10 Best Temples in Bangkok You Absolutely Cannot Miss!

Wat Benchamabophi, The Marble Temple.

Thailand is known for many things, one of which is its exquisite temples. Now this may or may not come as a surprise, but there are actually a total of 40,000 Buddhist temples across the country. 30,000 are still active and in use, and Bangkok alone is home to hundreds, perhaps even thousands! With there being so many, it can definitely get a little overwhelming choosing which to see. Well, not to worry because I have teamed up with some of my favorite travel bloggers to share 10 best temples in Bangkok that will blow your mind!

10 Best Temples in Thailand

10 best bemples in Bangkok you absolutely cannot miss!10 best bemples in Bangkok you absolutely cannot miss!

1. Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew, part of Grand Palace.

Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is part of a royal complex known as the Grand Palace of Thailand. It was built between 1782-1784 and was given the formal name of Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram, meaning “The Residence of the Holy Jewel Buddha.” It is considered one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand due to the dual political and religious symbolism of the Emerald Buddha housed within, and is said to ensure the safety of Bangkok, keeping it safe from conquest or invasion.

Wat Phra Kaew, part of Grand Palace.

The temple complex of Wat Phra Kaew is made up of multiple buildings that cover 234 acres within the Grand Palace grounds. These buildings are of an architectural style known as Rattanakosin (old-Bangkok style) and are decorated similarly to temples from the former capital of Ayutthaya, where many of the building materials of the original Grand Palace originated from. These buildings are decorated with colored tiles, inlaid mosaics, marble pediments, intricate murals, and gilded Garudas (half man, half bird guardians). It is incredible, the amount of detail and artistry that have gone into creating this temple complex. Nowhere else in Thailand will you see such care taken in the creation of each building, and such a unique group of impressive structures.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance to the Grand Palace costs 500 baht per person and is inclusive of a visit to Wat Phra Kaew. The temple is open daily from 8:30AM until 3:30PM.

| Submitted by Erin Tracy from Traveling Thru History. To learn more about Wat Pha Kaew and the Grand Palace of Thailand, check out her photo tour through the grounds of Thailand’s Grand Palace.

2. Wat Pho (Officially Wat Phra Chetuphon)

Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples with more than 1,000 Buddha images inside its large complex. The original temple grounds underwent significant renovations under King Rama III in 1832. It was during this time and over the next 17 years that it became the complex it remains today.

Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

The golden Buddha inside is the main attraction and spans across 46 meters long. Its pose is referred to as sihasaiyas, the posture of a sleeping lion. The reclining Buddha itself is worthy of a visit to Wat Pho, but if you have time, stick around for a traditional Thai massage. Massages are offered by students at the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School. Don’t let that dissuade you though. You’ll be in good hands! It’s best to stop by as soon as you arrive as they’re popular with both visitors + locals and there can be a bit of a wait.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 100 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 8:00AM until 6:30PM. Massages are booked until 6:00PM.

| Submitted by Agnes Groonwald from Travel on the Reg.

3. Wat Arun

Details of Wat Arun temple.

Wat Arun is one of the best temples in Bangkok to visit and has appeared in countless guidebooks as well as travel magazines. It is one of the oldest and dates back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom. When the Burmese invaded, the Siam armies were pushed back to Bangkok. General Taksin viewed Wat Arun from the opposite bank and named it “The Temple of Dawn”. He vowed to re-build it if the war was won and later did so.

This Buddhist temple can be visited during the day, or it can be enjoyed during sunset from the banks of Chao Phraya River. The stupas glow with soft lights and the sun sets right above the grounds. Often you can hear the chanting of monks swirl across the river, adding to the experience.

Wat Arun photographed from across the river during sunset.Wat Arun photographed during sunset from across Chao Phraya River.

The riverside is quite built up so finding a spot can be tricky. Luckily, there are a number of rooftop bars (e.g. the Eagles Nest) from which you get the perfect view. If not, there is a little pier on which you can sit right opposite this magnificent temple.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 50 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 8:00AM to 6:00PM. Last tickets are sold at 5:40PM.

| Submitted by Ben Reeve from The Sabbatical Guide.

4. Wat Benchamabophit

Wat Benchamabophi, The Marble Temple.

Wat Benchamabophit, translated into English, means “temple of the fifth king.” But let’s be honest here. Thai names can be incredibly difficult to remember, let alone pronounce! Luckily, Wat Benjamabhopit is also known as The Marble Temple. It is one of Bangkok’s most famous temples and its nickname derives from its Italian marble architecture.

The temple was commissioned by King Chulalongkorn in 1899 and was designed by his half brother Prince Naris. King Chulalongkorn was the fifth monarch of Siam and his royal residence – Dusit Palace – was located a short 10 to 15-minute walk away. In fact, it still is and these two Bangkok tourist attractions can easily go hand in hand on your itinerary.

Wat Benchamabophi, The Marble Temple.

When visiting Wat Benchamabophit, it is best to go early for sunrise. The morning light shines and reflects upon the gold embellishments, creating a jaw-dropping spectacle that you will never forget. From 6:00AM to 7:30AM, you can even observe monks as they line up with their bowls in hand to receive local donations such as incense, lotus buds, and rice just to name a few.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 50 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 8:30AM to 5:30PM. I’d visited a bit earlier prior to opening hours and was welcomed regardless. The ticket booth does not open before 8:30AM so make sure to pay up before you leave!

| Submitted by me, Jas! Wat Benchamabophit was a highlight of my trip and it definitely deserves a place on your bucket list.

5. Wat Ratchanatdaram

Day time view of Wat Ratchanatdaram.

Wat Ratchanaddaram is a magnificent Buddhist temple complex located between the intersection of two major roads in Bangkok: Ratchadamnoen Klang and Maha Chai Road. It is close to Wat Saket as well, which can be a good side trip when in the area.

The temple’s name means Temple of the Royal Niece and was built in 1846 by King Nangklao for his granddaughter – Princess Somanat Watthanawadi. Aside from its lush garden and intriguing structures, one of the main attractions here is Loha Prasat.

Night time view of Wat Ratchanatdaram.

Loha Prasat is an iron or metal castle that is inspired by similar temples in India and Sri Lanka. (Note that the structure is erected in a very unusual way.) There are multiple concentric square levels built on geometrically aligned pillars with maze-like divisions. The top of the castle holds the relic of Buddha and this is the only iron castle that still exists today.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 20 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.

| Submitted by Christine Rogador from The Backpacking Executive. Don’t miss her recommendations for free things to do in Bangkok!

6. Wat Saket

Wat Saket, the Golden Mount Temple.

Of the many temples in Thailand, Wat Saket is another one of the best temples in Bangkok that needs to be on your radar.

Wat Saket, alias the Golden Mount Temple, has a gleaming golden chedi at the top that can be seen from miles away. (It is particularly charming at night when it shines brightly against the inky black sky.) This Buddhist Royal Thai temple dates back to when King Rama I of the Ayutthaya era ruled Thailand. He founded the temple as a burial site and thousands of bodies are actually still buried there today, many of whom were from a plague that swept the city during his reign.

Wat Saket, the Golden Mount Temple.Wat Saket, the Golden Mount Temple.

While it takes over 300 steps to get to the top of the temple, the journey up is well worth it. Take your time to ring the bells as you ascend or stop to take a few photos of the landscape around you. Once you reach the top, it is like a silent retreat where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Bangkok and listen to the sound of wind chimes playing in the background.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 50 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 7:30AM to 7:00PM.

| Submitted by Lee Nelson from The Travel Scribes. All three photos were taken by this travelling duo, edited by me.

7. Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha.

Located in the heart of Chinatown, Wat Traimit is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok. It stands at three floors high and its white and yellow façade will catch your attention immediately as you enter this part of the city.

Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha.

Wat Traimit (a.k.a. the Temple of the Golden Buddha) got its name through an interesting story. At one point in time, a three-meter tall Buddha statue weighing more than five tonnes was covered in stucco to prevent theft. Unfortunately, people soon began to forget the statue’s original state and it was mistaken as one of the many plaster Buddha statues. In 1935, it was brought to Wat Traimit, which at the time was still an insignificant temple. Twenty years later, when said statue was about to be moved to a new location, lifting ropes supposedly broke, causing it to fall to the ground. Some of its plaster cover broke off and the golden Buddha statue was revealed. Today, it acts as the center piece of Wat Traimit.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 20 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 9:00AM to 5:00PM.

| Submitted by Tea Gudek Snajdar from Culture Tourist. If you have a little more time in Thailand, her ten days Thailand diary will be of inspiration for your trip.

8. Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat is one of 10 first-class royal temples in Bangkok. (Thailand has a total of 23.) It was originally named Wat Maha Sutthawat and is one of the oldest temples of the Rattanakosin era. Construction first began under commands of King Rama I. However, it was not completed until decades after under the reign of King Rama III.

Wat Suthat, a first-class royal temple.

This Buddhist temple is most notably known for its giant red swing, Sao Ching Chaa. It stands at approximatately 20 meters tall and was initially built to be used in annual Brahmanic ceremonies where young men competed against each other to see who could swing high enough to grab the bag of gold coins atop with their teeth. Due to a number of fatal accidents, Brahmanic ceremonies are no longer practiced.

Wat Suthat, a first-class royal temple.

At the lower terrace, there are 28 Chinese pagodas to symbolize the 28 Buddhas who were born on earth. From hand-carved gates to captivating murals and Chinese sculptures, Wat Suthat is sure to take your breath away.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 20 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 8:30AM to 9:00PM.

| Submitted by me again, Jas!

9. Wat Hua Lamphong

If your idea of a vacation involves exploring off-the-beaten path attraction sights and uncovering hidden gems, Wat Hua Lamphong is hands down one of the best temples in Bangkok you shouldn’t miss.

Not to be confused with Hua Lamphong Station, Hua Lamphong Temple is a royal Buddhist temple located close to Lumphini Park in the Bang Rak District. (This neighbourhood is one of the more unique areas to stay in Bangkok.) It is surrounded by skyscrapers, which only adds to the allure of this temple and makes it stand out in the urban landscape.

Wat Hua Lamphong in Bang Rak District.

In 1996, the temple was renovated to celebrate King Rama IX spending 50 years on the throne. Although it’s not popular with tourists today, it is a well-liked local favorite. Visitors come here to donate money for coffins to those whose families cannot afford them. As a result, another name for Wat Hua Lamphong is The Coffin Temple.

What’s also special about this temple is that there are birds and cows on the temple grounds as well. Locals often let birds free here. Additionally, by allowing cows to live at the temple and saving them from slaughterhouses, merit can be gained in Buddhist religion.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 40 baht per person and the temple is open 24 hours a day.

| Submitted by Claire Martin from Claire’s Footsteps.

10. Wat Pariwat

Wat Pariwat, a cartoon temple.

At first glance, Wat Pariwat looks like a pretty standard temple. White columns, ornate carvings on the corners, lots of intricate details… But then, you notice something a bit strange. A bright yellow Pikachu is sitting in a corner. And hang on, isn’t that a Batman figure climbing up the side of another ornate fresco!? Yes, yes it is. Welcome to Bangkok’s cartoon temple – where you’re as likely to find a carving of a character from Harry Potter as an ancient Thai god.

Wat Pariwat, a cartoon temple.

Addition of the modern characters are to make the temple appeal to younger visitors. On top of that, monks have theorized that it also acts as a record of the time we live in today and who is important to us culturally as well as religiously. You can spend ages wandering around looking at the intricate designs and seeing who and what you can spot. If you run into a temple monk, ask if you can visit the carving of David Beckham, which is on an altar in a separate building.

Wat Pariwat might be a bit tricky to get to on your first trip to Bangkok, but it’s not too challenging. Take the bus at Sathorn (close to Chong Nonsi BTS) and get off at Wat Pariwas, not Pariwat. The bus tells you so you won’t miss it. The temple will then be across the footbridge.

Admission Fee & Hours

Entrance fee costs 15 baht per person and the temple is open daily from 8:00AM to 6:00PM.

| Submitted by Helen Foster from Destination> Differentville.

Where to Stay in Bangkok

Outdoor pool area.Club Balcony Room.

Traffic can get a little crazy in Bangkok. That said, I recommend staying at hotel that is centrally located, like The Sukhothai Bangkok. It is a wonderful 5-star property located a short 10 to 15-minute walk from Sala Daeng BTS Station. I particularly loved staying in the Club Balcony Room there. I had my own private cabana and exclusive access to the Club Lounge where I enjoyed daily complimentary breakfast + snacks/drinks.

Know Before You Go

Keep in mind that temples are a place of worship. It goes without saying that you should act with respect and dress modestly.

Temple Etiquette

  • Remove any hats, sunglasses, or shoes before entering the temple
  • Do not step or stand on the door threshold
  • No smoking or gum chewing while on temple grounds
  • Do not point at a monk or a Buddha statue, or touch any sacred objects
  • Do not raise yourself higher than the image of Buddha
  • Try to back away from the Buddha statue before turning your back on it and walking away
  • If there are pillars or statues in the middle of the room, walk around it in a clockwise direction
  • Do not disturb the monks or any locals visiting for worship

What to Wear

The Grand Palace

Avoid wearing anything too revealing and always cover your shoulders and knees at all times. This means no spaghetti straps, tank tops, short skirts, or shorts. A trick for my ladies out there in getting away with spaghetti straps or off-the-shoulder items is to layer a white t-shirt underneath. This completely covers your shoulders and allows you to still wear your favorite pieces 😉

Hours & Admission Fees

When putting this guide together, I made sure to double check each temple’s hours of operation and admission fees. However, I did find some discrepancies and a couple different answers on Google. (Some temples may or may not have updated their hours/prices since myself and the above contributors last visited.) That said, all of the information I’ve listed above are ones that most sources agree on. If anything, I encourage you to confirm with your hotel concierge.

Gem Scam

Be careful around the more famous temples in Bangkok. A man, or a younger fellow dressed as a student, will often wait at temple entrances and approach tourists informing them that so and so temple is closed. He will then proceed to offer a tuk tuk ride where he takes you to a separate temple. Once you enter said temple, a second man will start chatting you up, letting you in on a secret government deal where you can buy duty-free jewelry at a discount. If you follow him to the jewelry store (even just to take a look), you will be pressured into buying. The jewelry is obviously much cheaper than the listed price and this entire scheme is basically an elaborate money laundering plan.

This type of gem scam can happen anywhere throughout Thailand. Do not fall for it!

10 best bemples in Bangkok you absolutely cannot miss!10 best bemples in Bangkok you absolutely cannot miss!

And there you have it. 10 best temples in Bangkok you need to check out on your next Thailand trip! Hope this guide better prepares you for what to see and what to expect. If you enjoyed it, be sure to pin it for later and tune in next time for more Bangkok intel!

7 Comments

  1. February 2, 2020 / 12:45 am

    Wow! Very nice blog on the temple of Thailand and I just love the facts that you share with us. I love Thailand for its Buddhist temple. I don’t know the total number of the temples around Thailand, after reading the blog I came to know that the number around 40,000 and among 30,000 are still active – that’s amusing. I visited only Wat Phra Chetuphon temple. This temple is just so big and a big Buddha Maha Parinirvana laying statue was there, and this is Bangkok’s oldest temple. In your blog, you have described all other temples very nicely that I really never visited, and next visit I would love to visit all other temples. Thanks for the lovely blog, it will be helpful for Buddhist pilgrims also.

  2. February 5, 2020 / 5:42 am

    These temples are absolutely gorgeous! I’ve visited a few of them. I particularly loved Wat Ratchanaddaram because it was really quiet unlike at the other more popular temples. I also really like the Golden Mount, the view from the top is amazing.

  3. February 5, 2020 / 6:03 am

    Wat Arun and Wat Benchamabophit are simply amazing! I would love to take some photos there, especially at sunrise. Anyway, all the temples you mentioned look really beautiful.

  4. February 5, 2020 / 6:59 pm

    Wow, you photos are beautiful! Browsing through the photos, the Superman caught me off-guard and made me laugh. Thailand is on my list, but it will be a few years.

  5. February 5, 2020 / 7:06 pm

    Aww. I remember my first out of the country trip is Bangkok and we went temple hopping. This post is nostalgic. Stunning photos you have here, Jas!

  6. February 11, 2020 / 6:39 pm

    I’ve been to Bangkok four times and I think I may have only visited two of these temples on your list! I would gladly go back again and try to see more. I love the patterns of Wat Arun, and I don’t think I would’ve noticed those pillars on The Marble Temple if you hadn’t mentioned the Italian architecture. Also, it’s good to know about that gem scam! I haven’t experienced that one, but it’s always good to be on high alert while visiting places that attract a lot of foreign visitors.

  7. April 7, 2020 / 8:24 pm

    I actually missed Wat Traimit and Wat Suthat during my visit to Bangkok last year. I’ll sure visit them next time. Your photos are gorgeous, especially the ones with long exposure.

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