Bangkok’s 5 Breathtaking Temples and Landmarks You Must See

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Bangkok is home to many magnificent Buddhist temples, and the majesty, grandeur and beauty of which are perhaps second to none. In this guide, we introduce you to the most gorgeous and awe-inspiring temples accessible within Bangkok.

If you’re planning a dedicated trip for these temples, why not stay at the Sala Rattanakosin boutique hotel? It’s within walking distance to many of the temples on this list, and is also one of our Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Bangkok!

Dress Codes
As these temples are sacred, religious spaces, please show respect by wearing modest clothing:

  • No exposure of shoulders.
  • No exposure of skin above the knees. (Wear long pants to be safe!)
  • Wear covered shoes. (Avoid wearing sandals or flip flops.)
  • Some temples require ladies to wear long skirts.

If somehow you’re dressed inappropriately for the visit, you may rent clothing for approximately 200 baht, which will be refunded to you when you return the clothes.

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Getting There
Taking a metered taxi is the best way to reach these temples as they’re quite far from the BTS stations. Since you’re visiting historical sites, why not take a Tuk Tuk for an authentic Thai experience? It’ll cost more than a cab, but the experience may be worth it!

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#1 – The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)

Grand Palace - Temple Bangkok

Wat Phra Kaew - Temple Bangkok

The Grand Palace is Bangkok’s most famous (and sacred) landmark. It is a 200-year-old wonder that is perhaps the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. It’s incredible architecture and intricate design continues to awe visitors and even locals to this very day – a testament to the brilliance and creativity of the Thai craftsmen who built this wonder. While no longer serving any governmental role today, the palace complex is still host to many official and religious ceremonies all year round.

The Grand Palace is a massive complex that also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) – perhaps the kingdom’s most important temple. It houses an image of Buddha immaculately sculpted from a single radiant block of Jade. So revered is this Buddha that only the King himself is permitted to change the robes of the Emerald Buddha, at least thrice a year. 

Visitor Tips:

  • Visit early! The Grand Palace complex closes early, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • Don’t believe anyone who says that The Grand Palace is closed (especially taxi and Tuk Tuk drivers)! It’s a SCAM! If you fall for it, they will bring you to other lesser temples nearby, and charge exorbitantly for it.
  • Visiting this site is rather expensive (500 baht per entry), but it grants access to both The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. 
  • Being Bangkok’s most sacred site, utmost respect and modesty are expected at all times. Wear modest clothing and visit the grounds with reverence and decorum.

Opening Hours: Daily, 8:30am to 3:30pm
Entrance Fee: 500 THB (15 USD)
Recommended Visit Duration: 60 to 90 mins

The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)
Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200

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#2 – Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)

Wat Pho - Temple Bangkok

Wat Pho - Temple Bangkok

Wat Pho’s claim to fame is the massive and awe-inspiring reclining Buddha. It is 15 meters tall, 46 meters across, and is brilliantly covered in pure gold. It is definitely a must-see for any traveller to Bangkok, and certainly a sight to behold. The affectionately named Temple of the Reclining Buddha also contains the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and is a massive complex in itself. 

Wat Pho is just 10 minutes away from the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and just outside the Grand Palace Complex. Do visit the Grand Palace first, and then take a scenic stroll through the palace grounds towards Wat Pho – it’s the best way to immerse yourself in Thailand’s most sacred site.

Visitor Tips:

  • Find time to enjoy a traditional Thai massage here! Wat Pho is the leading school for massage in Thailand, so your experience will be as authentic as it gets. Massage sessions begin at 260 baht, and we recommend making a booking unless you’re good with queueing.
  • Wat Pho has many good English-speaking guides (choose from inside the complex only), so feel free to ask questions and learn more about this fascinating temple.
  • Don’t just focus on the giant reclining Buddha! Take the time to explore the temple grounds and its other hallowed halls. They’re magnificent and worth exploring.
  • Shoes are not permitted in some areas within Wat Pho, so do take note.

Opening Hours: Daily, 8:00am to 6:00pm
Entrance Fee: 100 THB (3 USD)
Recommended Visit Duration: 45 to 60 mins

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
2 Sanamchai Road, Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200

#3 – The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit)

Wat Benchamabophit - Temple Bangkok

Wat Benchamabophit - Temple Bangkok

Wat Benchamabophit, or The Marble Temple, is considered Bangkok’s most beautiful and opulent temple. It is a stellar example of modern Thai architecture – brilliantly orange terraced roofs and dainty gold Chofahs at the tips highlight the magnificent columns and floors made of white marble. Not just any marble, but Carrara marble – the same legendary quality marble also used to build the Pantheon in Rome, and Michaelangelo’s David in Florence.

Built in 1899, it is a relatively modern temple. Its design certainly reflects more contemporary and western styles, but are uniquely rooted in classical Thai design sensitivities. Inside, the temple features 52 Buddha images in various styles (gestures and positions) like those from Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Dvaravati.

Unlike the temples featured earlier, this temple is still active and has several resident monks. Visit the temple in the early morning (6 to 7:30am) to witness the traditional Thai custom of townsfolk offering alms to the monks.

Visitor Tips:

  • The Marble Temple is less crowded and very clean.
  • Unlike the more famous and popular temples, The Marble Temple exudes a sense of serenity that’s more characteristic of a religious sanctuary than a tourist hot spot.
  • Beware of scammers attempting to sell you rare gemstones, however.

Opening Hours: Daily, 8:30am to 5:30pm
Entrance Fee: 20 THB (>1 USD)
Recommended Visit Duration: 30 to 45 mins

The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit)
69 Nakorn Pathom Road, Dusit, Bangkok 10300

#4 – Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun)

Wat Arun - Temple Bangkok

Wat Arun - Temple Bangkok

Built in 1782 and certainly older than Bangkok itself, this is the most striking and towering landmark along the Chao Phraya River in Thailand. At the crack of dawn, the sun’s rays bathe the temple in a pearly iridescence that’s almost surreal, hence it’s name, The Temple of Dawn. That said, it’s just as picturesque at Sunset, and comes alive at night thanks to well placed lights that transform it into a beacon for the bustle of energy and activity along the riverbank.

This is one of the highest grade first-class Royal Temples in Thailand (alongside Wat Pho and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). If you can brave the crazily steep climb up to its pinnacle, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the meandering Chao Phraya river, and of Bangkok, in all its majesty.

Wat Arun is located on the opposite bank of Wat Pho, and is still very accessible. Simply walk over to Pier Tha Tien and take a ferry to cross the river for just 3 baht. If you are coming from another location, hop a river boat from Saphan Taksin boat pier (Saphan Taksin BTS Station) and disembark at Pier Tha Tien.

Visitor Tips:

  • Despite the name, we think this temple looks great from afar at sunset. It’s a good idea too because you can easily segue into nighttime activities along the river under the glow of the temple – it’s a beautiful way to spend an evening.
  • If you’re staying at the Sala Rattanakosin boutique hotel, you’ll get a great view of this monument from your room window/balcony! 
  • If you wish to visit the temple itself, avoid the crowds by going very early in the morning. You’ll also see why it’s called the Temple of Dawn.

Opening Hours: Daily, 8:30am to 5:30pm
Entrance Fee: 100 THB (3 USD)
Recommended Visit Duration: 45 to 60 mins

Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun)
158 Wang Doem Rd, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Bangkok 10600

#5 – Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat - Temple Bangkok

Wat Suthat - Temple Bangkok

Wat Suthat is best known for it’s impressive interior. An engulfing chapel with a sweeping roof is the main highlight, with walls covered in magnificent hand-painted frescoes that depict the last 24 lives of Buddha. These murals employ perspective science, creating a sense of depth and realism rivalling even artists of the Renaissance. We daresay it’s the Sistine Chapel of the East, and the chapel of Wat Suthat indeed evokes that same sense of wonder.

It’s a peaceful and quiet temple and by far the least touristy of the temples on this list. Visiting Wat Suthat is sure to put you at peace instantly. It’s also an active place of worship with resident monks conducting prayers in the morning and afternoons. 

Visitor Tips:

  • As an active place of worship, you’ll get to witness many Thai Buddhist traditions as the resident monks go about their prayers.
  • Wat Suthat is perhaps more known for its ‘Giant Swing’ sculpture at the cloistered courtyard. However, we think that visiting the temple interior is a far superior experience.  

Opening Hours: Daily, 8:30am to 9:00pm
Entrance Fee: 20 THB (>1 USD)
Recommended Visit Duration: 30 to 45 mins

Wat Suthat
144 Bamrung Muang Road, Bangkok 10200

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