International Travel Update: Extremely popular for its cultural attractions, Bangkok is home to awe-inspiring Buddhist shrines. Here are five of our favourite and most beautiful temples in Bangkok – some already on most tourists’ itineraries, others that you may not have heard of. Check them out!Also Read - International Flights: AirAsia India Gets Security Clearance, Likely to Get Global Flying Permit Soon
Top 5 Must-Visit Temples in Bangkok
- Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Pho is one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. It is also widely known as ‘The Temple of the Reclining Buddha’ as it features the 15-metre-high, 43-metre-long Buddha image, which is covered with gold leaf and baring 4-metre-long feet encrusted with exquisite mother-of-pearl (or nacre) decorations. It is situated right next to the Grand Palace and houses 1,000 Buddha images and 91 chedis (stupas). Interestingly, this place is also home to the first Thai massage school where Thai massage is taught at the Traditional Medical Practitioners Association Center, located in a shophouse outside the temple. Don’t forget to visit here on your next trip to Bangkok! Also Read - Breaking: Poland Recognises India’s Covishield Vaccine, Exempts Travellers From Quarantine Rules
- Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of Emerald Buddha)
Also know as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew is situated in the same complex as the Grand Palace. Considered as Bangkok’s grandest temple, it is definitely one of the must-visit temples in the country. The other buildings, murals and statues in the complex too make a trip to Wat Phra Kaew absolutely travel-worthy. Interestingly, around every corner you’ll find tall chedis (stupas) covered with glazed tiles or gold leaf, but the most photographed building is the massive golden chedi of Phra Sri Rattana, featured on the 1 baht coin. Go, check it out! Also Read - Thailand Announces Quarantine-free Travel For 45 Countries. When Will Indians Be Allowed?
- Wat Traimit (The Golden Buddha)
Wat Traimit is an extremely popular site in Bangkok. You ask why? Because this elegant, multilevel, white-and-gold temple not only has a phenomenal architecture but also houses a huge Buddha, made of solid gold, seated inside – the largest of this kind in the world. An interesting fact is that, this 5-metre-high, 5.5-ton statue was long hidden under an unimpressive coating of stucco and plaster thought to have been made in the 13th-14th centuries. The gold hidden underneath was only revealed by accident in 1955! It is located at the beginning of Yaowarat Road, making it a perfect starting point for a Chinatown exploration in Bangkok.
- Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
One of the most iconic temples of Bangkok, Wat Arun is located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, almost opposite to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. It was built during the 17th century and interestingly, its full name of ‘Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan’ is rather hard to remember; hence, it’s often called the “Temple of the Dawn”. The distinctive shape of Wat Arun consists of a central prang (a Khmer-style tower) surrounded by 4 smaller towers, all encrusted with faience from plates and potteries. The stairs to reach the 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 spectacular at sunset.
- Wat Saket (The Golden Mount)
The last one on our list is Wat Saket, 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, the first attempt failed and the chedi (stupa) collapsed because of the soft 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. Don’t forget to walk up 300 steps that lead to the top terrace and to the chedi containing a relic of Buddha brought from India.