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Exploring Bangkok, Thailand: A Guide to Temple Hopping

Article by GVI


Posted: February 20, 2023

Bangkok, Thailand is renowned for its many incredible temples, so it’s no surprise that temple hopping has become a popular pastime. Exploring Bangkok’s rich culture and history by visiting its temples can be an amazing and memorable experience, if you know how to go about it. Here is a guide to temple hopping in Bangkok, providing examples of what to bring, the most popular temple destinations and what to see and do. Read on to find out all you need about planning and enjoying an exciting temple-hopping adventure in Bangkok!

Getting to Know the Lay of the Land

Before embarking on your temple-hopping journey, get familiar with the streets of Bangkok and know where you can go to hop from one temple to the next. The best way to do this is to get your hands on a printed or digital map of Bangkok showing the temples, and their locations. This will help you stay oriented as you make your way through the city, as well as let you know which temples are near each other for a more efficient tour of the city’s temples.

What to Pack for a Temple Hopping Adventure

Make sure you come prepared by packing the right items. As the climate in Bangkok can be hot and humid, wear light clothing such as shorts or light pants and a T-shirt or tank top. A hat is also a good idea to protect your face and head from the sun. Also bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sunblock, sunglasses, and a camera for capturing the sights.

A Map of Popular Temples in Bangkok

Get an idea of what temples you’d like to visit during your temple-hopping adventure by browsing maps of popular temples in Bangkok. Many of the temples are located in or near the city centre and span across several neighbourhoods surrounding the main attractions of the city. Look for famous landmarks like Wat Mahathat, Wat Arun, Wat Lokaya Sutha, Wat Mongkon and others. Be sure to also check out temples located further away from the city centre like Wat Saket, Wat Saket Ratchabophit, and Wat Rajtabopit.

Wat Pho: A Rich History and Culture to Explore

Wat Pho has become one of the most popular temples to visit in Bangkok due to its vibrant and interesting history. Built in the 15th century it was formerly known as Wat Photaram and is a perfect place for learning about traditional Thai culture. The temple houses multiple complexes with several beautiful Buddhist sculptures, distinct pagodas and four impressive prangs (reliquary towers). This temple is also home to the 15-metre golden reclining Buddha statue, which is the largest in Thailand.

Wat Arun: The Temple of Dawn

Located right next to Wat Pho is Wat Arun, known as “The Temple Of Dawn”. It was built in the 17th century by King Taksin and later renovated by King Rama II. This impressive temple stands over 80 metres tall and features four different towers each decorated with intricate patterns made from pieces of porcelain. Climb up the steep steps of the central tower to reach the peak with its incredible view of Bangkok.

Wat Saket: The Golden Mountain Temple

Wat Saket is also known as “The Golden Mountain Temple” as it stands atop a tall man-made hill made from an ancient drainage project. Built in 1782 by King Rama I, this beautiful hilltop temple is considered one of the oldest surviving temples in Bangkok. Visit this temple for its unique structure and for the opportunity to climb up and down a 300-step stairway located on either side of the mountain.

Golden Mountain temple entrance scenery. Taken in Bangkok, Thailand. Statue between fog and the garden

Other Must-See Temples in Bangkok

Aside from these popular temples, there are many beautiful temples that are worth seeing while temple hopping around Bangkok. Some other noteworthy ones are Wat Phra Kaew, Loha Prasat, Wat Benchamabophit, Wat Suthat, Vimanmek Mansion, Erawan Shrine and Wat Ratchanaddaram. Each one stands out for its unique architectural style and history.

Tips for Navigating the Streets of Bangkok

Travelling through Bangkok can be intimidating if you don’t know your way around, so follow these tips to make navigation much easier. Firstly, plan ahead by doing some research on how to get from one place to another by bus or metro. Make sure you have a good map with up-to-date information on it. Consider taking part in a guided tour if available for a more convenient experience where you learn about all the amazing sights along the way.

Where to Find Food and Refreshments Nearby

When travelling around the city during your excursion it’s important to keep hydrated and stock up on snacks for energy. Luckily there are plenty of convenience stores scattered throughout Bangkok where you can buy bottled water, snacks and other refreshments. For a more substantial meal check out popular local restaurants like Som Tam Nua or Kuk Nam Pad Thai that offer authentic Thai cuisine.

Taking Care When Visiting Temples in Bangkok

When visiting temples in Bangkok please keep in mind that they are places of worship and not just tourist attractions. No matter the religion of the people who visit the temple, respect must be given to those who observe it faithfully out of reverence for their beliefs. Be respectful of any customs or rules in each temple, such as taking off your shoes or covering your shoulders or head, as well as being mindful of your camera flash not disrupting any ceremonies happening inside.

Ideas for Souvenirs and Gifts from Your Trip

When temple hopping keep an eye out for souvenirs and gifts such as postcards or small trinkets depicting Buddha images or other religious symbols found at each temple. You may also find traditional fabric patterns or handcrafted jewellery that reflects Buddhist culture around the temples in Thailand. Alternatively, look for souvenir items like Buddha figurines, incense holders or even prayer flags that make great gifts for friends or family once you’ve returned home.

Volunteering in Thailand is a great way to make a positive impact and immerse yourself in Thai culture. GVI offers a range of internship and volunteer programs in Phang Nga and Chiang Mai. Choose from elephant conservation, marine conservation, teaching, and more. Join GVI and make a difference while experiencing the beauty of Thailand.

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