Thailand has more than a thousand temples, and this is because Buddhism is the country's primary belief system, so temples abound throughout Thailand. Even though tourists flock to these places for the photo ops and incredible scenery, many Thais use these structures daily. Thai temples have long attracted the attention of tourists from around the world, who often design their temple tours to see all of them as they travel across Thailand. So here's a list of some of the most popular and oldest temples in the country that are worth a visit.
10 Wat Arun Temple
Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn, sits atop a bluff above the Mae Nam Chao Phraya. Before it was relocated to its current location, the reclining Buddha that now calls Wat Pho home lived here. In this location, tourists can climb one of the temple's five towers to view the surrounding landscape better. There are colorful porcelain pieces and ceramic tiles on each prang or tower. It is a great place to eat while admiring one of Thailand's most famous temples because it's located right on the waterfront. Also, according to the locals, this temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Aruna.
9 Wat Pho Temple
In Bangkok, Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the city's largest and oldest temple. Tourists are recommended to explore Wat Pho's grounds to see the stupas, which are all towering and glistening with color after being awed by its enormous Buddha. The grounds of this temple are, in fact, a home to a traditional Thai massage school, so visitors can unwind and relax after a long day of exploring Wat Pho and its surroundings.
8 Wat Suthat Temple
Wat Suthat is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Old City that is most famous for the red Giant Swing that towers above the entrance to the temple. The original construction of the Giant Swing dates back to 1784, making it a popular tourist attraction, especially to tourists going to the oldest temples in the country.
7 Wat Phra Sri Sanphet Ruins
Ayutthaya is a must-see day trip from Bangkok and worth the time. The city is home to some of Thailand's most spectacular temples, with the magnificent Wat Phra Sri Sanphet being perhaps the most impressive of them all. In Ayutthaya, this monastery is considered one of the most important temples in the city. It is located within the grounds of the royal palace. Several large, bell-shaped pagodas sit at the heart of the ruins on a rectangular platform, one of the site's most striking and well-known features. These three pagodas, which are believed to have served as the royal residences during the Ayutthaya period, are surrounded by ruins of minor importance.
6 Wat Pha Sorn Kaew Temple
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, also known as the temple on a High Glass Cliff, is located north of Bangkok. Due to its remote location, this temple is typically not included in the low-budget travel itineraries that many travelers follow. However, visitors still should visit this temple, one of Thailand's most impressive structures. This temple's construction began in 2004, but it was only completed and opened to the public last year. Today, visitors will see the main pagoda and surrounding buildings decorated with millions of colorful mosaic tiles.
5 Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is located in the northern region of Thailand, just outside the city's main gates. Every day, crowds of people flock to this temple, so it is recommended for tourists to arrive early to avoid some of the masses. Also, people must first climb a spiraling, winding road and then descend a flight of stairs before arriving at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep in the end. But all in all, this is a fantastic experience, so visiting this temple is a must.
4 Wat Phra Kaew Temple
Thailand's most famous and revered temple is the Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald Temple. The Emerald Buddha statue is housed in this temple, which is located inside the grounds of the Grand Palace. A bright green, single piece of jade is used to make the statue even though it bears the label "emerald." This temple is widely recognized as one of Thailand's most important temples. It is also home to a replica of Angkor Wat, which is on display here. Suppose visitors want someone to explain everything they will see on these historic grounds, they can hire a guide or download an audio guide. The dress code is relatively strict; no shorts, sandals, or revealing attire are permitted on the premises; otherwise, they may be denied entry outright.
3 Wat Mahathat Temple
Located barely an hour north of Bangkok in the city of Ayutthaya, another temple called Wat Mahathat is most notable for its entanglement of branches around which the Buddha's headrests. It is also a popular tourist attraction because the Buddha's head is reminiscent of the symbol of the Bodhi tree, under which Siddartha Gautama attained enlightenment in the first century AD.
2 Phanom Rung Historical Park/Temple
Thais and even tourists can visit Phanom Rung Historical Park, one of the few Khmer architecture sites outside Cambodia. The stairway going up to this Buddhist shrine's laterite and sandstone building is impressive. Also, according to monks, this temple was constructed in the 17th century, during the time of the Buddha.
1 Wat Rong Seua Ten Temple
Just outside the city, this wat is one of the most recent and visually spectacular structures in Chiang Rai and one of the most often visited. Inside, carved Buddha sculptures, mosaic-like blue paintings, and murals add to the enchanting atmosphere. A large white Buddha statue greets tourists as they enter.