station. Then you need to take a taxi directly to the temple or walk 20 minutes. We recommend you to use Grab for those kinds of small trips, it will be cheaper and faster.
The marvelous marble temple of Wat Benchamabophitr
This temple began its construction in the year 1899 under the orders of King Rama V and it was designed by Prince Naris who was the half-brother of the king. This temple is special due to the material of its construction that was brought from Italy. If you go very early in the morning you will be able to see a very interesting ceremony. Merit makers from the city come every morning for getting alms from the monks every morning between 06:00 and 07:00 am. The monks line up at the entrance of the temple with bowls to receive donations of rice, curry, incense, and other essentials.
If you want to visit this temple and take some nice photos we recommend you bring a wide-angle lens to capture the view and the great display between the temple and the entrance.
5. Wat Ratchanatdaram Woravihara ( Wat Ratchanadda - Loha Prasat)
Opening times: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Entrance fee: The entrance to this temple is free, but you can donate some 20 Baht at the entrance
Is Wat Ratchanadda worth visiting?
This temple has a unique metal structure that you won’t find at any other place around Thailand. So visiting this temple is perfect for watching a very unique landmark. The entrance to the temple is open until 6:00 pm but you can still wander around the temple after the closing time, so is perfect for visiting after the opening times as well.
The iron monastery of Wat Ratchanadda
The construction of this temple began in 1846 and it is based on the shape of another temple located in Sri Lanka. These two temples are the only two in the world that have this shape and material, so it is considered to be made a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.
At the ground level of the temple, you will find a lot of columns that support the structure that creates an amazing labyrinth view.
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6. Wat Saket
Opening times: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm
Entrance fee: 50 Baht
Is Wat Saket worth visiting?
From all the temples that we visited this is the one that impressed us the most. Maybe other temples are bigger, but this one is on the top of a hill and it gives an incredible view of Bangkok at the same time that creates an incredible and magical ambiance. We recommend to visit it during sunset to be able to watch the sun setting down on the top
The magic hill of Wat Saket
The hill under the temple is one of the most recognized landmarks around the city and it requires 300 steps to reach the top. The route is full of little statues, and bells that you can admire and listen as well.
If you visit this temple in November you will be able to attend the candlelight procession festival. The devotees write their names and names of family members on a robe and set the mind to pray, believed to have been fulfilled in prayer. This festival has been carried on since the reign of King Rama V and is still very popular.
7. Wat Traimit
Opening times: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm
Entrance fee: 40 Baht. Extra 100 Bath if you want to visit the museum as well
Is Wat Traimit worth visiting?
Wat Traimit or Temple of the Golden Buddha is the actual home to the solid gold Sukhothai-style Buddha statue. The statue is a 5.5 tonne heavy, 5 meters high Buddha, which is from the 13th century. The temple is impresive, but the Buddha statue makes this place to worth the visit totally!
The temple of Golden Buddha
Although we did not visit this temple, it was on our list and itinerary, but we run out of time in Bangkok. The temple also has a museum about the history of this unique temple and the Buddha statue, that would have been so interesting to visit.
The statue can be disassembled into nine pieces. The statue was made around 1750 and it was held in another in Wat Ayutthaya until the mid 19th century. The value of the statue according to the gold price is estimated to be worth 250 million dollars!
8. Wat Suthat
Opening times: 08:30 am to 09:00 pm
Entrance fee: 20 Baht to enter the Wat Suhat temple. Watching the Giant Swing is, of course, free, it’s in front of the temple.
Is Wat Suthat worth visiting?
Wat Suthat is mainly known for the impressive huge red Giant Swing in front of the entrance of the temple. The Giant swing stands over 21 meters tall and it reminds people of the Brahmin tradition that was celebrated there. It is a must if you want to learn about the history of Thai traditions
The temple of the Red Giant Swing
The Giant Swing was originally constructed in 1784, then in 1920, it was moved to the Wat Suthat, where they continued the swing ceremony until 1935. The swing ceremony happened during the Brahmin thanksgiving, in December when young men ride the swing high in the air while trying to catch a bag of silver or gold coins. After several accidents, this ceremony was suspended in 1935.
Wat Suthat itself is quite big, there is a big courtyard, and not only the vihara (wiharn – main temple) is interesting. The vihara is hosting the huge 25-foot tall Phra Sri Sakyamuni Buddha statue, for what the temple was originally built.
9. Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
Opening times: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm
Entrance fee: Free, but donations are appreciated
This is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, it was even founded before the city. Today this is the center of the Mahanikai school of Buddhism and offers meditations classes in English as well. The most special part of the temple is probably the courtyard that is packed with relics and statues. Wat Mahathat is right next to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, and it’s definitely one of the must-see temples in Bangkok.
10. Wat Samphran: Dragon Temple
Opening times: 06:00 am to 06:00 pm
Entrance fee: free, but donations are appreciated
Is Wat Samphran worth visiting?
Although the giant dragon temple is not technically in Bangkok, more like near the city, it’s worth the journey. This pink temple is very unique and photogenic and still counts as a hidden gem. The funny thing about this pink temple is that none knows when and why it was exactly built. Once you’re at the temple, you can go to the top and have a great panoramic view of the city, but the Dragon temple itself is definitely more impressive from the bottom and from a distance.
How to get to War Samphran
It’s about 30 km away from the city center, so it’s a bit complicated to get there. You can take the BTS to Bang Wa station, then take a taxi or Uber to “Wat Samphran”. Another way is to get to the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok and take a white minibus with the number 88. This minibus will take you to the top of Phetkasen road from where you can easily walk to the temple.
You can also take a taxi or Uber directly from the city, but of course, it’s gonna be more expensive.
Start the temple chase!
Thailand is a magic land. Chasing temples is a must if you decide to visit this country. Remember to be a good tourist and follow the rules in all of them, this jewells are impresive and they deserve respect.
Which of these temples calls your attention the most? Let us know commenting on this blogpost and if you have any question about them don’t hesitate to get in contact with us 😉