We can all agree that Thailand is among the most beautiful places on Earth. The reason is its many temples or watts that are all over the country.
More than 90% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist, so it’s no wonder that there are as many temples. Precisely, there are around 40,000 temples in Thailand though not all of them are in use.
These are beautiful sights to see and are a great way of experiencing Thai culture. Visiting one is a unique experience, but it’s unlikely you can visit all that the country offers.
Max Kenyon who often travels to Thailand and has visited some of the most magnificent temples. To save time on visiting thousands, you should check his list of must-see temples.
What you should know “Temple Etiquette”
Thailand temple etiquette might be a bit confusing and overwhelming to those who are visiting for the first time. However, a basic tourist guide should hold some of the essential information on do’s and don’t.
Keep in mind that these are quiet places, and even if they don’t have any religious significance, should be treated with the utmost respect.
Take your shoes off and don’t touch any sacred objects. Don’t turn your back to an image of Buddha. Don’t point with your fingers or get in the way of other worshipers. Another big no is sitting or standing higher than the image of Buddha.
What should you do? You should remove your sunglasses and shoes. You should also greet monks with a higher wai which is the prayer-like gesture. Keep in mind that monks aren’t expected to do this, so don’t find yourself offended.
Remember to be polite, quiet, and respectful. Dress modestly and show respect by not cracking jokes or chewing gum.
What about taking pictures? Unlike in Japan, it’s okay to take photos inside the temples. In most cases, you can even take a picture of Buddha statues. However, check for any signs that indicate that this is forbidden.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
Otherwise known as the “Temple on a high glass cliff”, Wat PhaSornKaew is about five hours north of Bangkok. Still, it’s not the most popular one because of its obscure location.
Nonetheless, the temple is striking. The construction began in 2004, so the temple is entirely new being only recently opened. It still looks like brand new, sparkling with colorful mosaics on the surrounding buildings and main pagoda.
A part of what makes it as beautiful is the surrounding mountainous area. It’s a beautiful sight to see, and the one you’ll never forget.
The five Buddha statues are impressive and remarkable. Though they’re white, they’re contrasting against the colorful buildings, green nature, and blue sky.
Wat Pharthat Doi Suthep
In the hills near Chang Main is the Wat PharthatDoiSuthep. The temple complex is beautiful and awe-inspiring, and you can clearly see the Buddhist and Hindu influences.
In the center is the golden mount, otherwise known as stupa. The entrance is lined with intricately carved dragons that look equally as impressive and striking.
You can also see the beautiful statues of Ganesh and the Emerald Buddha. However, keep in mind that there are 309 steps to climb to reach the temple. If that’s a problem for you, you can use the shuttle tram service that’s also available.
The temple looks extraordinary with all the gold and red tones. The view over Chang Main is equally as breathtaking so you won’t regret climbing the steps.
Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Kun is located in Chang Rai. The temple has little to no religious significance, but the sight of it is spectacular.
It’s designed by ChaloemchaiKhositphiphat, but the construction began in 1998. Today, this unique temple stands as a result.
The whitewashed walls are filled with riddles, Buddhist philosophy, and contemporary sculptures, and it’s what makes the temple as unique. Its unorthodox design also provides political comment.
For example, a large mural in one section depicts the devil with Osama Bin Laden in one eye and George Bush in the other. Accessing parts of the temple are equally as odd. You must cross a bridge over sculpted human hands reaching out from beneath.
Still, all of this is quite interesting to see. The temple is beautiful in every sense of the world, so you’ll definitely feel like in a money scene or a fairytale.
Sanctuary of Truth
In Pattaya, located some two hours southeast from Bangkok, is the Sanctuary of Truth. Though the city isn’t as well-known for its temples, this one stands out as one of the most distinctive in Thailand.
It’s a rather modern temple, so it doesn’t have much religious significance even though Hindu and Buddhist patterns are included in the design.
What’s exciting and striking is the fact that the temple was made from teak wood and by hand. Believe it or not, there’s not a single nail in its construction.
The level of detail noticeable in the patterns and carvings is astonishing. It’s breathtaking and striking in every sense of the word.
Also, the temple is set right on the shore, so even the area around it is beautiful. It’s worth taking a trip to Pattaya even if it’s just to check out the Sanctuary of Truth.
Otherwise known as the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’s many temples. It’s among the most beautiful and iconic temples of Bangkok, sitting on the Thonburi side of the Chao Praya River.
The temple consists of a central tower called prang surrounded by four smaller towers. You can climb to the balcony in the central tower using the steep steps if you like to.
Still, at night is when the temple is most breathtaking since it’s illuminated by gold light. Though it’s called the Temple of Dawn, it’s truly extraordinary to see at sunset. It’s a sight you won’t ever forget, so make sure to visit it if you’re in Bangkok.