If there’s one thing to take away from a trip to Thailand, it is most definitely the stunning Wats – i.e.Temples. The country is filled with magnificent Buddhist temples, some dating back centuries and others much younger. You can find temples made of stone, wood and even recycled beer bottles! They all offer mesmerizing sights and a sense of peace to all who visit. If you are into world religions, visiting these Temples is a must.
Top Tips for Thai Temple Visits
Bar girls and lady-boys aside, Thailand is a modest country. Even though there are no actual rules; Staying ‘more covered than not’ will be appreciated (Plus you’ll likely enjoy better service). For anyone travelling to Thailand, pay attention to the dress code for Thai temples as it’s where you’re most likely to cause offence. I am not just talking about the basic rule – which is to cover your shoulders & knees fully – but also make sure to cover up any tattoos you have of Hinduism or Buddhism. A lot of locals will take offence as they believe it is a sign of disrespect! Most temples with tourist traffic have signs asking visitors to cover up, yet you’ll see many oblivious souls who still manage to miss this final memo.
You will also benefit by bringing a pair of ankle socks with you, to put on at the temple entrance. You’ll need to leave your shoes outside and enter temples barefoot. Just like hot sand in the Mediterranean, the tiled floors at many temples get extremely hot in the Thai sun – painfully so. Be careful in socks, though, as the floors can be slippery!
Wat Arun is known as the Temple of Dawn, and gets its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. This temple, rising above the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, is nothing short of spectacular when it’s lit up against the night sky. One of Thailand’s landmarks, the temple is just as stunning when lit up by the morning sun. The Khmer style tower, covered with colorful porcelain, glistens in the sun. Surrounding buildings are covered in seashells and more porcelain.
WAT PA MAHA CHEDI KAEW
One of the more unique temples in Thailand is the Temple of a Million Bottles! Not your usual Buddhist temple! The Temple has about 1.5 million recycled glass bottles in its design; glass bottles are even used in the toilets. Mainly green Heineken and brown Chang bottles are used; bottle caps are used to create mosaics. The complex has about 20 buildings, including prayer rooms and a water tower. Talk about recycling!
WAT PHRA THAT LAMPANG LUANG
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is one of the most sacred temples in Thailand, home to a strand of Buddha’s hair. It also is considered one of the best examples of Lanna architecture. The 13th century temple has a conical spire that is more than 400 meters high. It features a triple-tiered wooden roof supported by immense teak pillars and early 19th-century Jataka murals (showing stories of the Buddha’s previous lives) painted on wooden panels around the inside upper perimeter.
SANCTUARY OF TRUTH
The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya gives new meaning to the word “impressive.” Intricate carving cover every inch of the wood structure, which is filled with traditional Buddhist and Hindu decorations. It is a newer temple, a work in progress; it began in 1981 and is scheduled to be completed in 2050. Its aim is to honor the traditional ancient values of earth, knowledge and Eastern philosophy by teaching about human responsibility, thought, cycle of life, and life’s relationship with the universe.
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