The Ultimate Guide to Thai Temples

Thailand's temples honor a wide range of religions and cultures. Ornate temples are used as symbols to represent Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions. 33,902 of Thailand's 41,205 Buddhist temples (Wat) have been used since the last update. Each has a rich cultural history, but you don't have to be religious or passionate about culture to appreciate its design or surroundings.

A temple tour is a way for foreign tourists to see Thai temples as they travel the country because of their beauty. Thai wats are places to pray for good fortune, make merits, light incense for ancestors, and converse with the monks who live there, in addition to being places to admire the architecture.

While most temples in Thailand are magnificent in their own right, a select few really stand out. The impressive wats that you should include on your Thailand temple tour are listed below. Some are well-known and easy to get to, while others are a little more out of the way but worth the effort to go to.

Wat Bang Kung

Samut Songkhram

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The Samut Songkhram old ordination hall features one of the most photographed Buddhas. It is in the smallest province of Thailand. The temple from Ayutthaya was abandoned, and nature took over. The structure in which the seated Buddha figure is resting was engulfed by roots of banana trees.

Wat Ban Rai

Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat)

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This temple in the north-east of Thailand has a water shrine. Millions of ceramic mosaic tiles make up the construction in the shape of an elephant. It looks like an elephant from the ground but like a turtle from above thanks to the clever design.

Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Phrachomklao Rachanusorn and the floating pagodas


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This magnificent temple, also known as Wat Phrabat Pu Phadaeng, is on the tranquil mountain of Doi Pu Yak in the northern Thai district of Lampang. Visiting it takes some effort on the part of visitors. But when you see the "floating pagodas" at the mountain's summit, the hike is worth it. They give this one-of-a-kind temple experience a new dimension.

Wat Huay Pla Klang

Chiang Rai

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It is a relatively recent addition to the temples in Chiang Rai. As you approach the temple, the enormous statue of Kuan I'm, the Goddess of Mercy, stands 80 meters and 260 feet tall. Visitors can climb the inside stairs to get a great view of the countryside that surrounds them from the serene white figure that is perched atop a tiny hill. In addition, the central temple tower is surrounded by a nine-tiered pagoda.

Wat Khua Suwan


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The Thale Noi Wetlands, one of Thailand's most stunning natural wonders, are located in the provincial capital of Phatthalung, which is off the beaten path. One of the city's main attractions, the intriguing Wat Khua Suwan, is a pleasant place to spend a few days exploring.

To enter a cave containing Buddha sculptures, you can ascend the stairs that are located behind the main temple buildings. In addition, a second staircase ascends the mountain to a vantage point from which you can take in breathtaking views of Phatthalung and the Khao Ok Thalu summit in the distance.

Wat Khun Samut Chin

Samut Prakan

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Samut Chin's symbol of coastal erosion and rising sea levels. The rest of the community moved inland, and concrete paths led to the wat were built by residents.

The temple can be reached over silt at low tide, but at high tide, it is impossible to reach; It is surrounded by water. Even though most of the interior has been raised to prevent this, a portion of the ordination hall becomes submerged as a result.

Wat Ku Tao

Chiang Mai

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One of Thailand's most stunning temples, Wat Ku Tao features stunning pagodas representing the five most recent Buddhas and an unusual chedi that blends Burmese and Chinese Confucian traditions. The chedi's name comes from the fact that many people think of it as a stack of enormous watermelons: Lanna Thai refers to "tao" as "melon."

The temple was built to house the body of Prince Saravadi, Chiang Mai's Burmese ruler who died in 1607. Wat Ku Tao, therefore, stands out from the other Thai temples in Chiang Mai.

Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, or Wat Larn Kuad

Si Saket

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Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew, also known as Wat Larn Kuad is the temple in Isaan. Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaeo is the official name, but Wat Larn Kuad (meaning "million bottle temple") refers to the features that make it stand out. The establishment used bottle caps as mosaics to decorate its religious buildings, recycling more than a million green bottles. The unusual building materials require little upkeep and let natural light into the temple.

The bulk of the glass is made up of Chang and Heineken bottles. In the 1980s, the monks began collecting them. They started this project to revolutionize garbage disposal and educate the community about living more sustainably. It took two years to build the first building, and there are now twenty more. For instance, the monks also decorated the monks' homes, restrooms, prayer rooms, and crematoriums in a similar manner.

Wat Niwet Thamprawat


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Thailand's only cathedral-style wat is Wat Niwet Thamprawat, or the church temple, in Ayutthaya. The temple in Ayutthaya shows King Rama V's love of European architecture. It is close to Bang Pa-In Palace. A cable car that travels across the Chao Phraya River is operated by wat monks.

Wat Noy


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You are not permitted to enter Wat Noy, Thailand's smallest temple. The word "noy" translates to "little" in Thai. The Nan National Museum's remarkable temple resembles a shrine or spirit home. Under the tree on the far left, a small, white structure can be seen above.

This temple was built by the Nan monarch, according to local history, following King Rama V's visit at the end of the 1800s. The king was informed that the number of temples in Nan was incorrectly estimated by the Nan nobleman. To atone for the error and ensure that the king had the correct number, Thailand's smallest temple was quickly constructed of white limestone. In Nan, you can see this temple that is 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Wat Pa Dong Rai

Udon Thani

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Wat Pa Dong Rai, or the "lotus flower temple," is a landmark in Udon Thani that looks like a lotus bloom on a lake in 2019. Large windows made of glass resemble lotus petals, and Buddha's life is depicted in frescoes inside. Nearby is the Ban Chiang National Museum.

Wat Pa Phu Kon

Udon Thani

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Wat Pa Phu Kon is a colorful temple on the hill. This temple is on a hilltop in the province of Udon Thani, making it hard to get to without a car. However, if you're in Udon Thani, you have to see it. The temple's interior features a marble-carved 20-meter Reclining Buddha, which is just as impressive as its exterior.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya

Pathum Thani

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The center of the Dhammakaya movement, a 1970s offshoot of Buddhism that emphasizes the True Self in all living things, is Wat Phra Dhammakaya. There are 3,000 monks and other worshippers, 300,000 Buddha images, and the temple.

There is mass prayer and meditation. With 100,000 devotees, it is Thailand's largest temple.

Wat Phra Kaew


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Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a well-known Thai temple due to its history and location in the Grand Palace complex of Bangkok. It is Thailand's most sacred temple. The jade Emerald Buddha in the temple was moved from Chiang Rai in the 15th century to Bangkok in the 18th.

The Indian saint Nagasena predicted that wherever the Emerald Buddha went, it would bring "prosperity and preeminence." However, the portrait of Thailand's defender can only be touched by the King or Crown Prince.

Wat Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol

Hat Yai

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The first stainless steel chedi in the world is Wat Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol, also known as the stainless steel temple in Hat Yai. Phra Maha Chedi Tripob Trimongkol was constructed in 2006 to honor King Rama IX and mark his 60th birthday. The chedi shines brightly at night and sparkles in the sun.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a temple on Doi Suthep Mountain with views of Chiang Mai. It was built toward the end of the 14th century.

The narrator says: In a dream, Sumanathera was told to go to Pang Cha to find a relic. He discovers a bone that glows, replicates, moves, and then vanishes—presumably that of Gautama Buddha's shoulder. King Dhammaraja of Sukhothai received the bone from Sumanathera, but he was unaware of its magical properties. The bone was delivered to King Nu Naone of Lanna by Sumanathera. The bone split in half and was put on a white elephant. The elephant was released into the bush, climbed Doi Suthep, and then died. A temple was built by King Nu Naone close to where he died.

Wat Phra That Lampang Luang


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Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is one of Thailand's most important temples due to its intact Lanna architecture and 2,500-year-old Buddha hair strand. In contrast to other Thai temples that have undergone renovation and modernization, the temple has been preserved in its original state.

It still has open viharas, naga stairs, and other features of Thai Lu and Lanna architecture. In addition, a significant Buddha image known as Phra Kaew Don Tao and bullet holes in the temple railings caused by the infamous folk hero Nan Thipchang can be found.

The most ancient wooden viharn in Thailand is the massive Viharn Luang in the temple complex. It was built in the late 15th century.

Wat Phra That Phasornkaew


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The local temple is difficult to reach without a vehicle. However, you won't be let down if you manage to reach Wat Phrathat Phasornkaew. Khao Kho's mountain setting is enhanced by the magnificent white temple and statue of the five Buddhas. In addition, the temple has a pagoda made of colorful pottery and mosaic tiles that looks like a lotus blossom.

Wat Rong Khun

Chiang Rai

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Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, is located in Chiang Rai. Chalermchai Khositpipat, a Chiang Rai artist, created this stunning combination of contemporary and traditional design. The temple is filled to the brim with Buddhist deities representing heaven and hell.

The extraordinary work of art is the result of the Thai man's labor of love and faith, who has invested significant amounts of his own money in the construction of one of Thailand's most impressive temples. Since the late 1990s, construction has been underway. Despite the fact that renovations are anticipated to continue until 2070, the temple is open to visitors.

Wat Rong Seua Ten

Chiang Rai

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Chiang Rai's Wat Rong Seua Ten, or "the blue temple," received a new temple in 2016. The architecture of Wat Rong Seua Ten and Chiang Rai's White Temple are comparable. The artwork is credited to Chalermchai student Phuttha Kabkaewa.

However, unlike the White Temple, the main hall has beautiful artwork on the walls and roof as well as a white Buddha statue.

Wat Saen Suk

Bang Saen

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Wat Saen Suk, also known as the "hell temple" is located in Bang Saen. The majority of Buddhist temples feature serene Buddha images, but this is not always the case. In Bang Saen, Chonburi, for instance, Wat Saen Suk is a "hell temple" with horrific sculptures and images depicting the fate of immoral people.

Reincarnation is a belief held by Thai Buddhists; However, between death and rebirth, the soul remains in either heaven or hell. Thailand's largest hell temple is Wat Saen Suk.

Wat Sam Pasieo


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Wat Sam Pasieo is also known as the Doraemon temple/ At first glance, this temple north of Bangkok in Suphanburi appears to be ordinary. However, recently commissioned murals inside the temple add fun and distinctive features. Some artwork, for instance, conceals i-Pads, Angry Birds, and Doraemon.

It's a subtle way to get kids to look for the figures and think about the more serious Buddhist concepts in the paintings. Take a tour with a local guide to help you spot the characters in the murals.

Wat Samphran

Nakhon Pathom

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Wat Samphran, also known as the "dragon temple," is located in the province of Nakhon Pathom, 40 kilometers from Bangkok. The building's main feature is a 17-story dragon statue that looks like a vine that wraps around it. Few tourists visit this temple because it is not listed in any travel guides.

The building's top floor features sculptures depicting the birth of Buddha in addition to stunning views. A newborn Buddha, according to myth, can walk, and lotus flowers grow wherever he steps. Additionally, there are additional intriguing statues outside the main building. We encourage exploring the property to uncover additional surprises.

Wat Sirindhorn Wararam

Udon Thani

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Udon Thani's Wat Sirindhorn Wararam, or "the temple that glows in the dark," is a beautiful sight in the daytime but even more so at night when it transforms into a one-of-a-kind work of art. Fluorescent paint makes the "Tree of Life" on the temple wall and the floor in front of it glow in the dark.

Wat Srisuphan

Chiang Mai

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Wat Srisuphan, or "the silver temple," is south of Chiang Mai's Old Town. It is one of the strangest temples in Northern Thailand. Wat Srisuphan is in the Wualai neighborhood of Chiang Mai, where silver is made.

The temple has been in this spot since the early 1500s, undergoing renovations and additions. In 2004, the temple first included local silversmiths. As a result, the main ordination hall, or ubosot, glistens in the sun. The sacred icons inside are made of precious silver, but the majority of the work is done with zinc and alloy.

Wat Thammikaram and Mirror Mountain

Prachuap Khiri Khan

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At the northern end of Prachuap Khiri Khan Beach, the Wat Thammikaram temple complex can be found on either side of the road. There are dozens of monkeys at both places, and the temple has amazing views of Prachuap Khiri Khan from its hilltop location.

A small temple and shrine can be found atop Khao Chong Krachok, also known as Mirror Mountain. If you have any energy left after climbing and descending the 396 steps, you should go to the teak wood temple in Ao Noi that is further around the bay.

Wat Tham Pha Plong

Chiang Dao

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Wat Tham Pha Plong is a notable Thai temple due to its remote location in a cave surrounded by jungle and 500 steps to its stunning gold stupa. If you're so inclined, you can meditate, focus on the present moment, and pray once you've climbed the steep climb to the temple. With perseverance and patience, you can overcome anything! This is the knowledge that can be acquired by going to this temple.

Pha Plong Cave was discovered by the well-known Buddhist monk Luang Poo Sim while he was alone in the forest. In 1992, HM King Bhumibol bestowed upon him the highest priestly rank in recognition of his lifelong commitment to spreading the Buddha's teachings.

Wat Tham Seua


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Despite sharing the same name, Wat Tham Seua is not related to Krabi's famous Tiger Temple, which is also on this list. Nevertheless, the stunning setting of this temple justifies its inclusion. In Kanchanaburi, Wat Tham Seua is a must-see.

Wat Tham Seua


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Krabi's Wat Tham Seua, also known as Tiger Cave. The temple was once home to a tiger in the cave where this temple is located. A shrine in the cave and the main temple honor the animal's memory, but Wat Tham Seua is best known for its clifftop shrine outside the cave.

The 600-meter cliff is reached by more than 1,200 steps. Krabi's farmland, mountains, and estuary views reward those who succeed.

Wat Tilok Aram


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Visitors to Phayao should take a boat ride on Kwan Phayao Lake to see Wat Tilok Aram, the temple on the lake. The artificial lake was created by an irrigation project in the 1930s. The initiative helped the locals out, but it also destroyed a few buildings. This includes Wat Tilok Aram from the 15th century.

Today, the ancient temple's submerged ruins are topped by a floating platform and a floating Buddha image on the lake.

Wat Yannawa


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Bangkok's Wat Yannawa (the boat temple) is easily accessible via public transportation. Despite this, foreign tourists rarely see it, which is unfortunate considering that it is one of Bangkok's most beautiful temples. Unusual is the boat-shaped shrine hall with mast-shaped chedis.

The boat, which can be found on the Chao Phraya River, was made during the time of King Rama III (1824–51). The design was ordered by the king to remind future generations of the role that junk boats played in the development of Bangkok.
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