In Thailand, there are more than 40,000 temples. The majority are still standing, while others are in ruins, as is the case with many of the buildings in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai’s historical parks. As a Buddhist nation, it should come as no surprise that the majority of wats are Buddhist temples, although Hinduism and other religions are also well-represented by attractive temples. Thai wats are places to make merits, burn incense for the ancestors, and converse with the local monks during trying times in addition to places to pray for good luck.
There are a lot of tourist spots in Thailand. Aside from the must-visit markets in Bangkok, foreign tourists who frequently plan their temple tours to discover and explore as they move from city to city are aware of the beauty of Thai temples. While it is impossible to list even a small portion of the temples to visit, we have gathered some of the most well-known and beautiful wats across the nation that are well worth a trip. Plan your trip using our ranking of Thailand’s top temples. Also, while going on this trip, don’t forget to buy the best souvenirs from Thailand.
Temples To See in Thailand
1. White Temple, Chiang Rai
Wat Rong Khun also referred to as “the White Temple” in English, is no longer a temple. The original Wat Rong Khun was abandoned and in ruins when it was “adopted” by a local artist in the 1990s. Over the course of the following few years, the artist transformed it into one of the most stunning privately-owned art exhibits in the nation.
While some of the other buildings in the temple complex have been designated for meditation, training rooms, and a learning center, the main building of the complex is now a sort of art gallery that can only be accessed by crossing a bridge built over a pond. Even though the former temple is already beautiful, renovation work hasn’t stopped, and it won’t likely be finished before 2070. Nine structures will make up the finished compound, including monks’ living quarters.
2. Wat Arun, Bangkok
The “Temple of Dawn,” also known as Wat Arun, is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Wat Arun, which is devoted to the Hindu god Aruna, is especially beautiful in the morning when the sun shines through the Chinese porcelain flowers and mosaics made of silver and reddish glass that decorate the walls of the temple. The temple’s 70-meter-tall prang (spire), one of Bangkok’s most recognizable landmarks, can be seen from the river. By taking a water taxi from Wat Pho, which is located on the opposite bank of the river, you can even reach Wat Arun from the water.
3. Wat Pho, Bangkok
One of the biggest temples in Bangkok is Wat Pho, also referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Only half of the temple grounds, which total over 80,000 square meters, are accessible to visitors; the other half is home to a school and the living quarters for the monks.
Even though the open area of the temple contains several structures, the 46-meter-long and 15-meter-tall statue of the reclining Buddha, which is covered in gold leaf, is what draws the majority of visitors. The Buddha’s feet draw the most attention, even though the entire statue is stunning. The feet have mother-of-pearl inlay, are engraved with lucky symbols, and have a chakra right in the middle. Visitors can place offerings for good health and fortune in any of the 108 bronze bowls that line the walls of the hall.
4. Blue Temple, Chang Rai
One of Chiang Rai’s newest and most beautiful wats, as well as one of the most visited, is Wat Rong Seua Ten, also known to English-speaking tourists as the Blue Temple or “Templo Azul.” Despite being fairly small, the Blue Temple’s golden ceilings and deep sapphire blue walls give it an almost hypnotic quality. The temple’s gate is flanked by two vibrant Nagas, semi-divine snake-like creatures, which add to the temple’s majestic atmosphere.
5. Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya
The Sanctuary of Truth is an unusual building that resembles a temple but isn’t one. The Sanctuary of Truth is a structure made almost entirely of teak wood that resembles a combination of a palace, a museum, and a traditional Buddhist wat. It was designed by a local artist named Mr. Lek Viriyahphan, who was inspired by the ancient temples of Ayutthaya and worked on the project for several decades before passing away in the year 2000. The structure, which is still expanding and being built, was intended to be a meeting place for philosophy, religion, and art.
6. Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi
Just outside of Krabi is the Tiger Cave Temple or officially Wat Tham Suea. The complex is divided into several levels, and to reach the top, one must ascend a 1,260-step staircase, some of which are over 30 centimeters tall, passing by caves decorated with tiger print paws and golden Buddhas. A huge golden Buddha, a small shrine, and some of the best open views of the town below await those who brave the 278-meter elevation of the staircase.
7. Black House, Chang Rai
The Black Temple or Black House is a unique spiritual destination in Thailand that combines a museum of death with otherworldly artifacts. The Black Horse, a collection of more than 40 structures featuring traditional Thai design, is not a place of worship even though many of the structures resemble temples.
8. Silver Temple, Chang Mai
The name “Silver Temple,” also known as Wat Sri Suphan, refers to the building’s unusual appearance, with its walls and ceiling made entirely of pure silver or an alloy containing zinc. Even the statues and some of the decorations inside are covered in silver, as are the frames of the numerous mirrors; when combined, these elements create a magical bouncing of light and images that give the temple the impression of being endless in all directions.
9. Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya
The most well-known temple in Ayutthaya is encircled by numerous other breathtaking ruins and is situated in the middle of a historical park. Ayutthaya was once the seat of government for Bangkok and the biggest city in the world by the year AD 1700. Wat Mahathat may not be the biggest temple in Ayutthaya, but the main viharn and impressive ubosot are still breathtaking. Even though the central prang collapsed long ago and only the base is now visible, the temple complex is still a beautiful collection of temples that draws lots of tourists.
10. Wat Saket, Bangkok
Wat Saket is one of Bangkok’s oldest temples and a revered destination for pilgrims during the Loy Krathong festival in November. You won’t remember the heat or the climb to get here once you see the stunning views of Bangkok Old Town from the temple, which is perched on top of an 80-meter-tall hill. Ancient trees, a bell wall, golden Buddha statues, and a covered 300-step staircase that leads to the chedi are all part of the temple’s grounds’ decor.