A ‘Wat’ is a temple or in every day Thai language it is a place of worship. The temples in Thailand are mainly Buddhist temples. There are hundreds of temples scattered around the city of Bangkok and thousands in Thailand. While their appearance maybe similar, each have their unique attraction. The question is which to visit and what to wear when visiting as most of them have a strict dress code.
Different websites will highlight different temples to visit. I’m a Christian so I wanted to visit the temples as part of sightseeing in Bangkok; not for religious purposes. After some research on various blogs and tourism websites, I picked the top 3 temples (aside from the temple in The Grand Palace) which were the most recommended.
# WAT PHO ~ The Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is known for it’s 150 feet long golden reclining Buddha. The statue is covered in gold leaf. Wat Pho is a short 10 minute walk from The Grand Palace and slightly less crowded by Thailand standards. There was still a short line to get in. If you join the Bangkok Street Food Tour, you will get to see it at night.
Recommend visiting this temple on the same day as The Grand Palace due to it’s close proximity. Otherwise, you could catch the water taxi and then a taxi to get there.
# WAT TRAIMIT ~ Temple of the Golden Buddha
Wat Traimit houses the famous Golden Buddha made of nine pieces of gold. The Golden Buddha was hidden during the war with plaster to hide the gold from the enemies. Among the three temples that we visited this was the smallest. It also houses a small museum detailing the story behind the Golden Buddha. Fascinating how they transported the golden statue prior to modern equipment.
You can catch a BTS then walk to get there.
# WAT ARUN ~ Temple of Dawn
Wat Arun is the temple that graces the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. This temple has intricate tiled mosaics decorating the surfaces with gold detailing. This temple was undergoing restoration when we visited.
Wat Arun is easy to get to due to its water front location. There is a pier directly outside it’s front entrance. A water taxi is the easiest way to get there.
The dress code is less strictly enforced at these temples compared to The Grand Palace. Recommend to still cover shoulders and knees. This is harder to do than one would imagine as it is sweltering hot in Bangkok especially in the afternoon. Alternatively bring a scarf to cover shoulders and knees. Some of the temples provide the option for you to borrow clothes if you need to. Wat Pho let’s you borrow it for free and Wat Arun asks for a deposit which is returned to you on return of the garment. Wat Traimit did not have the option of borrowing clothes.
I wore a white light cotton T-shirt and loose pink patterned lounge pants with sandals. I brought a scarf too just in case my T-shirt sleeves were not long enough. They were just covering my shoulders. This outfit was easier to walk in compared to the maxi dress I wore to the Grand Palace. Other visitors were creative in meeting the dress code with a few women wearing shorts and T-shirt then using a scarf as a sarong.
What would you wear to visit places with a strict dress code?