20 Must-See Temples in Bangkok

Bangkok's Most Important Temples and Wats

Bangkok's temples are a unique part of the capital's heart and soul. A visit here would not be complete without visiting at least a couple of them. The architecture is awe-inspiring and the glittering decoration like no other. Imagine thousands of pieces of coloured glass and pottery adorned with intricate structures gilded in glaring gold – you're indeed in the City of Angels!

The best time to visit most temples is in the early morning. It's cooler and generally less crowded. The temples are not just tourist attractions but also play an important part in Buddhist traditions. Monks live in the temple complexes, wake up around 4am, attend to prayers and duties, and then collect food and necessities from ordinary people on the streets. If you're up very early in Bangkok you will see monks walking around, dressed in saffron-coloured robes. This daily alms ritual (called tak baht) takes place all over Thailand and is part of the Buddhist philosophy of giving and making merit to attain a better life beyond this one.

Thai temples are sacred places so you must dress appropriately. No shorts or revealing tops, otherwise you won't be allowed in. This applies particularly to Wat Phra Kaew inside the Grand Palace.

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Most Popular Temples

10 Must See Temples

There are more than 400 disseminated in Bangkok and everyone rushes to three most famous ones: Wat Pra Kaew, Wat Arun Read More...

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

The spire (prang) of Wat Arun on the bank of Chao Phraya River is one of Bangkok's world-famous landmarks. It sits on Read More...

Wat Pra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

Temple of Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, is the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It enshrines a highly Read More...

Temples in Bangkok

Wat Pathum Wanaram

At the time of founding, this area was accessible only by khlong (canal) and was still surrounded by rice fields. Built by King Mongkut in 1857, Wat Pathum Wanaram was the nearest place of worship to his Sa Pathum Palace.

Take a look at the carvings on the crematorium that demonstrate rare examples of ancient craftsmanship featuring ornate stencils and lacquered sculptures. Pathum Wanaram is the perfect escape for some cultural refreshment after shopping in nearby Siam Paragon or CentralWorld. 

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 9am to 5pm
  • Location: 969 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Pathum Wan District, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 251 6469
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Wat Bowon Niwet

On top of the obvious religious significance, Wat Bowon Niwet has added sacredness due to long-standing connections with the Thai royal court, making it especially important to the Thais. Located on Bangkok's Rattanakosin Island, just within the old city walls on Phra Sumen Road, it was founded in 1826 by HRH Prince Maha Sakdipolsep, a son of King Rama III. The complex consists of elaborately carved doorway arches and windows in gilded stucco. The gable is decorated with glazed ceramics, indicating strong Chinese architectural influences. There are several rare and much revered Buddha statues, a large chedi covered in gold tiles, surrounded by four small golden prangs.

Its regal history dates back to the first abbot in 1836. This was none other than Prince Bhikku Mongkut, who later acceded the throne to become King Rama IV. Before this, he spent 27 years in the priesthood and 14 as abbot of Wat Bowon, founding Thailand's second Buddhist university, Mahamakut University, within the temple grounds. King Rama VI, King Rama VII and HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej were also ordained here, making this a major temple of patronage for the Chakri Dynasty.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
  • Location: 248 Phra Sumen Rd, Wat Bowon Niwet, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 629 5854
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Wat Chana Songkhram

Proof that the sacred can survive amid the profane is Wat Chana Songkhram. Its location in the backpacker enclave Banglamphu, close to Khao San Road and mildly less frenetic Soi Rambuttri, belies both the ancient heritage and the tranquillity of this small temple.

Its origins date back to the Ayutthaya period, but it was restored in 1787, during the reign of Rama I. This was after the famous victory at the battle of 9 armies, which explains the name –  Wat Chana Songkhram Ratchaworawihan translates as 'victory in war'.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
  • Location: Chakrabongse Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 281 9396
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Wat Intharawihan

A soaring, 32-metre-high standing Buddha is what defines Wat Intharawihan, which borders Wisut Kasat Road at the northern edge of Banglamphu. Known as the Luangpor Toh, the building of this statue, began in 1867 during the reign of King Rama IV. Decorated in glass mosaics and 24-carat gold, it took over 60 years to complete.

The prayer room was built towards the end of the Ayutthaya period and has several interesting Buddha images, elevated murals on the walls and lavishly gilded window shutters. Outside are unusually carved stones and, tucked away in an alcove, there's a lifelike model of Luang Phaw Toh, a famous monk. In the small museum are old Buddha images and various paintings.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 6am to 6pm
  • Location: 114 Wisut Kasat Road, Banglamphu, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 282 3173
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Wat Kalayanamit

Despite dominating the western bank of the Chao Phraya River with its giant temple structure, Wat Kalayanamit is often overlooked by tourists, city guides, and even locals. The nearby Wat Arun is much more famous and acts as a magnet, drawing the crowds away from some of the other nearby Thonburi attractions and temples. If you want a more tranquil, less touristy alternative, head to Wat Kalayanamit, a temple particularly famous for its enormous, seated golden Buddha inside the main building. 

Getting to Wat Kalayanamit in Thonburi is easy. In fact, it even has its own pier. Take a ferry there from the opposite side at Ratchinee Pier or hop on one of the many the Chao Phraya express boats that make their way up and down the river every day and ask for "Wat Kalaya-namit".

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
  • Location: New Arun Amarin Rd, Wat Kanlaya, Thon Buri, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
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Wat Rakhang Khositaram

An ancient temple located in Thonburi next to the Chao Phraya River, Wat Rakhang Khositaram was originally built in the Ayutthaya period. It earned its name – meaning temple bell – during the reign of King Rama I when a bell was found in the temple compound. Later, King Rama II had this moved to Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), sending 5 new ones in its place. These can be found in the pretty hor rakhang, or bell tower, which is built in the 4-gable style of Ayutthaya and early Rattanokosin periods and located in the corner of the temple compound.

Not far from this is an elegant ho trai, or library, considered an outstanding example of Thai architecture. Once the residence of King Rama I before his ascendance to the throne, its 3 adjoining buildings today function as a small museum, housing beautiful scriptures stored in lacquer and guilt cabinets.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 7pm
  • Location: 250 Arun Amarin Rd, Siriraj, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
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Wat Ratchabophit

Both the wiharn (prayer hall) and ubosot (ordination hall) in Wat Ratchabophit have typically Thai exteriors. The temple buildings are decorated in hand-painted glazed Thai-style ceramics and elaborate, gold-gilded door and window frames, but European-style interiors similar to that of a gothic cathedral.

The temple contains a well-known, gold-gilded Buddha image in the meditation posture, Phra Buddha Ankhiros, and rests on a base in which the ashes of Rama VII are kept. An impressive chedi modelled after the famous Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakhon Pathom province contains relics of Lord Buddha, while the enclosure around it contains many Buddha images in varying postures. There is also a royal cemetery with monuments containing the ashes of the Queen, concubines, sons and daughters of King Rama V, and various other members of the Royal Family.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 6am to 6pm
  • Location: 2 Fuang Nakhon Road Phranakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 222 3930
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Wat Ratchapradit

Located in Rattanakosin not far from the Grand Palace and Wat Ratchabophit, the diminutive and yet striking Wat Ratchapradit dates back to the late-19th Century, belonging to the Thammayut Nikai Buddhist sect. King Rama IV had it built on a former coffee plantation.

The central feature is a richly decorated prayer room in grey and white marble tiles and carved wood. The gateways and windows are adorned with intricate stucco crowns, the doors and window frames with Chinese pearl. The ceiling of the room is a deep red with patterns of gold gilded rosettes, while murals of royal ceremonies grace the walls. Inside is a beautiful altar containing the ashes of King Rama IV, on top of which is a replica of Phra Buddha Sihing. There are also 2 Khmer-influenced prangs, one of which has faces clearly reminiscent of Cambodia's Angkor Thom temple.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 6pm
  • Location: 2 Saranrom Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
  • Tel: +66 (0)2 622 2076
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Wat Suwannaram

Known for its wonderful original murals, Wat Suwannaram is a little-known and rarely-visited temple in Thonburi, not far from the Royal Barges Museum. It was built during the reign of King Taksin, during the Ayutthaya period, and briefly became an execution site for Burmese prisoners. Separate restorations during both King Rama I's and King Rama III's reigns gave it its current name and design, and it went on to serve as the Royal cremation ground for members of the royal family and high-ranking officers until the reign of King Rama V.

The temple's real draw is the collection of original, early-19th-century murals by famous historic artists Thong Yu and Pae Khong, which although decaying and in need of restoration, are exquisite. They tell the story of Lord Buddha and are considered by experts to be among Thailand's most beautiful. There's also a Buddha image from the Sukothai period. Other features in the temple complex include a wihan, or prayer hall, built during King Rama V's reign.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
  • Location: 33 Charan Sanit Wong Road Soi 32, Siri Rat Subdistrict, Bangkok Noi District, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
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Wat Thepthidaram

Originally called Wat Ban Phraakrai Suanluang, this temple was built between 1836 and 1839 on order of King Rama III. A gift for HRH Prince Apsornsudathep, its architecture is characteristic of the period, especially the ordination hall, with its strong Chinese features such as a gable decorated with glazed ceramics. Inside are some impressive murals and the temple's main Buddha image, Luang Phor Khao or Phra Buddha Devavilasa.

The prayer hall exhibits a similar style and contains images of 43 enlightened female disciples cast in metal. There are also 4 tall prangs representing the 4 Chinese deities

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
  • Location: 70 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
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