I work with the Intercontinental Hotel Group quite often and I have never been disappointed. When they asked me to collaborate by posting their travel guide of Temples in Bangkok on my site, I was more than happy to share. It’s a great guide and I hope you use it when you are heading to Bangkok.
Image via Flickr by Ankur P
Temples play an important role for the people of Bangkok. They are much more than tourist attractions. Temple complexes are homes to the monks. They wake up at 4 a.m. to begin their duties, attend to prayers, and collect offerings from the people on the streets. This is a ritual of giving to receive a better life after this one. This part of the Buddhist philosophy takes place all over Thailand. When visiting temples, do not show skin beneath the knees or shoulders.
The Temple of the Golden Buddha, Wat Traimit, is a modest temple in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Wat Traimit is home to the largest solid gold Buddha statue in the world. For centuries, plaster and stucco hid its identity from the invading Burmese armies. The statue fell while moving it during the 1950s and the plaster cracked, revealing the identity of the Golden Buddha. The 15-foot tall Buddha weighs five and a half tons and is 83 percent pure gold. The estimated value of the statue is $US 250 million.
Located on the second floor of the temple is the Bangkok Chinatown Heritage Centre. The third floor of the temple is a museum that tells the history of the Golden Buddha. The fourth floor is home to the Golden Buddha. After exploring the temple, take the short walk to Chinatown. If you are looking for a nearby Bangkok hotel, the Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom is an eight-minute ride from Wat Traimit.
Wat Phra Kaew
Located in the outer court of the Grand Palace is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most significant temples in Thailand. This temple home to the statue of the Emerald Buddha, carved from a single jade stone, not an emerald. Due to the statue’s royal status, no one can come near the statue except the Thai King or the Crown Prince in his stead. The King changes the Buddha’s monastic robes with the changing of the seasons to bring good luck to the country.
One of Bangkok’s oldest Temples is Wat Arun, predating the founding of Bangkok. Located on the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok. Decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain, the spires are beautiful during the daylight. To avoid crowds, visit Wat Arun during the early morning. See the sunrise reflect off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence. But, although it is the Temple of the Dawn, Wat Arun is most stunning during sunset and after dark when it is lit up.
There are many beautiful temples that serve Bangkok’s people as places of worship and giving. Visit the temples and learn about the history and culture of Buddhism. Admire the architecture of ancient and modern Thailand. But remember, every temple has a strict dress code. Many of the temples have sarongs to rent if your outfit is not modest enough for entrance.