Thailand is well known for its amazing temples and rightfully so. From Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok to Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Mai they are absolutely stunning.
A trip to Thailand would not be complete without visiting some of the beautiful and amazing Buddhist temples. Called Wat in the local Thai language, most temple names start with this word. They are basically everywhere and wherever you find yourself to be in Thailand you will never be far away from one of these historical and awe-inspiring places of worship.
As a predominately Buddhist country, Thailand has numerous Buddhist temples dating back nearly 1000 years. A couple of the more notable ones are Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and Phra Si Ratana Temple (Wat Yai) in Phitsanulok in lower northern Thailand. There are also a number of Hindu temples from the Angkorian Era when parts of Thailand were occupied by neighboring Cambodia.
One word of caution..outside of the temples in Bangkok there are many taxi and tuk tuk drivers that may try to tell you that the temple is closed or only open to Buddhists today. Ignore them as the temples never close and are always open to everyone. What they want to do is take you on a shopping tour. As for the rest of the country this problem is mostly non-existent. Check out here for more information on this and other common scams in Thailand.
Thailand Temple Etiquette
Thai temples are typically made up of a courtyard with buildings and small worship areas scattered about. The sheltered areas that contain Buddha statues are known as Bots. These areas are more sacred than other places in the temple, and a few rules of etiquette should be followed.
- Remove your shoes if you have not already done so.
- Don’t get in the way of people that are actually there to worship.
- Back away from a Buddha statue rather than turn your back and walk.
- Avoid touching sacred items in the worship area.
- Don’t raise yourself higher than the image of Buddha.
Check out here for an extended list of dos and don’ts in Thailand.