6 Famous and Instagrammable Temples in Bangkok, Thailand

Besides the mouthwatering goodness that is Thai food, a large part of Thai culture is its religion. With hundreds of thousands of temples littered across Thailand, it's almost impossible for you not to see at least one temple when you visit.

The city is vibrant not a stereotype and you can explore and discover gems in different areas, the boat trip in Chao Phaya River is awesome, where the fun starts, to get away from Bangkok’s nightmare of traffic jams and find tranquility in some spots like Wat Po, not crazy Khao San Road, only if you like seeing people and love noisy people but it’s not for nature-lover expats or tourists.

Nowhere in Bangkok will bore you, neither area where Thai people live even a local market nor where tourists and ex-pats are. You can do what you want and that would not raise anyone’s eyebrow. Thais are resilient with a gesture of welcoming, always. Isn’t it amazing to be among the people who mind their own business?

So if you're planning a visit to the capital of Thailand and are looking for a guide to check out some of the more famous and beautiful, not to mention totally Instagrammable temples in Bangkok, you're in luck! I'm breaking it down for you here.

best temples in Bangkok, Thailand

But, before we get started, here's some basic temple etiquette you should know:

  • While known to visitors as tourist attractions, the temples themselves are still, first and foremost, religious sites and must be treated with respect.

  • Keep your voice low when inside the temple, as shouting and raised voices are highly frowned upon.

  • Stay within the accessible areas of the temples and do not stray away from the tourist areas.

  • Women are discouraged from taking photos with monks.

  • Dress code: Most temples in Bangkok have a strict dress code, which dictates that your arms, legs, and feet should be covered. Jeans, a shirt with sleeves, and sneakers are examples of acceptable attire. Tourists who fail to follow the dress code can be denied entry into the temples. Bringing a jacket or shawl to cover up your exposed arms is also a good precaution for stricter temples.

  • Once you are refreshed after your flight journey, step out into the bustling Bangkok city with our Bangkok city tour itinerary where grand palaces and shrines are weaved into a chaotic city life.

    1. Grand Palace

    The first Bangkok attraction you should head to is the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. This truly is a must see. Home to the famous emerald buddha, there are a wide assortment of temples and statues including a model of the Angkor Wat. The wall has a fascinating version of the Hindu epic Ramayana. Apparently it is the worlds longest painted version or something like that.

    This magnificent palace arena filled with intricate structures, ornate pagoda and the charming temple shrine embedded within the grounds lets you appreciate the architectural creativity of Thailand. The Grand Palace is a place you can't miss as this is an interesting place to see in Bangkok.

    Don't believe anyone as you just have to pay the entrance fee to visit the Grand Palace. Located within the Grand Palace complex, Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the most sacred temples in Thailand. Known for the highly revered image of the emerald Buddha that only the king himself is allowed to touch on three occasions throughout the year, it is considered as one of the holiest objects in Thai culture.

    Don't expect to see a large statue though! Compared to the statue of the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, this relic is roughly just 2 feet and 2 inches.

    Entrance fee: 500 Thai baht (you have to pay this for entrance to the Grand Palace complex)

    Operating hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

    Pro tip: Since you'll be paying 500 baht for entrance, go early in the morning and explore the surrounding temples in the Grand Palace complex to get your money's worth. Tours usually take 30 minutes or so and they explain the significance of the buildings.

    Be warned, however, as the central tourist destination in Bangkok, it is also scam central. It is difficult to reach the temple without several people telling you that it "a thai holiday, temple closed." These people will be so helpful, they will suggest another place for you to go. Before long, you'll find yourself at a gem store or tailor wondering exactly what happened.

    Just politely tell these people that you don't care that it is closed, you want to go anyway. Getting angry never solves problems in Thailand.

    2. Wat Pho

    Wat Traimit or the Temple of Golden Buddha and Wat Pho or Temple of Reclining Buddha are two splendid temples just a few minutes away from Grand Palace that is worth visiting. Probably just as famous as Wat Arun, Wat Pho also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon is not just a place of worship, but holds many historical firsts under its belt.

    Wat Pho is one of the older temples in Bangkok, first established before the city itself was founded. It is also the birthplace of the famous Thai massage, as well as the temple that houses the largest Buddha image in the area. Not bad, eh?

    Wat Pho is a place in Bangkok where lies a beautiful temple of Buddha and this is one of the famous places in Bangkok. This temple is popular because of its amazing statue of Buddha which is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long. This is the attraction of this place which is known as the Reclining Buddha. When you look closer you will witness that the statue is covered with gold leaf which makes it more interesting.

    Entrance fee: 100 Thai baht

    Operating hours: 8:30 am to 6:30 pm

    Pro tip: You'll be expected to remove your footwear before entering the temple, so I advise wearing shoes you aren't very attached to (just in case something happens to them!).

    3. Wat Traimit

    Less famous, but far more interesting is the Golden Buddha in Chinatown. The 5 ton solid gold buddha is the world's most intrinsically valuable sacred artifact. It has a fascinating story. A long time ago, when Ayutthaya was still the capital, the Khmer were coming to sack the city. The monks did not want their massively valuable buddha stolen, so they hastily covered it in plaster.

    The ruse worked too well. Not only was the Buddha not stolen, but there was no one left who knew that this was anything other than a very heavy very ugly Buddha. Eventually, the plaster covered statue was given as a gift to the Chinese immigrants and moved to Chinatown in modern day Bangkok. While they were moving the statue up to its new temple with ropes and pulleys a rainstorm broke out that caused someone to slip and drop the 5 ton idol in the mud.

    Since dropping a buddha in the mud is the worst thing anyone could imagine, everyone ran away. The next day, they came back to see that the plaster was cracked and inside was the beautiful statue. The building that houses the Golden Buddha also houses a museum that tells a rosy version of Chinese immigration to Thailand. It includes quotes like, "I was starving in China so I moved to Thailand where the bountiful food assured my family would never go hungry."

    4. Wat Saket

    If Wat Pho was old, Wat Saket dates back even further! Its origins can actually be traced all the way back to the Ayutthaya period from the 1300s to the 1700s. But don’t expect ancient ruins though, since it was renovated under the reign of King Rama I. Wat Saket is also called by its English nickname the Temple of the Golden Mount, presumably because of its gleaming golden chedi set atop an artificially made hill.

    It is also said to contain relics of Buddha that were sent over from India and Sri Lanka.

    Entrance fee: 50 Thai baht

    Operating hours: 7:30 am to 7:00 pm

    Pro tip: The best month to go visit Wat Saket would be November during the Loi Krathong festival. But be warned that there will be a LOT of people!

    5. Wat Arun

    The Wat Arun is another impressive place to visit in Bangkok that has to be on every Thai traveler’s bucket list. The towering spires and grandeur of the main pagoda of ancient Khmer style look magnificent against the backdrop of Bangkok sky.

    Standing majestically over the city by the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun, also known as Temple of Dawn is one of – if not the most – famous temple in Bangkok. Named after the Hindu god Aruna, this temple is known for its lavish architecture and finely decorated colorful spires. You can also walk through a narrow stone stairway that leads to an area where you'll be treated to a birds eye view of the city that is perfect for sunset views!

    Entrance fee: 50 Thai baht

    Operating hours: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm

    Pro tip: Join an Instagram tour in Bangkok and visit three temples in one morning without having to worry about logistics and entrance fees. Plus, you'll have a guide who will be sure to tell you about the history of the temples and take awesome photos of you too!

    6. Wat Suthat

    Here is another great place to visit in Bangkok. Wat Suthat Thepwararam or Wat Suthat for short is one of the older temples in Bangkok. Built in the 1700s, it took nearly 70 years to finish and is one of the largest temples in the city, covering approximately 10 acres. But if you’re looking for that perfect Instagram shot, you’d best make your way over to the iconic Giant Swing – a 20 meter high red swing made out of teak wood that is used during religious ceremonies.

    Entrance fee: 100 Thai baht

    Operating hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

    Pro tip: Besides the Giant Swing, other picture-worthy details in the temple include the magnificent murals and the stone sculptures. You’ll have a field day with your camera and/or phone that's for sure!

    Kalyan Panja