While there are dozens of temples in Bangkok to visit, most travelers won’t have time to visit more than a handful. These five temples are my favorite that’ve explored in Bangkok so far and here’s why…
Photo by Matt Wunder
This temple sits just across the street from the famous Giant Swing. Matt and I just happened upon this temple, but we’re so glad that we did because it ended up being our favorite temple. Although many others have iconic things to see within them, this was just a quiet, beautiful temple. Although the main entrance was under construction, we really enjoyed exploring the grounds. When the temple opened at 8, we went inside and sat with the Buddha for a few moments. It was only us and one local lady the whole time we were inside. For reference, we arrived at 7:45 and entered the temple right as it opened at 8.
Everything in the temple + grounds was ornately decorated. // Photos by Matt Wunder
Although there was construction going on, it was still peaceful. I wish we could’ve seen it without the coverings.
Stepping out of the temple and back into the grounds // Photo by Matt Wunder
What I Loved About Wat Suthat: It was quiet and serene, but equal in beauty to the more popular temples. Plus, we love that it’s free, which help us with our budget.
Wat Pho – Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is easily one of the most popular destinations in all of Bangkok, and with good reason. As far as the total package, this temple takes the cake for me. Although Wat Suthat has that special local feel to it, Wat Pho has the beauty. It’s best known for two things, the invention of Thai Massage and its massive 150 foot long reclining Buddha. (And that’s just one of more than 1,000 images of Buddha that are housed here.)
Another thing I love about Wat Pho, is the coin meditation located along the back wall behind the reclining Buddha. For 20 baht (approximately $0.66) you can buy a cup full of 108 coins. Then you drop a coin into each of the 108 buckets making a wish for each one. This meditation keeps you mindful of changes you’d like to see in yourself and improvements you wish for the world. I’ve done it each time I’ve been to Wat Pho.
Check out this video Matt took of me doing the coin meditation.
In addition to the reclining Buddha there are loads of other small temples, gardens and chedis that hold ashes of royal family members.
What I Loved About Wat Pho: There’s just so much to see. The reclining Buddha is beautiful, the architecture is unbelievable and that coin meditation gets me every time. Quick Tip – don’t forget to take advantage of the free bottle of water you get with your ticket!
Wat Wat Ratchabopit – The Royal Cemetery
This temple was difficult to visit because the Thai people are still mourning the loss of their king. Therefore, many mourners are coming to the royal cemetery to pay respects. Because of this the temple is only open to foreigners in the afternoon (as of Sept. 2017). Because it’s setup for basically a constant funeral, we didn’t get a good photo of the inside, but you can tell from the chedis and exterior that it’s a stunning complex. This temple was also under construction so much of it was blocked off and there were giant piles of colored tiles all over the place.
What I Loved About Wat Ratchabopit: It’s something different. When we entered I actually had no idea that it was the royal cemetery, but it made for a very interesting visit a nice history lesson. It’s also free to enter.
Wat Ratchaburana – a.k.a. Wat Liab
Wat Raschaburana is a stunning temple that we happened upon. It’s exterior is undoubtedly the one I found most beautiful. Its big draw is the murals that were painted by a monk, but unfortunately we went while the temple wasn’t open. However, a stroll through the grounds alone is worth a visit.
Matt was enjoying capturing this temple even though it was a rainy day.
Wat I Loved About Wat Raschaburana: Its undeniable beauty. The architecture was so beautiful and still worth a visit even without getting to explore the inside.
Wat Traimit – Golden Buddha
This temple is famous not so much for the temple or architecture, but for that wonder that it holds. Inside Wat Traimit is a 5.5 ton solid gold statue of the Buddha. That’s a serious statue! Unless you visit the museum as well, it’s a very quick visit, but I highly recommend getting there early in the morning because it gets super crowded in late morning throughout the evening.
Although the statue itself is beautiful, it’s so crowded up there that it’s truly hard to enjoy. Instead, I found the wind chimes to be the most enjoyable part. In Buddhism, they’re supposed to entice good spirits while detracting evil ones.
What I Loved About Wat Traimit: The top of the temple, but outside. I loved feeling the breeze, looking down at the complex and hearing those wind chimes. It felt like the good spirits were up there.
While there are many, many temples in Bangkok, these five are temples that I would highly recommend visiting in Bangkok. Each has something special about it that sets them apart from the others.
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