10 Temples You Need to Visit in Thailand

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Wat Pho - Temples in Thailand

Thailand is known for an array of tourist activities, from exploring the amazing beaches and enjoying the Thai cuisine to seeing floating markets in boats and visiting the bridge on the River Kwai. During your trip to this culturally rich country, make sure you also visit the temples in Thailand. They’re pretty hard to miss since the country has so many of them, yet it’s definitely worth including some in your trip itinerary.

The temples in Thailand are a key tourist activity you won’t want to miss. Amazingly, Thailand has over 40,000 Buddhist temples! Obviously, you won’t be able to see them all, so we created this list of 10 for you to consider visiting during your Thailand trip.

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Keaw - Temple in Thailand

Location: Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok

Closest Major City: Bangkok

Why Visit: You have to visit Wat Phra Kaew during a visit to the temples of Thailand! That’s because this temple is considered the country’s most sacred Buddhist temple. Wat Phra Kaew holds a deep green statue carved of jade that features the Emerald Buddha, which has great meaning as Thailand’s protector. This temple features amazing architecture, intricate carved decorations and stunning murals of the Ramayana.

Interesting Fact: Wat Phra Kaew has a higher status than most others as a royal temple of a special class.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun - Temple in Thailand

Location: Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai

Closest Major City: Chiang Rai

Why Visit: Also called The White Temple, Wat Rong Khun has an extraordinary look that resembles an ice carving. Made of white plaster and glass pieces, it features a white, sparkling exterior. This is a gorgeous temple with intricate carvings covering the multi-tiered roof, building and property.

Interesting Fact: While this privately owned temple does honor Buddha, Wat Rong Khun also features unique art that includes paintings of Harry Potter, Hello Kitty and other characters from popular culture.

Wat Arun (Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan)

Wat Arun Temple in Thailand

Location: Bangkok Yai District, Bangkok

Closest Major City: Bangkok

Why Visit: Wat Arun is one of the main temples and overall tourist attractions to see in Bangkok, with its sparkling, detailed exterior. It features an amazing tower in the middle with four small ones and other features around it. You can climb the main tower to get an amazing view of the city.

Interesting Fact: Also known as “Temple of Dawn,” this temple honors the Hindu god Aruna, who is associated with the rising sun. Fittingly, the temple shimmers in the morning light. Nonetheless, Wat Arun is beautiful at any time of day, including when it’s lit up at night to create a warm golden hue.

The Sanctuary of Truth

Sanctuary of Truth - Temples in Thailand

Location: Pattaya

Closest Major City: Pattaya

Why Visit: Surrounded by water, the site of The Sanctuary of Truth temple offers gorgeous natural views. Yet the temple itself provides enough interest with the intricate carvings cut into the completely wooden building.

Interesting Fact: The amazing carvings within and around the Sanctuary of Truth feature a combination of Buddhist and Hindu deities.

Wat Phumin

Wat Phumin - Temples in Thailand

Location: Nan

Closest Major City: Chiang Mai

Why Visit: While Wat Phumin is relatively simple compared to some temples, it impresses in its own way with its four entrances decorated with specific carvings for each direction. Inside, it features Thai Lue architecture, carvings and beautiful murals.

Interesting Fact: Wat Phumin has a cross-shaped ubosot, or special prayer room, with a history that goes back to the late 1500s.

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew

Wat Pha Sorn Kaew - Temples in Thailand

Temple Location: Phetchabun

Closest Major City: Phitsanulok

Why Visit: While out of the way, it’s worth visiting Wat Pha Sorn Kaew to see its amazing mosaics crafted from more than five million pieces, as well as the impressive statue of five Buddhas sitting in a line that’s a towering presence on the roof of one of the buildings.

Interesting Fact: Standing for “temple on a glass cliff,” Wat Pha Sorn Kaew sits on a mountain peak.

Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn)

Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho - Temples in Thailand

Temple Location: Pranakorn District, Bangkok

Closest Major City: Bangkok

Why Visit: Also called “Temple of the Reclining Buddha,” Wat Pho features a reclining Buddha statue that’s a whopping 46 m long, along with many other images of Buddha throughout the temple.

Interesting Fact: Wat Pho has the most Buddha images among all of the temples of Thailand! Also, it includes a Thai medicine school with Thai massage.

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit Temples in Thailand

Temple Location: Near Chinatown, Bangkok

Closest Major City: Bangkok

Why Visit: Wat Traimit features a gorgeous contrast of shimmering gold roofs and accents that pop against a white background. It acts as a museum, offering history and an interpretive center.

Interesting Fact: Inside, you’ll see the largest Buddha image made of solid gold throughout the globe. The statue is 15 feet high.

Wat Chedi Liam

Wat Chedi Liam - Thailand Temples

Location: Wiang Kum Kam, Chiang Mai

Closest Major City: Chiang Mai

Why Visit: A little off the beaten path this temple offers stunning architecture a little different than the others. Shaped similar to a pyramid this wat was built in 1288, eight years before Chiang Mai was founded. Each tier offer Buddha statues in various poses.

Interesting Fact: This chedi is a replica of the Mon style chedi at Wat Ku Kut in Lamphun, Thailand.

Wat Phra That Hariphunchai

Wat Phra That Hariphunchai - Temples in Thailand

Location: Lamphun

Closest Major City: Chiang Mai

Why Visit: This temple offers extraordinary history, with older parts mixed with newer ones that are more ornate. Separate parts of this attraction offer varying styles from different time periods and cultural influences.

Interesting Fact: Wat Phra That Hariphunchai was created in the 11th century, with one feature that supposedly dates back to the 9th century. It also features influences from when it was rebuilt in the 1400s and 1900s.

 

These are just 10 of the many temples in Thailand that are worth visiting.  Some of Thailand’s temples are still functioning while others have been turned into museums or are just for sight-seeing. Before visiting, be sure to check if the temple has rules, as some have dress codes and other guidelines. We hope you enjoy the history and culture of these temples during your exciting trip to Thailand!

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