Bangkok is a fascinating and unique travel destination and the large quantity of monuments here is a major reason for this.
Any traveller who visits the capital of Thailand should visit at least one or two temples. The architecture of these temples is simply breathtaking.
Among the most iconic monuments of Bangkok there are:
Bangkok’s Grand Royal Palace
Address: Na Phra lan Road, on the west bank of the Chao Pharaya River
Open: from 08.30 till 15.30
Entrance: 300 baht
Transport: Chao Praya Express Boat, The Chang stop
The Grand Royal Palace in Bangkok is a large architectural ensemble formed by a group of buildings that served as a royal residence since the 18th century to the mid 20th century. Although the Kings are no longer living there, the palace is still Thailand's political and spiritual home.
Construction of the palace began in 1792 during the reign of Rama I. His name is Thai is Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang.
The most important place of the palace is the temple Wat Phra Kaew, where we can find the Emerald Buddha, carved in jade in the 15th century and with only 45 centimetres high, is the most valuable and revered statue in Thailand. No one can approach the Emerald Buddha other than the King. The construction of the temple began in 1785 under the reign of Rama I.
It is necessary to note that the entrance to the Grand Royal Palace is not allowed in shorts and tank tops. If you are not wearing the right clothing at the door they will give it to you for free.
On the other hand, you must know that accessing any room where it is present an image of Buddha, you must take off your shoes.
Address: 500 meters south of Grand Royal Palace
Open: from 08.00 till 17.00
Entrance: 50 baht
Transport: Chao Praya Express Boat, Tha Tian Express stop
Wat Pho or Wat Phra Cetuphon is located near the Grand Royal Palace and is officially known as Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn. Built 200 years before Bangkok became the capital of Thailand, the temple is the oldest in Bangkok. This temple is especially known for being home to a large Reclining Buddha that with its 46 meters long and 15 meters high statue is the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. The entire statue is covered with gold leaf.
The Reclining Buddha is more spectacular seen live than in figures and images. It’s surprising to see how the statue fits almost to the millimetre in the temple in which it is located. There is hardly room for two lanes for walking around.
In the back of the temple we can see dozens of containers and at a nearby table we can find urns find coins. It represents the Buddhist tradition of giving to charity. If we want to do it, we can take one of the urns and go throwing coins in different bowls.
We recommend doing this tour in conjunction with the Grand Royal Palace because, in addition to its proximity, as in the temples of the first, you need to take off your shoes in order to go in.
Within the grounds of the Wat Pho is the centre for teaching and preservation of the traditional Thai medicine. These courses also include massage techniques, so if you want, you can enjoy a massage at very affordable prices.
Address: 400 meters west of Wat Pho crossing the Chao Phraya River
Open: from 07.30 till 17.30
Entrance: 50 baht
Transport: crossing the river in the Tha Tian Express Boat
Wat Arun is one of the major Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Its name means Templeofthe Aurora or Templeof Dawn.
The temple is dating back from the Ayuthaya period. During the reign of King Taksin the temple was part of his palace. With 82 meter high, its central tower is the tallest in Bangkok. It was added by the kings Rama II and Rama III in the 19th century. Decorated with China glazed ceramic, this tower represents Mount Meru, home of the gods. Around it are four towers of lower height representing the four winds, and in the centre is a statue of Pai, the god of the winds. The temple’s architecture is in a Khmer style and reminds us of the Cambodian temples. All of the Wat Arun towers are decorated with china ceramic.
It is advisable to visit the temple in the same day as we visit the Grand Royal Palace and the Wat Pho. They are very close to each other and we have enough time to visit everything. The nicest thing about visiting this temple is the view of the river and the other temples, which can be seen from the top of the central tower.
Jim Thompson’s House
Address: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road
Open: from 09.00 till 17.00
Entrance: adults 100 baht, students 50 baht
Transport: with the subway: National Stadium (Silom Line)
Jim Thompson was an architect born in the early 20th century who offered his services to the U.S. Army during the World War II. Jim Thompson became interested in the silk and fabrics of the country. With an ambitious vision set up his company and helped in the global expansion of the Thai silk.
In March 1967, during a trip to Malaysia, Jim Thompson disappeared.
His house is a fascinating museum consisting of six traditional houses brought from other provinces of Thailand. These homes have are least two centuries old.
Respecting the Thai tradition, Jim Thompson built his house high in order to prevent flooding. The tiles were burned in Ayudhaya and the red paint of the walls serves as a defence.
The gardens can be visited normally, but in order to visit the house is required to do so in groups. There are guided visits in English and French. In the same house there is a restaurant and a brand Jim Thompson store.
Besides the most important temples we have mentioned, there are also other temples (wat) in Bangkok worth visiting: Benjamabopit Wat - the temple of the fifth king of Bangkok (the Marble Temple), Wat Bowoniwet, Wet Suthat with the Giant Swing, Wat Indrawiharn, Wat Mahathat, Wat Chana Songkram, Wat Saket and the Golden Mount and Wat Traimit – the Temple of the Golden Buddha.
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