With exotic islands, lush jungles, and chaotic city streets, Thailand is a magnificent country that caters to all types of adventures. However, one of the most significant reasons to visit Thailand is to visit one of the many Buddhist temples scattered throughout the nation. The temples in Bangkok are some of the best in the nation.
Thailand is home to over 30,000 active temples, so you’ll be able to find one no matter what city you plan on visiting. That includes the bustling capital of Bangkok. Although many travelers use Bangkok as the jumping-off point for exploring the islands and countryside, it’s worth spending a few days visiting some of the city’s most beautiful temples.
There are over 400 temples in Bangkok alone. With different architectural styles and unique characteristics, each temple is worth checking out. Although narrowing down your list of which places to visit can be difficult, we’re here to help you plan your ideal itinerary. To help make the most of your journey, here is our list of the best temples to visit in Bangkok.
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels in Bangkok, check prices on Booking.com. We’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancellation policy.*
Best overall hotel in Bangkok – The Westin Grande Sukhumvit
What to Wear to Temples in Bangkok
If you’re planning to visit a temple in Bangkok, you’ll need to adhere to a certain dress code. This will likely be more conservative and modest compared to what you might normally wear in the city or at the beach. Since you are entering a sacred and religious site, you should make your best effort to be respectful of the local cultures and customs. Make sure to read our Thailand travel trips in advance.
As a general rule of thumb, everyone entering a temple will need to cover their knees and shoulders. Women should wear pants, skirts, or dresses that fall below the knee. I typically pack a cute pair of linen pants to change into like these. T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts are ideal, but covering your shoulders with a scarf or shawl is also acceptable. You can get a cheap, cute, lightweight shawl on Amazon here. Men can wear long trousers, shorts, and either a T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt.
Since shoes will be taken off before entering the temple, flip-flops and other casual footwear are usually okay. On the other hand, ripped jeans, tight and revealing clothing, tank tops, and other forms of beachwear is prohibited or frowned upon.
Don’t stress too much if you forget your modest clothing back at the hotel. Some temples will loan you a shawl or pair of pants for a small fee. You can also find neighboring shops that sell cover-ups and clothing specifically for this reason.
Best Temple Tours in Bangkok
If you’d like to see several temples in Bangkok in one day, consider going on a temple tour. There are also tours that hit several of the best things to do in Bangkok, including the best temples in Bangkok. Here are our top 5 tours in Bangkok.
- Bangkok Landmarks Day Tour including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho
- Bangkok City & Temples Tour
- Bangkok Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew Morning Tour
- Klook Exclusive Tour – Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Skip the line Combo Guided Tour
- Walking Temple Tour: Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun
1. Wat Pho
Built by King Rama I, Wat Pho should be one of the first stops on your Bangkok temple tour. It’s only one of six temples in Thailand that have earned the highest grade of first-class royal temples. Unlike other temples that portray Buddha in a sitting position, Wat Pho has a 150-foot-long reclining Buddha. That’s why this royal temple is often referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Besides being home to one of the largest Buddha statues in the world, Wat Pho also contains the biggest collection of Buddha images in the entire country. Visit the Phra Rabiang to see 400 of the 1,000 on-site statues originally purchased by King Rama I himself.
The temple has also made major contributions to Thai society. It’s considered to be the earliest documented site for public education in Thailand and serves as a school of traditional Thai medicine. Many people also believe that the temple was the original birthplace of Thai massage.
- Entry Fee: 200 baht
- Hours: Daily – 8 am – 6:30 pm
2. Wat Arun
Sitting on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is arguably one of the most picturesque temples in Bangkok. Whether it’s reflecting the early morning sun or illuminating gold lights at night, you can’t help but admire the beauty of this magnificent architectural masterpiece.
The main attraction of Wat Arun is the 282-foot-tall prang, which is adorned in colorful porcelain and decorated with colored glass and seashells. Towering over the city center, it’s easily one of the most iconic landmarks in Bangkok. You can also climb to the top of the spire, where you’ll have dramatic views of the river, Grand Palace, and even Wat Pho.
During your visit, you should also stop by the Ordination Hall, which sits at the foot of the central prang. Inside, you’ll see images of Buddha and painted murals covering the walls.
- Entry Fee: 50 baht
- Hours: Daily – 8 am – 5:30 pm
3. Wat Phra Kaew
To many Buddhists, Wat Phra Kaew – or Temple of the Emerald Buddha – is the most sacred temple in Thailand. It’s home to the Emerald Buddha, which is considered to be the main protector of the entire country.
This dark green statue is carved from a single piece of jade and only stands 26 inches tall. Despite its size, the Emerald Buddha has always been shrouded in mystery and legend. Some believe it was carved in India, while others think it was created after a bolt of lightning struck the temple and crafted a perfect image of Buddha. None of these theories can be confirmed, as no one is allowed to come close to the statue except the King and the Crowned Prince.
In addition to the main temple, Wat Phra Kaew contains over 100 different buildings. Other highlights include the gold-columned library, the model of Angkor Wat, and the twelve salas.
- Entry Fee: 500 baht
- Hours: Daily – 8:30 am – 3:30 pm
4. Wat Traimit
Wat Traimit is situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown. As you ascend the staircase leading up to the white and gold temple, you’ll feel the magnitude of what you’re about to see. Although the exterior of Wat Traimit is stunning, what lies inside will take your breath away.
The temple is home to the Golden Buddha, a solid gold statue that weighs over 5.5 tonnes. What’s truly amazing is that it was covered in stucco and colored glass for over 200 years until the plaster coating chipped in 1955, revealing the gold underneath. Due to its size and the purity of the gold, the Buddha is believed to be worth over $250 million dollars.
Wat Traimit also has an on-site museum with numerous artifacts and photographs about Chinatown.
- Entry Fee: 40 baht
- Hours: Daily 8 am – 5 pm
5. Wat Saket
With its gleaming gold roof and towering spires, Wat Saket is a sight to behold. Nicknamed the Golden Mount, this Buddhist temple is built on top of a steep hill looming over the city of Bangkok. To visit Wat Saket, you’ll need to ascend 300 steps to the top of the entrance.
As with most Buddhist temples, you’ll find the main prayer hall, an ordination hall, and even a library. However, Wat Saket also is known for its crematorium and cemetery. After a plague struck the country in the late 18th century, Wat Saket burned and buried over 60 thousand bodies. Many of the remains can be found in the cemetery, which is located at the base of the hill.
- Entry Fee: 50 baht
- Hours: Daily – 7:30 am – 7 pm
6. Wat Chakrawat
Home to several resident crocodiles, it’s easy to see why Wat Chakrawat is affectionately nicknamed the Crocodile Temple. In the heat of the day, you’ll find them basking in the sun at one of the two ponds located on the temple grounds. Legend has it that a one-eyed crocodile swam up from the river and hid under the monk’s house. Since then, the temple has taken in several different crocodiles as a way to honor the tradition.
Although the crocodiles are the main attraction, there are also some other prominent sites to see during your visit. Built in 1835, Wat Chakrawat is one of the largest communities of Buddhist monks, many of which are students. The temple is located just a stone’s throw away from Chinatown, which means it’s an easy visit if you’re exploring the nearby neighborhoods.
- Entry Fee: Free
- Hours: Daily – 8 am – 5 pm
7. Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan
Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan is one of the more unique temples to visit in Bangkok. It’s located in the heart of Bangkok, not far from the infamous Khaosan Road. The structure of the temple is vastly different from other temples in Thailand. It’s constructed with 37 black metal spires, each one symbolizing the 37 virtues to enlightenment.
Besides the Anuradhapura temple in Sri Lanka (after which it was modeled), the Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan is one of the only metal temples in the world. Thanks to the temple’s unique appearance and design, it is currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can visit the meditation hall on the ground floor or climb to the top of the spiral staircase for sweeping views of the temple grounds, Wat Saket, and even the Golden Mount.
- Entry Fee: 20 baht
- Hours: Daily – 8:30 am – 6 pm
8. Wat Suthat
This breathtaking temple dates back to the early 1800s, when it was originally commissioned by King Rama I. However, it wasn’t until the reign of King Rama III in 1847 that the temple was finally completed.
The most stunning features of Wat Suthat are the 28 Chinese-style pagodas that surround the main hall, each one representing the 28 Buddhas that were born. Inside the impressive hall, you’ll find a 25-foot tall Buddha sculpture, which is believed to be from the 13th century.
Besides the golden Buddha, much of Wat Suthat’s attraction lies in the small details: the bright red roofs, vibrantly painted murals, and hand-carved teak doors should not be missed during your visit. In addition, you’ll find over 150 Buddhist images lining the walls and entry gates of the main hall.
In front of the hall, you’ll see a giant red teak swing. This was used during ancient Brahmanic ceremonies: men would swing and attempt to grab a bag of gold coins with their teeth. Unfortunately, due to numerous fatalities over the years, using the swing has been prohibited since the mid-1930s.
- Entry Fee: 20 baht
- Hours: Daily 8:30 am – 9 pm
9. Wat Chana Songkhram
Due to its proximity to Khaosan Road, Wat Chana Songkhram is a popular temple that attracts tourists and locals alike. It may be hard to spot if you aren’t looking for it: its discreet appearance is tucked away behind a tree-lined courtyard.
The grounds were initially used as a monastery before being converted into a temple by King Rama II. Inside the main meditation room, you’ll find beautiful paintings and murals depicting the life of Buddha. In the center, you’ll find the main golden Buddha statue, along with many other smaller statues surrounding it.
As one of the hidden gems in Bangkok, Wat Chana Songkhram is far less crowded compared to many other temples and attractions in the city. If you’re looking for a tranquil hideout to learn more about Thai culture and Buddhism, make sure to spend an afternoon in the peaceful Wat Chana Songkhram.
- Entry Fee: Free
- Hours: Daily – 8 am – 5 pm
Make sure to read our What to Eat in Bangkok Guide to discover the best Thai foods to try.
10. Wat Benchamabophit
With striking marble pillars, bright red roofs, and shimmering gold rooms, the Wat Benchamabhopit is a jaw-dropping sight to behold. Completed in the early 1900s, it’s a symbol of modern Thai architecture that was strongly influenced by western design. Many of the marble used in the columns and flooring were imported directly from Italy – hence the temple’s nickname, the Marble Temple.
Surrounding the exterior of the ordination hall are 52 Buddha statues, each one sitting in a different position. In the main hall, you’ll find a statue of Buddha in the style of Sukhothai. The remains of King Rama V are also buried underneath the statue.
We recommend visiting the temple between 6 and 7 in the morning when you’ll see monks lining up to receive alms and donations. If you think the facade of the temple looks familiar, you’re right. The image of Wat Benchamabhopit can be found on the back of every 5-baht coin. This temple is also spelled Wat Benjamabophit frequently also.
- Entry Fee: 20 baht
- Hours: Daily 6 am – 7 am (to see the monks), 8 am – 5:30 pm
Thailand Travel Resources
- Booking.com if you’re traveling during high season, we suggest booking your room in advance.
- 12go.Asia for booking buses/trains/ferries around Thailand and Southeast Asia
- Viator.com for day trips to even trips across the country
- Safety Wing travel insurance, always have insurance when traveling abroad
If you are starting or ending your trip to Thailand, you’ll more than likely find yourself in Bangkok. Bangkok is our favorite city in the world and one everyone should explore. We recommend 3 days in Bangkok as the right amount of time. Our favorite area of Bangkok to stay in is Sukhumvit but check our where to stay in Bangkok guide to see what’s best for you.
Recommended Bangkok Hotels We’ve Personally Stayed At
- Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok Affordable Luxury on Sukhumvit Check Prices Booking.com
- Maduzi Hotel Boutique Hotel on Sukhumvit – Check Prices Booking.com
- Lub’d Hostel Budget Siam Hotel/Luxury Hostel Check Prices Booking.com
- W Bangkok Luxury Silom Hotel Check Prices Booking.com
- Amari Watergate Hotel Affordable Luxury Siam Hotel Check Prices Booking.com
Don’t forget your insurance! You never know when you’ll need it. We suggest getting travel insurance with Safety Wing. Which coverage includes medical, trip interruption, lost luggage, and more. Often rates are as low as $12 a week.