Bangkok, capital of Thailand and home to more than 400 wats (temples). With so many to choose from how to you decide which ones to visit? If your itinerary allows, four days in Bangkok should allow to see the five below. The following are all based in roughly the same area (around the Grand Palace and river) so they should be easy to navigate and hop from one to another.
The Grand Palace
An obvious choice to begin with, and probably THE busiest tourist attraction in Bangkok, but undeniably a great way to begin your temple exploration. We ignored the guide books (and regretted it), but if you can rise early and get there for opening. This way you’ll catch the first light and be able to move freely between the temples, without the bustling crowds.
Opening times: 08:30 – 15:30 | Entrance fee: 500 baht
Wat Phra Kaew Temple of the Emerald Buddha
This is inside the Grand Palace complex, and to tell the truth it took us a while to realise that we had already been inside! The crowds were quite overwhelming and add this to the scenario where you are always looking up at the beautiful buildings and jaw dropping architecture, it’s easy to see how you get pulled into temples with the crowd. When you go inside look for a smallish statue. Let your eyes adjust to the light, then see if you can spot him. I took no photo here as the monks were in prayer, however this photo below should give you an idea of the lunchtime crowds.
Opening times: 08:30 – 15:30 | Entrance fee: included in the Grand Palace fee
Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha
This is one of the more affordable temples and guess what, you get a free bottle of water with your entrance fee! Inside is the impressive 15m high 43m long Buddha image covered in gold leaf.
Opening times: 08:00 – 17:00 | Entrance fee: 100 baht
Wat Arun Temple of the Dawn
This is personally my favourite temple in Bangkok. Although scaffolding was up when we visited, we could still climb up a few levels to get a sense of it’s magnificence. The exterior is decorated in beautiful tiles and shells, and peaceful waterfront gardens offer riverside views. When the scaffolding is not up you can go to top level of temple to look out over the city. If I were to visit again I would do this at sunset.
Opening times: 08:30 – 19:30 | Entrance fee: 100 baht
Wat Saket The Golden Mount
If you’re in the old city area Wat Saket is hard to miss. Just look up! Built on top of a hill for all to see, there are 300 steps to climb to get to the top. But the view will be worth it. If you go during the day it can get very hot so take plenty of water, and there is a chilling area at the bottom.
Opening times: 09:00 – 17:00 | Entrance fee: 10 baht
Top temple tips:
- Most places will only take Thai Baht.
- Cover your shoulders and down to your knees, and wear comfortable footwear
- Avoid the “nice” scams when you exit the temples. Men may approach you offering directions to your next stop, chat to you about where you are from and help you glag down a tuk tuk. The tuk tuk will take you to a boat that is owned by one of their friends, offering river tours at extortionate prices.
- Bring water as it gets very hot
- Keep your belongings close