10 Must-See Temples in Bangkok

Bangkok Most Important Temples and Wats

There are more than 400 wats (or temples) disseminated all around Bangkok but everyone rushes to three most famous ones: Wat Pra Kaew, Wat Arun and Wat Pho. But where do you go after that? What other temples are worth visiting and why? Where are they? There is no way to see them all but we have seen a lot, including the infamous David Beckham Temple (yes, it does really exist), one swallowed by a giant tree and even one that was used for executions!

Here we bring you 10 Must-See temples to visit while in Bangkok and fortunately many are located near the Grand Palace, perfect for a day of fun exploration. Just remember to not only to bring your camera, but also to wear long light pants, a tee shirt that covers your shoulders and proper shoes as some temples will not allow flip flops. Drink lots of water and wear a hat or cap, as it can get real hot out there...

1) Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha)

Built within the grounds of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew or 'The Temple of the Emerald Buddha' is the most important and most visited temple in Bangkok. One of the most significant features of Wat Phra Kaew is the Emerald Buddha, carved into a 66 cm tall block of Jade. This highly revered icon was first discovered in 1464 in Chiang Rai when the Wat sheltering it was struck by lightning. It was taken to Laos before coming back to Chiang Mai and finally making a permanent home in Bangkok where you can admire it today. Wat Phra Kaew is a superb temple to explore, especially the two km long gallery covered with incredibly detailed mural paintings depicting 178 scenes of the epic story of Ramayana. Around every corner you’ll find tall chedis covered with glazed tiles or gold leaves, but the most photographed building is the massive golden chedi of Phra Sri Rattana featured on the one baht coin. The temple is only open until 3 pm and the entrance costs at least 400 baht. A strict dress code applies: no short pants and no sleeveless shirts. Read More...

2) Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Wat Pho, named after a monastery in India where Buddha is believed to have lived, is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Wat Pho is also known as 'The Temple of the Reclining Buddha' thanks to the 15 meter high, 43 meter long Buddha image it shelters, covered with gold leaf and baring four meter long feet encrusted with exquisite mother-of-pearl (or nacre) decorations. Located just next to the grand palace, Wat Pho also houses one thousand buddha images and 91 chedis (stupas), including four very impressive chedis dedicated to the four chakri kings. Wat Pho is also home to the first Thai massage school where Thai massage is taught at the Traditional Medical Practitioners Association Center, located in an open air hall outside the temple. Just in case you have time to learn it, the temple’s full name is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan... and the entrance fee is 100 baht. Read More...

3) Wat Arun

Wat Arun, the most iconic temple of Bangkok is located on Thonburi side of Bangkok, almost opposite to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Built during seventeenth century on the bank of the Chao Phraya river, its full name 'Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan' is rather hard to remember so it is often called 'Temple of Dawn. The distinctive shape of Wat Arun consists of a central 'Prang' (a khmer style tower) surrounded by four smaller towers all incrusted with faience from plates and potteries. The stairs to reach a balcony on the main tower are quite steep, usually easier to climb up than to walk down, but the view from up there is really worth it. Despite its name, the Temple of Dawn looks amazing at sunset.

Wat Arun can be easily accessed via ferry across the Chao Phraya River to Maharaj pier and the entrance fee to the temple is 50 baht. Read More...

4) Wat Saket

Wat Saket is the temple where you can visit the unmistakable golden Chedi of 'Phu Khao Thong'or the Golden mountain. Built on top of a high hill in the old city of Bangkok, this massive construction has a long and troubled history. Built first by King Rama III (1787–1851), the first attempt failed and the chedi collapsed because of the soft nature of the ground and 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. 300 steps lead to the top terrace and to the chedi containing a relic of Buddha brought from India. Read More...

5) Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit is an elegant multilevel white and gold temple located at the very beginning of Yaowarat road, making it a perfect starting point for a Chinatown exploration. The main attraction on Wat Traimit is not only its beautiful architecture, but the immense buddha made of solid gold seated inside, the largest of this kind in the world. This five metres high, five and a half ton statue was long hidden under an unimpressive coating of stucco and plaster is thought to have been made in the 13th-14th centuries but the gold hidden underneath was only revealed by accident in 1955! A small entry fee is required to visit the museum located half way up the steps but in fact visiting the golden Buddha above it is free. Read More...

6) Loha Prasat

Bangkok has no lack of majestic temples, all more elegant and impressive than the next, but Loha Prasat really stands out with its unique architectural identity. Also called the 'Metal Castle', Loha Prasat is located on the ground of Wat Ratchanaddaram and was submitted to UNESCO in 2005 to become a world heritage site, highlighting the historical importance of the temple. However this title hasn't yet been given. Located very near Wat Saket and the Democracy Monument, it's a must-see if you happen to be around Khao San Road.  Read More...

7) Wat Mahatat

Wat Mahatat or more precisely 'Wat Mahathat Yuwarajarangsarit Rajaworamahavihara' was built during the Ayutthaya period. It is one of the ten royal temples of the highest class in Bangkok, used for royal ceremonies thanks to its strategic location between the Grand Palace and the Royal Palace. Located within the temple grounds is the oldest higher education institute for Buddhist monks in Thailand and an important centre for the study of Buddhism and meditation. Wat Mahatat has become a popular place to learn the Vipassana Meditation with some classes undertaken in English. Just opposite of Wat Mahatat is the gigantic amulet market, which goes far beyond the few vendors on the street walkway. Read More...

8) Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat, better known for the towering red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance, is one of the oldest and most impressive temples in Bangkok. It features an elegant chapel with sweeping roof, magnificent wall murals and exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels. The temple’s construction was commissioned by King Rama I (1782-1809), to shelter the 13th Century bronze Buddha image transported by boat from Sukhotai, but it was finally completed during King Rama III’s reign (1824-51). Located in the Old City area, just east of the Royal Field, you can easily combine a visit to Wat Suthat with Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace and Wat Pho. Read More...

9) Wat Benjamabhopit (Wat Benja)

Wat Benjamabhopit, most commonly called Wat Benja was built in by King Rama V in 1900 and is renowned for more than one reasons. Nickednamed 'The Marble Temple' for all the external walls of the main temple are covered with marble imported from Italy, but also for being the temple embossed on the back of 5 baht coins! Located near the many governement offices and palaces, this wat is highly revered and is often visited by high ranked officials.

10) Wat Prayoon

Wat Prayoon, or Wat Rua Lek, sits on the western side of the Chao Praya river bank. Built during King Rama III’s reign, the temple’s outstanding features include a large inverted bell shaped chedi (pagoda), turtle ‘mountain’ housing spirit houses and a pond where visitors can feed the turtles. The temple is located on the Thonburi side, at the foot of Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut). This area is on the southern edge of the old Portuguese community (Kuthi Jeen), an area designated to Portuguese merchants and government officials during the Early Rattanakosin Period (after Ayutthaya was destroyed and King Rama I founded a new capital in Thonburi). Read More...

Related Pages

10 Must See in Bangkok Top 10 Must Do in Bangkok

Today, while the city is up to speed with modern times, the grandeur and glory of its illustrious past prevails. Be it the temples, spectacular palaces, floating markets or Chinatown. Read More...

 
10 Short Things to Do in Bangkok 10 Short Things to Do in Bkk

You’ve only got a limited amount of time in Bangkok but you want to see the must-sees and do the must-dos. Here are Bangkok’s Top Ten Leisure Activities for those who are in a bit of a hurry.  Read More...

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