Buddhist Temples in Bangkok
About 90% of the Thai population claim Buddhism, which is more a philosophy or way of life than a religion as practiced in the western world. Neighborhood Buddhist temples tend to be community centers.
Temples in Thailand tend to be ornate with green and orange roof tiles, gold gilt and mirrored mosaics. Chedis or stupas tend to dominate the grounds of many wats. Most temples will have a dominant Buddha image, usually brass or bronze, and a cluster of smaller statues of varying design from standing to seated to reclining.
Thai Temples also tend to be quiet and peaceful, and can be a welcome respite from the heat, noise and activity of Bangkok streets. Thai wats are also a good place to meet "regular" Thai people.
Always removew shoes before entering a temple. Shorts are not really appropriate for temple visits, especially for women. Women should also wear tops with sleeves that cover their shoulders. Women should never touch a monk or his robes. If she wishes to hand him something directly, place it on a table and let him pick it up.
Always ask, whether by word or gesture, before taking photographs. Speak quietly. Don't expect a "wai" from a monk since they only show "respect" to the Buddha.
Wat Phra Kaeo
The famous wat was ordered built along with the Grand Palace. It houses the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, the famous Emerald Buddha. HM participates in three ceremonies each year to change the season costume made of gold. The Buddha is Lanna style seated in a position of meditation. King Rama I brought the image to Thailand in 1778.
Temple of Dawn and the full name is Wat Arunratchawararam and named after Aruna, the Indian god of dawn. Located on the west bank of the Chao Phaya River, the Khmer style temple dates to the 17th century. It once served as the palace for HM Taksin, the Great and home of the Emerald Buddha.
Wat Phrachetuphon also called the Temple of the Reclining Buddha stands across the river from Wat Arun. This oldest and largest temple in Bangkok was originally built in the Ayuttuya period. King Rama I ordered the temple restored in 1781. Another major restoration which 17 years was ordered by King Rama III. Besides the famous and largest reclining Buddha, also built during the reign of King Rama III, Wat Pho has the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.
Wat Pho is also famous for teaching Traditional Thai medicine. Most notable may be Thai traditional massage. The traditional massage school meets afternoons at the east end of the grounds.
Wat Suthat Thepwararam
With murals considered to be the most beautiful of the Rattanakosin era, Wat Suthat Thepwararam is one of Thailand's most important. It features Phra Sri Sakyamuni, a Buddha image from 14th century Sukothai. Started by King Rama I, the temple was eventually completed 27 years later under the reign of King Rama III.