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As the capital of Thailand, a Buddhist country, there are many temples in Bangkok. The most famous ones are the Grand Palace with the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho and the reclining Buddha, and the temple of Dawn Wat Arun. However, there are many more temples in Thailand. It is not untrue that some temples look very similar, but there are also some that had stood out. As someone who had visited the big 3 only during my first trip to Bangkok (or old Bangkok in particular), I had made it my mission to discover some of the most beautiful and unique temples in Bangkok besides them. Without further ado, here are the best temples to visit in Bangkok:
Otherwise known as the Golden Mount or Mount Temple, Wat Saket is hard to miss as it is an artificial hill itself. A gleaming white structure topped by golden roofs and a chedi, visitors can ascend to the temple via a set of red spiral staircases that offers a spectacular view of the city. If you pay close enough attention, you can see Grand Palace and Wat Arun from afar.
The temple was built in the Ayutthaya period, however its current facade was due to a huge renovation under King Rama I. the main entrance is located on the southern edge, however there are many side-entrances, too.
There are many Buddha statues and images inside the temple, and from the windows you can see the panorama of Bangkok. Dangling from the roof are bells that rustled and ring in the wind, making the scene more serene. The rooftop is where the golden chedi is, with a Buddha relic housed inside.
Besides the temple and chedi, there are several other structures around the temple, such as the seated Buddha and big gong on the way down, as well as a cemetery by the side of the temple. The latter was a grave for plague victims in the 18th century.
Note: while many take off their shoes to enter the temple, you are actually advice to keep it on.
Admission fee: 50 Baht
Opening times: 8:00 – 17:00
Wat Prayunwongsawat Worawihan
The white temple of Bangkok, Wat Prayunwongsawat is a big chedi with a circular wall around. Located on the outskirt of the Kudeejeen community, it is a classic Thai Buddhist temple that was built in the 19th century by King Rama III. It underwent a massive renovation in 2009, where artefacts from an earlier religious monument was discovered and now displayed in the entrance room.
Previously, the chedi was unsupported and now held up by wooden beams. Locals has the tradition of walking thrice clockwise around the wall, then on exit, touch the Buddha statue and hold their breaths as they exit in order for their wish to be fulfilled.
They also put in little skulls on the walkway around, but the names displayed aren’t graves but names of patrons who contributed to the renovation. There are monks who live nearby the temple, and we had the chance to talk to one of them who told us they have a sister order in Miami!
Note: you have to take off your shoes to visit the temple
Opening times: unclear but likely 8:30 – 17:00
Also known as Golden Buddha Temple, Wat Traimit is on the eastern edge of the Chinatown in all its gold and white glory. The temple was built in 2010 specifically to house the Buddha statue. The seated Buddha statue is the largest in the world,
Given the history, Wat Traimit is a popular pilgrimage spots for many Buddhists. It also houses the Bangkok Chinatown Heritage Museum, with different ticket packages available for visitors to choose from.
Admission: 40 Baht for visiting the Buddha only, 100 Baht for the museum too
Opening times: 9:00 – 17:00
A temple complex that is also known as the ‘temple garden’ or the direct translation metal castle, Loha Prasat is not far from the Golden Mount and on the northeastern corner of Old Bangkok. The official name is Wat Ratchanatdaram, built in 1846 by King Rama III. It is most distinctive with its three tier spire structure, which represent, altogether, the 37 virtues that enlightenment would require.
Loha Prasat is the only one of its kind, although two more had existed in history in India and Sri Lanka respectively. The interior of the temple tells the story of its construction, and visitors can also climb up to the second tier.
The surrounding structure are the viharn and ubosat of the temple, which are fronted by a garden that faces Ratachadamnoen Road. We had visited in the late afternoon when the sun was setting, with gorgeous rays peeking through the pillars.
Admission fee: None
Opening times: 7:00 – 17:00
Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan
Also in the Kudeejeen area, Wat Kalayanamit might looks like a typical Thai temple from afar but there are Chinese elements dotted around. Built during the third kingdom, Wat Kalayanamit Woramahawihan was not commissioned by the King but by one of his subjects. King Rama III accepted it as a royal temple, and added the main hall of worship as well as the Buddha image.
The Buddha image is known as Sam Po Kong, very popular for Chinese and the statue either side are King Rama I and King Rama III. The statue faces the water and people comes here to pray for luck and faith. The tradition of Kau Chim is also carried out here, which is a way of fortune telling. The temple is also home to the biggest bronze bell in the city.
Opening times: unclear but likely 8:30 – 17:00