The temples in Thailand are one of the biggest draws for visitors traveling to Bangkok city. With over 400 Bangkok temples it can be pretty overwhelming trying to decide which ones to visit. This can be especially true if you are only in Thailand’s capital city for just a few days. During my three days in the city I visited as many temples as I could and it is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
Below are seven of the best Bangkok temples that you should visit during your time in the city.
‘Wat’ means temple in the Thai language.
Where is Bangkok Located?
Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and is located in central Thailand about 40km from the Gulf of Thailand. Use this Bangkok Map to find all the best temples in the area. You can click on the map and save it to your own device to use during your travels to Bangkok, Thailand.
Grand Palace Bangkok
The Grand Palace is one of Thailand’s most popular sights and is one of the best things to do in Bangkok. Formerly the residence of the Kings of Siam, The Grand Palace now welcomes thousands of visitors a year. Located inside the grounds is the Emerald Buddha temple which is one of Thailands most sacred sites.
The grounds of the Grand Palace is rather large and is made up of three different courtyards with over 100 different buildings. The main things to see within the Grand Palace are the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Phra Mondop and the Prasat Phra Debidorn building.
Once you have explored the interior complex you can make your way to the outer courtyard. Here you’ll find many more beautiful temples and structures. Plan on spending around 2-3 hours at the Grand Palace to thoroughly admire the traditional Thai architecture and stunning details.
The Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30AM to 3:30PM daily and costs 500 THB (~$15 USD) to enter. When you arrive you must enter through the foreign tourist/visitor entrance.
The Wat Pho temple is one of the oldest and largest in Bangkok and is also one of the most well known in Thailand. Often referred as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is located nearby the Grand Palace in the Phra Nakhon District. Inside the expansive temple complex you will find the largest collection of Buddha images including the famous 46 meter long reclining Buddha statue.
Plan on spending around 2-3 hours wandering around Wat Pho Bangkok. There are many things to see within the 80,000 square meter complex including chedis (stupas), viharas (halls), pavilions and gardens.
Wat Pho is open daily from 8AM to 6:30PM. The entrance fee is 200 THB ($6.50 USD) per person. To reach Wat Pho you can take the public ferry if you are on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya River. The closest ferry pier is called Tha Tien Terminal and it’s only a few minutes walk from there. If you take a local tuk tuk be sure to agree on a price before driving off. Also, be stern with the driver if he tries to take you the wrong way or tell you that the temple is closed.
Wat Arun, which translates to ‘Temple of Dawn’ is one of Bangkok’s most recognizable and visited temples. Locally known as Wat Chaeng, this temple is located along the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in the Bangkok Yai district. Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple decorated with colored glass and Chinese porcelain. The stunning details and beautiful colors make Wat Arun one of the most popular temples in Thailand. It’s largest spire reaches heights of 75 metes and can easily be spotted from across the river.
Wat Arun Ratchawararam is located across the river directly opposite to Wat Pho. The easiest way to reach the Wat Arun temple is to take the ferry from the Tha Tien terminal to the Wat Arun Ferry Pier. The short journey costs only 4THB ($0.13 USD) and takes about 5 minutes. Once you arrive on the other side of the river the walk to Wat Arun takes only a few minutes.
The entrance fee to Wat Arun is 50 THB ($1.65 USD) per person. The best time to go is early in the morning before the crowds. Wat Arun Bangkok is open daily from 8AM to 5:30PM and plan to spend around 1.5 – 2 hours here.
TIP: It is required to cover your shoulders and legs when entering any of the temples in Thailand. Many of the temples have sarong rentals if you aren’t prepared with proper attire.
Wat Khrua Wan Worawihan
Located only a few meters from Wat Arun is the stunning and unique Bangkok temple, Wat Khrua Wan Worawihan. The large, white dome shaped spires make this place unique and visitors are free to wander around. There is no fee to enter and if is definitely worth a stop if you are already at Wat Arun.
Wat Benchamabophit is one of the most beautiful and undiscovered Bangkok temples in the city. It is located in the Dusit District in Bangkok just outside of the Old Town and is known as the Marble Temple. The beautiful Italian marble is what gives it its’ name and the details are elaborate and ornate.
This Bangkok temple was one of our favorites in the city and while it never gets too crowded it is best to go early.
Wat Benchamabophit is open daily from 8:30AM to 5:30PM and costs 50 THB ($1.5 USD) to enter. Your entrance ticket also comes with free wifi.
Wat Yannawa is one of the oldest Bangkok temples and is located near the Chao Phraya River in the Sathon district. The unique temple is designed to resemble a Chinese junk vessel (traditional sailing boat) and is known as ‘The Boat Temple’. Wat Yannawa is free to visit and is not touristy at all. In fact, we didn’t see any other foreigners the entire time we were there. Wat Yannawa is a functioning temple so be sure to stay quiet and be respectful.
To reach Wat Yannawa you can either take the local ferry to the Sathon Pier or take the BTS. To reach the temple by the BTS take the Silom Line to the Saphan Taksin station. From both the pier and the BTS station it is only a few minutes walk to reach the temple.
If you are in the area you should stop into the Feel So Good cafe for a delicious slice of cake and coffee.
Wat Samphran Dragon Temple
Wat Samphran, also referred to as the Dragon Temple, is one of Thailand’s most unusual temples. The Buddhist temple is a 17 story pink cylinder structure which is encircled by a large, colorful dragon.
To reach the top, visitors climb the circular route through the belly of the dragon and are rewarded with panoramic views of the area. The top level is where you can get a close up look at the large dragon head and really admire all the stunning details.
Nearby is two other temples with a large Buddha statue in the center. To reach these temples you will walk through a lush forest of animal statues and a turtle pond.
Wat Samphran is free to visit but you can leave a donation if you want. There is a small market out front with locals selling some snacks and drinks. However, there isn’t much else around so I would recommend packing some water and snacks.
The Dragon Temple is located about 40 km outside of Bangkok’s city center and takes about 1 hour to reach by car. Transportation options include either renting a motorbike or taking a meter taxi or a GRAB taxi. The GRAB taxi costs approximately $40 USD roundtrip while the motorbike rental costs 250 THB ($8.25 USD) for the day. The motorbike is cheaper but definitely not easier due to confusing traffic signs and busy roads in Bangkok. Due to many wrong turns it took us over 2 hours to reach Wat Samphran.
TIP: GRAB is Asia’s version of Uber. You can download the app on your phone and use it to book rides for a set price. This is popular because there is no negotiation for price, you can pay via credit card linked to your account and your location can be traced for safety.