Bangkok has a total of 44 temples (I counted them from Wikipedia myself!), so if you want to experience some Buddhist culture and marvel at the pretty detail and architecture of these buildings, Bangkok is great. Unfortunately during my time in Bangkok I only managed to visit just a couple of these temples, but they do all vary in size and style.
No matter what temple you are visiting, obviously they are all strongly religious sites so there are some ground rules that need to be followed in order to be respectful to the Buddhist culture.
- Shoes are not allowed to be worn in areas of prayer, so I would advise wearing shoes that are quick and easy to remove and get back on such as flip flops. Buddhists see feet as the lowest part of the body, and therefore it is disrespectful to point your foot towards anyone or anything.
- Cover up. Legs and shoulders along with the rest of you should always be covered when visiting a temple. A lot of places may let you buy or hire something such as a sarong to wrap around you in case you are exposed, but many will not so always be prepared in order to not offend anyone. Don’t rock up in your skimpiest denim shorts and bikini top.
- Be quiet and peaceful when around the temple. People are praying and religious activity is always taking place; do not talk loudly, smoke, eat or drink or crack a hilarious joke to your friends that has you all in stitches. Ensure you are respectful at all times.
I only visited 3 temples whilst I was in Bangkok, and to be honest I’m not even sure of the names of them all. We had a Tuk Tuk driver who took us to them and then waited for us to visit and then took us to the next one. We didn’t have much time that day so we visited 3 smaller temples as oppose to the main ones. If you have more time on your hands you can get a boat down the river which stops and allows you to visit the various temples along the way.
Going back to Tuk Tuk drivers, you do have to be careful with this as many drivers try to take you on trips where they earn commission at certain places they take you, regardless of whether you want to go there or not. Others will take you to a certain market or shop to get you to buy something. If you get in a Tuk Tuk and they say they are going to make a stop on the way, refuse and get out. My friends and I were even saying “we want to go here with no stops!” to make sure we weren’t getting ripped off. Generally if they approach you in the street with a map offering you a tour, decline, as it’s probably a bit dodgy and you’re betting off approaching someone else and discussing exactly where it is you want to go.
Wat Saket or Golden Mount Temple is the only one I visited that I actually remember the name of (I know, shame on me). It was beautiful but did have many stairs, so not a good one if you have mobility issues. Here’s some pictures I took whilst there.
The Royal Palace is also supposed to be amazing to visit, and if I ever visit Bangkok again I will go.