14 must-see temples in Bangkok in 2024

Tiempo de lectura: 8 minutos
The many incredible temples in Bangkok should definitely be on your list of things to see in the city.
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Calling all temple-hopping enthusiasts! Bangkok has over 400 temples scattered across the city! There’s no shortage of sacred spaces to explore. We’ve handpicked the 14 must-see temples in Bangkok for you. From the iconic Emerald Buddha to a hidden gem near Khao San Road to the holiest of the holy, Wat Phra Kaew.

But what’s a wat, we hear you ask? It’s the local word for a Thai Buddhist monastery or temple, and Bangkok is full of ‘em! When visiting these holy houses, remember two golden words: dress code. The temple guards won’t hesitate to send you packing if you show up in a revealing top, shorts and flip-flops!

So, grab your camera, put on your most comfortable shoes and let’s get temple-hopping!

1. Wat Phra Kaew - a golden palace in the heart of Bangkok

Wat Phra Kaew is one of the most impressive temples in Bangkok.

The first stop on our tour of the top temples in Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaew, the holiest temple in the city. You’ll find this wat within the grounds of the Grand Palace. It’s in the heart of Bangkok and it couldn’t be easier to get there by bus.  

The architectural masterpiece houses the Emerald Buddha, a tiny yet powerful statue. This diminutive figurine has long been revered for its spiritual power. The 66-cm effigy sits cross-legged atop a 9-metre pedestal so that it’s always elevated above visitors’ heads.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this green icon is made of emerald. It is, in fact, carved out of a single block of the semi-precious stone, jasper. “Emerald” refers to the Buddha’s startling colour.

2. Wat Arun - one of the temples in Bangkok that you can ascend

Wat Arun is one of the few temples in Bangkok that you can ascend.

Next up is Wat Arun, named after the Indian god of dawn. This temple will have you wondering whether you’ve stepped into a fairy tale.

Wat Arun is one of the most attractive temples in Bangkok, with its intricate design, shimmering spires and riverside setting. If you can drag yourself out of bed, we recommend going at dawn when the first rays of sunlight create a magical aura around the temple.

Now, try to climb up most temples in Bangkok, and you’ll find yourself thrown in a Thai jail quicker than you can say same same, but different. But at Wat Arun, climbing to the top is not only allowed, it’s encouraged! Don’t trip up on the steep stairs leading to the top, and you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the Chao Phraya River.

3. Wat Saket - one of the most striking temples in Bangkok

Wat Arun is also known as the Golden Mount and it sits on a a hill.

Ready for another wat-based workout? Then head to Wat Saket, also known as the Golden Mount. Limber up your leg muscles in preparation for the 300 steps to the top of the man-made hill this temple was built on. The views are top-notch.

The temple’s main feature is its 58-metre-high gleaming golden chedi. Venture inside, and you’ll find murals that depict scenes of Buddhist hell.

Wat Saket translates as “wash hair”. Wat’s all that about? When King Rama I returned from war, he used to stop off at this very temple. He would take a bath, wash his hair and get himself looking sharp before his triumphant return to the city.

4. Wat Pho - see a relaxed golden Buddha

Wat Pho is also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Ever wondered what Buddha would look like taking a nap? At Wat Pho, you’ll be able to say “What ho!” to a massive, gold-leaf covered reclining Buddha. You won’t be able to miss this mellow fellow as he is a gargantuan 46 metres long and 15 metres high!

And while you’re there, don’t forget to treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage at the birthplace of this ancient healing art.

5. Wat Benchamabophit - one of the grandest temples in Bangkok

Wat Benchamabophit is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok.

Wat Benchamabophit, or the Marble Temple, is the epitome of elegance. It’s one of the most photographed temples in Bangkok, and when you get there, you’ll see why.

The Marble Temple has an East meets West feel, which is unusual for a Thai temple. It effortlessly combines exotic curved rooves and an abundance of Buddha statues with pristine white Italian marble and European-inspired stained-glass windows. In fact, this temple is so good-looking that its image is reproduced on the back of the Thai 5B coin!

6. Wat Intharawihan - a genuinely impressive giant Buddha

Wat Intharawihan has one of the tallest standing Buddha statues in the world.

Wat Intharawihan is home to one of the tallest standing Buddha statues in the world. It’s a whopping 32 metres high! You have to see it to believe it.

Construction began on this towering titan in 1867, when King Mongkut (Rama IV) reigned. The golden giant took 60 years to build and was finally ready to survey the city in 1927.

Don’t forget your camera! This is one Buddha you’ll want your photo taken with.

7. Wat Traimit - marvel at the world's largest solid gold statue

Learn the incredible history of the world's largest solid gold statue at Wat Traimit.

If bling is your thing, then Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) is for you. Say hello to the world’s largest solid gold statue! This bad boy weighs in at 3 metres tall and weighs a colossal 5.5-tonnes.

Its immeasurable value was almost overlooked. For over 200 years, the statue’s golden sheen was covered with a layer of stucco. While it was being relocated in 1955, some plaster chipped off. The glittering gold interior, as well as the Buddha’s true value, was revealed.

Wat Traimit also houses an informative museum, which showcases the history of the Golden Buddha and Bangkok’s Chinatown.

8. Wat Suthat - home to Bangkok's iconic Giant Swing

Wat Suthat is next to Bangkok's famous Giant Swing.

Wat Suthat is one of the oldest and biggest temples in Bangkok. It’s famous for its towering Giant Swing, where history and adrenaline collide.

The supercolossal swing was once used in a heart-stopping Brahmin ceremony. Groups of brave (some may say overly so!) volunteers would use the poles to swing themselves as high as possible. The goal was to reach a bag of gold coins hanging 15 metres above the ground. The ceremony was discontinued in 1935 after several people died attempting the foolhardy feat.

9. Wat Ratchanatdaram - one of the less-visited temples in Bangkok

Wat Ratchanatdaram is one of the more overlooked temples in Bangkok.

Wat Ratchanatdaram is a temple that looks like it was plucked straight out of a steampunk novel. This quirky architectural gem is also known as Loha Prasat, or the Metal Castle.

The wat was built in the 19th century, during the reign of King Rama III. It has 37 metal spires which represent the 37 virtues of enlightenment. Architecture buffs and spiritual seekers alike will love it.

Wat Ratchanatdaram is one of the most underappreciated temples in Bangkok. So, if you’re looking for freedom from the maddening crowds and glorious tourist-free temple selfies, this could be the one for you!

10. Sri Mahamariamman Temple - Bangkok's most important Hindu temple

Sri Mahamariamman Temple. is one of the most important Hindu temples in Bangkok.

Switching gears, let’s venture towards the incense-wafting aromas of Sri Mahamariamman Temple. This is one of the oldest and most significant Hindu temples in Bangkok. The colourful sanctuary is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, the deity of rain and fertility.

The vibrant Hindu temple draws devotees and curious travellers alike. They flock here to admire the Dravidian-style architecture. Another highlight is the monumental gopuram. This towering gateway is adorned with vividly painted deities and mythical creatures.

11. Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit - a spiritual centre in the city

Wat Mahathat is home to the oldest institute for monks in Thailand.

Wat Mahathat is not just any old temple; it’s a spiritual university. This centre for Buddhist studies was founded in the 18th century, during the reign of King Rama I.

Wat Mahathat is home to the oldest institute for monks in Thailand. It’s hotspot for those eager to dive deep into the teachings of Buddhism.

Combine seeing this large and busy temple with a visit to Bangkok’s Grand Palace nearby.  

12. Wat Kalayanamit - hear the biggest bell in Thailand ring for good luck

Uou'll find an enormous, seated Buddha statue at Wat Kalayanamit,

Size matters at Wat Kalayanamit, where you’ll find an enormous, seated Buddha statue. It’ll will make you feel like an ant in comparison!

It’s the largest sitting Buddha in Bangkok, at 16 metres high and 11 metres wide. Superlatives abound as this wat is also home to Thailand’s biggest bell. If you hear it ring three times, it’s good luck!

13. Wat Chana Songkhram - experience Bangkok's tranquil side

See how monks live at Wat Chana Songkhram.

Wat Chana Songkhram is tucked away near the legendary backpacker area: Khao San Road. This small yet charming temple offers a peaceful oasis amidst the chaos.

Explore the temple’s ruins, catch a glimpse of daily life for local monks and experience the tranquility that can still be found in Bangkok.

14. Wat Mangkon Kamalawat - the most significant of the Chinese temples in Bangkok

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is one of the most important Chinese temples in Bangkok.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, in the bustling heart of Chinatown, is the most important Chinese temple in Bangkok.

Step inside this mesmerizing sanctuary, and you’ll be greeted by the rich aroma of incense, the hypnotic chants of monks and the vivid hues of traditional Chinese lanterns. Don’t miss the chance to experience this unique blend of Thai and Chinese spirituality!

Wat to see in Bangkok in 2024

And there you have it, folks! Our whirlwind tour of 14 must-see temples in Bangkok has come to an end. We hope this adventure has left you inspired, enlightened and excited to start exploring Bangkok and its spiritual side. Until next time, happy temple-hopping!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The best time to visit the temples in Bangkok is during the cool and dry season, which typically runs from November to February. The weather is more pleasant during these months, making temple-hopping a more enjoyable experience. However, these are also the busiest months, so you’ll find that you’ll be amongst more fellow temple hoppers during this season.

Yes, you can generally take photographs inside the temples in Bangkok. However, be respectful of the sacred spaces and the people praying or meditating. In some cases, specific areas or temples may have restrictions on photography, so always look for signs or ask the temple staff if you’re unsure.

While many temples in Bangkok are free to enter, some of the more popular and famous ones, such as Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho, do have entrance fees. These fees usually range from 50 to 500 THB (approximately €1.30 to €13) per person (at the time of writing).

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