Thailand isn’t just about its beaches, islands, shopping and nightlife; there is so much more to this country that people often tend to overlook. A spectacular aspect of this beautiful Kingdom lies in its breathtaking temples. Thailand temples encapsulate the spiritual aspects of Buddhism. Owing to the strong influence of Buddhism and Hinduism, many stunning temples in Thailand attract many tourists, whether religious or not! If you’d like to learn more about the top temples to visit in Thailand, make sure to give a full read of this guide and add some of these attractions to your Thailand trip itinerary.
Let’s take a quick look at the famous Thailand temples:
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Wat Pho
- Wat Arun
- Wat Mahathat
- Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew
- Wat Pa Phu Kon
- Wat Tham Suea
- The White temple
- Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao
- Wat Benchamabophit
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram
- Wat Phra That
- Wat Sri Suphan
- Jui Tui Shrine
- Prasat Mai or Wang Boran (Sanctuary of Truth)
Let’s unravel more about these temples:
1. Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew, commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is one of the most revered Buddhist temples in Thailand. Located in the capital city, it stands out as an important tourist attraction in Bangkok. The temple boasts an exquisite architectural style and houses the statue of the sacred Emerald Buddha in a meditative pose, which is meticulously preserved. The inner walls and the interiors are a testament to Thai artistry and craftsmanship. This temple is an eminent place of worship, as various rites, rituals, and royal ceremonies take place there from time to time, which are attended by the Thai monarchy and officials.
|Na Phra Lan Rd., Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Thailand
|8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
2. Wat Pho
Wat Pho, famously known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of the oldest temples in Thailand. It initially opened as a Thai public university dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about religion, science, and literature. The temple houses a large reclining Buddha statue (about 46 metres high) that was constructed during the reign of King Rama III. The majestic statue of the reclining Buddha is covered with gold leaf, and its feet are adorned with pearls.
If you want, you may hire a tour guide who will help you gain a better understanding of the history and architecture of the temple. Otherwise, feel free to take a stroll alone. Moreover, you can also have a traditional Thai massage at the temple.
|2 SanamChai Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
|8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
|200 THB (approx.)
3. Wat Arun
Wat Arun stands as a significant Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It is nestled on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. And even though Wat Arun is a Thai Buddhist temple, its name has been derived from the Hindu deity Aruna. (Aruna, who is regarded and revered as the sun god, is also an embodiment of the first rays of the rising sun.) Perhaps that’s why Wat Arun is also known as the Temple of Dawn. The craftsmanship and architecture of this temple are awe-inspiring. Once you witness the glory of Wat Arun with your own eyes, you will understand why it is regarded as one of the most gorgeous Thailand temples.
An hour should be enough to explore the highlights of the temple. Visit Wat Arun during sunset for an impeccable view, and its beauty only multiplies.
|158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600 Thailand
|Daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
|approx. 100 THB
4. Wat Mahathat
Located in Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Wat Mahathat is one of the ancient temples in Thailand. Also known as the Temple of the Great Relic, it is hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is famous for the statue of the Buddha’s head implanted in the roots of a banana tree. The design of Wat Mahathat draws conceptual inspiration from the ancient Khmer mountain temples of Angkor in Cambodia. Due to constant foreign attacks on Ayutthaya, this thriving centre of trade and commerce is now in ruins, encompassing the glorious history of this place.
If you are wondering whether Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya is worth the visit, The answer is a resounding yes!
|Wat Mahathat, Naresuan Road, Tha Wasukri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
|Open daily from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.
|50 THB for foreign adults and free entry for children.
5. Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew
An interesting and famous site on the list of Thai temples is Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew. Nestled in the Khun Han district of Sisaket province of Thailand, this temple is also known by the name Temple of a Million Bottles. This unconventional establishment was an idea to combat ever-increasing litter. Buddhist monks of Sisaket province came together and urged the households to donate glass bottles, and soon enough bottles were gathered (around 1.5 million) that this temple came into existence in a span of two years.
Upon visiting the temple, you will notice a gorgeous pattern of green and brown beer bottles adorning the walls and roof of this temple. Today, this temple is a testament to the collective efforts of the people of Khun Han district but also acts as a brilliant reminder of littering and recycling.
|Si, Khun Han District, Si Sa Ket 33150, Thailand
|8 a.m.– 5 p.m.
|Free, along with free parking
6. Wat Pa Phu Kon
Wat Pa Phu Kon is a significant Thai Buddhist temple nestled in the Udon Thani province of Thailand. It also serves as a revered pilgrimage point for people practising the Buddhist faith. The exterior of the temple commands the attention of onlookers as it is coloured in breathtaking hues of turquoise and golden. Due to its striking colour, it is also called the Blue Temple. This temple houses a 20-metre-tall reclining Buddha statue made of marble, which looks absolutely ethereal.
The temple was designed as a monastery for forest preservation and to remind people about the essentialness of nature.
|699 Ban Kong, Na Yung District, Udon Thani 41380, Thailand
|8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.
7. Wat Tham Suea
Wat Tham Suea, or the Tiger Cave Temple, is one of the most visited temples in Krabi province. Tiger Cave Temple, a sacred Buddhist site, is known for the tiger paw prints in the cave and the tall Buddha statues. In order to reach the summit, one needs to take an arduous flight of around 1200 stairs, but the unparalleled panoramic view of Krabi’s limestone cliffs and the rainforest that you get is worth the effort. To make your hiking easy, carry a water bottle and some energy bites.
Once you make it to the summit, you will be rewarded with a majestic view of the Golden Buddha statue sitting in a contemplative pose. And if you stay up until late, you will get a chance to catch a mesmerising sunset.
|35, Krabi Noi, Mueang Krabi District, Krabi 81000, Thailand
|6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
|There is no entry fee, but monetary donations are always welcome.
8. Wat Rong Khun
Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple, is a mesmerising Thai temple located in Chiang Rai province. Due to its pristine white exterior and ethereal architecture, it attracts many tourists and pilgrims from around the world. The white colour and white glasses incorporated reflect sunlight, exuding a luminous glow. The colour white also symbolises the purity of buddhism. Every detail of this temple showcases the cycle of birth and the “gates of heaven.”
|Pa O Don Chai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
|8:00 am to 5;00 pm
|50 THB for foreigners and free entry for Thai citizens
9. Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Thailand and one of the most prominent temples in Bangkok. The temple was established in 1879 by Tamil traders and merchants who came to Bangkok soon after India became a British colony. The temple’s architecture resembles that of the Dravida style. At the entrance of the temple, one can notice the gopura, or tower, enshrined with Hindu gods and goddesses. Many Hindu festivals, such as Navratatri and Diwali, take place on the temple premises. The temple is not only visited by Hindu tourists but also by Thai and Chinese devotees who have faith in the Hindu pantheon.
|2 Pan Rd., Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
|6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
10. Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao
Sirindhorn Wararam Phu Prao is a beautiful Thai temple located on a high hill in Sirindhorn District, Ubon Ratchathani Province. The temple is renowned by the name Glow Temple, and rightfully so. An interesting highlight of the temple is the luminescent Kalapapruek tree engraved on the temple’s back wall. The tree was created using neon materials that absorb sunlight during the day and emit light at night. If you want to capture ethereal images of this temple, it is advised to visit after sunset.
Located on the hilltop, the temple has become a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the reservoir and the Chong Mek permanent border crossing point. has also become a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the reservoir and the Chong Mek permanent border crossing point.
|99 Chong Mek, Sirindhorn District, Ubon Ratchathani 34350, Thailand
|The best time to visit is from 6 PM to 8 PM.
11. Wat Benchamabophit
Wat Benchamabophit, or Wat Ben, is one of the most renowned Bangkok temples. It is a Thai Buddhist temple made of white marble, thereby earning the name the marble temple”. It has high golden-coloured gables, intricate design, and breathtaking architecture. Inside the ubosot, or ordination hall, you will see the image of Phra Buddha Chinnarat displaying the Mara mudra (pose) with a gorgeous illuminated blue background. This is also one of the temples with monks living as residents inside the private quarters on the temple premises. People often offer food to the monks and receive their blessings.
|Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, Thailand
|8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
|20 THB per person
12. Wat Chaiwatthanaram
On your trip to Bangkok, make sure to visit the Buddhist temple Wat Chaiwatthanaram, nestled on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, located southwest of Ayutthaya city. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Ayutthaya. It was built by King Prasat Thong in 1630 in memory of his mother. The architecture of the temple and intricate detailing showcase influences of Khmer architecture. This temple has withstood the test of time and continues to fill visitors with awe. You may also rent traditional Thai outfits outside the temple premises. The temple can be easily reached by boat or taxi.
|Tambon Ban Pom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand
|Opens every day between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.
|50 THB per person
13. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a sacred Thai Buddhist site located 15 km from Chiang Mai city. The temple’s name loosely translates to the temple of a relic of Buddha. The highlight of the temple is that it is enshrined with seven serpent heads, and to reach the pagoda, you have to climb a flight of 309 stairs. The structure of the temple and interior designs are inspired by the Sukhothai arts. Within the temple premises, you will see shrines, bells, a museum, and statues of Buddha and Lord Ganesha.
Once you reach the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of downtown Chiang Mai. Overall, it is one of the most important temples in Thailand, and you should definitely visit it on your Chaing Mai trip.
14. Wat Sri Suphan
Another famous temple in Chiang Mai is Wat Sri Suphan, or the marvellous Silver Temple. The temple’s architecture is a rare interpretation of the Lanna design, which was prevalent during the Lanna kingdom in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Originally built around 1500, Wat Sri Suphan is also one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai. Both inside and outside of temple walls are adorned with silver and shiny aluminium decor. Upon entering the temple, you can witness the intricate and meticulous Thai craftsmanship that has been engraved on the walls, the shrines, and the idols in the temple. This temple is a truly remarkable example of Thai artistry and design.
|100 Wua Lai Road, Tambon HaiYa, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
|Every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
|50 THB per person
15. Jui Tui Shrine
Jui Tui Shrine is a traditional Chinese shrine located in Phuket and has significance due to the celebration of the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket. The temple has an attractive structure with three large altars displaying idols of Taoist gods. This shrine is also popular among Thai and Chinese people for fortune-telling. Many people visit this temple on important days of their lives, such as birthdays, weddings, the birth of a newborn, etc.
|283 Soi Phutorn, Talat Nuea, Muang, Phuket 83000, Thailand
|Daily from 8 a.m. to 8.30 p.m
16. Prasat Mai or Wang Boran
Prasat Mai, or Wang Boran, famously known as the Sanctuary of Truth, is an important temple located on the beachfront of Pattaya city. It is also one of the most intriguing tourist attractions in Thailand. The temple/museum is built from wood and uses elaborate motifs from Buddhism and Hinduism. The insides of the temples are intricately carved and have four gopurams, each representing the religious myths of India, China, Laos, and Cambodia. And even though this place isn’t primarily used for religious rites or rituals, it still holds significance in the Thai temple tapestry.
|206/12 5 12 Pattaya-Naklua Road, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150
|Opens every day from 8:40 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
|500 THB per person
Thailand Temple Rules
Before deciding to visit a temple in Thailand, there are some Thailand temple etiquette rules that need to be followed in order to be respectful and considerate towards Thai religion, culture, and people.
- Dress modestly: A general Thailand temple dress code that is pervasive amongst all Thai temples is to cover your knees and shoulders. This rule is expected to be followed by visitors of all genders. You will also find stalls outside some Thai temples that rent sarongs, stoles, and long skirts that can be used before entering the temple.
- Remove your shoes. Before entering the temple premises, make sure to remove your shoes. And it is considered highly disrespectful in Thai culture to point your feet at any religious people or objects.
- Be respectful. You may make a slight head bow in front of a Buddha image or a monk. Do not touch any monks, their robes, or any other belongings, and maintain a respectful distance.
- Keep your tone low. Inside the temple, it’s important to maintain a peaceful and calm demeanour. Do not talk or laugh loudly, and be considerate of Thai culture.
- Keep your phones silent: You may put your phone on silent so that you do not disturb others.
- Avoid any PDAs: A respectful conduct of oneself is essential in religious places; therefore, avoid any public display of affection.
- Photography: Always ask permission before clicking any pictures inside the temple premises, and be respectful of any temple rules that are against photography.
- Follow the specific instructions: There are certain temples in Thailand that may have a special rule for visitors or certain areas that may be off limits. Read the instructions carefully and be respectful.
- Donations: Some Thai temples are free to enter; however, donations are always welcome. Therefore, if you happen to visit a temple that does not have an entrance fee, make sure to donate a couple of Thai baht, which will go towards the upkeep of the temple.
Refrain from touching Buddha images: Upon entering the temple, refrain from directly touching any Buddha image, statue, or shrine. You may offer your prayers from a respectful distance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Thailand famous for temples?
Temples play a significant role in Thai culture and religion. The country is predominantly Buddhist and has a deep-rooted and rich heritage. Temples in Thailand are not only places of worship but also sites of breathtaking architecture. Most of the temples display intricate Thai craftsmanship and are nestled in beautiful natural settings, thereby attracting both pilgrims and tourists.
Does Thailand have Hindu temples?
Yes. Thailand does have Hindu temples, though not as many as Buddhist temples. People from different nationalities and cultures visit these temples to marvel at the gorgeous architecture, to pray, and to celebrate important Hindu festivals.
What is the most powerful temple in Thailand?
It’s difficult to single out “the most powerful temple in Thailand,” as each temple has its own sanctity and relevance in Thai society. However, Wat Phra Kaew might be regarded as one of the more significant temples as it is located inside the Grand Palace and houses the Emerald Buddha.
What are temples in Thailand called?
Temples in Thailand are referred to as “Wat”. In Thai, the word wat means “temple. For example, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, etc.
Which Indian temple is famous in Thailand?
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, or Wat Khaek Temple, is the most famous Indian temple in Thailand. Its architecture is based on the Dravadian style and has a gopuram. Located in Bangkok’s Solim district, it serves as a religious and cultural centre for the Thai-Indian community.
Which Hindu gods are worshipped in Thailand?
Statues of Ganesh, Indra (Phra In), and Shiva (Phra Isuan) can be found across Thailand. One can definitely witness the influence of Hinduism in Thailand.
Which God is prayed to in Thailand?
The primary deity worshipped in Thailand is Lord Buddha, as the majority of Thai people follow Buddhism. However, there are also Hindu, Chinese, Taoist, and other deities worshipped by specific communities within Thailand.
What is a chedi in Thailand?
A chedi in Thailand refers to a stupa or a monument. It is an integral part of Thai temple architecture.
What to wear in Thailand’s temples
When visiting temples in Thailand, it is important to dress modestly and respectfully. Both men and women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. And it’s always a good idea to carry a scarf or a stole in case one might need to cover their head. Besides, removing shoes before entering the temple is very common.
Is there an entry fee to visit Thai temples?
Some temples do charge a nominal entrance fee, while others provide free entry. Voluntary donations to temples are always appreciated.