Thailand Buddhist temples are an integral part of Thai society.
There are many thousands of Thailand Buddhist temples spread across the country and there are 400 to 500 Buddhist temples in Bangkok alone.
A visit to Bangkok would not be complete unless you take some time to visit a Buddhist Temple or two, so let me make some suggestions that will make your selection easier.
Temples in Thailand are called Wat in Thai and are classifed into two main categories: Royal Temples and Common Temples.
Altogether there are about 200 Royal Temples, the following six are categorised as being of the highest grade.
These six Buddhist temples were either built by, or sponsored by, the Royal Family and are located either in Bangkok, or within a relatively short driving distance outside of Bangkok and so are quite easy to visit.
If you are interested in seeing the cultural side of Thailand then these are the Buddhist Temples to add to your itinerary.
When you visit a temple in Thailand you will notice that the Wat is usually in enclosed grounds and is a place of peace and calm away from the madness of the city.
It is just surprising how calm they can be even thought they can be so close to all the mayhem outside.
Inside the grounds there is a hall where the Buddha image is kept which is called the Bot and inside the Bot is where people go to pay respects to the Buddha image.
You will see people lighting candles and incense sticks and praying before the Buddha image.
This prayer is conducted on an individual basis unlike in a Western church and you will see people coming and going all the time from the Bot and many people will be taking photographs inside the temple.
Here are some of the Thailand Buddhist temples that I have visited during my time in Thailand.
So if you think you would enjoy spending some time looking at the history of Thailand Buddhist Temples then this list is a good place to start.
Are you wondering what to wear when visiting a Thailand Buddhist temple or what are the rules when visiting somewhere like the Grand Palace?
Well actually you are not alone, because this is a very frequent question and one that shows that many people wish to be culturally aware when visiting these sacred places.
Before you go and visit any of Thailand's Buddhist Temples you should read the following important do's and don'ts, to become familiar with what is expected.
For the temples that have an entrance charge, you may be refused entry to the whole temple or to certain parts of it, if you are not dressed conservatively.
This rule particularly applies to the major tourist attractions in Bangkok; Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew.
This principle of dressing appropriately specifically applies to those Buddhist temples that are popular with tourists, as they usually have sufficient staff on hand to keep a watch out.
Most of the other Buddhist temples outside Bangkok, do not have an entrance charge or have staff monitoring dress standards, but even so, you are still expected to dress respectfully.
If you are not dressed conservatively then some temples in Thailand may lend or sell you a wrap or shawl to cover up the exposed parts of your body, or you may have to buy one off a vendor outside before entry is allowed to the temple.
Just because it is hot is no excuse not to dress properly when visiting a Buddhist temple.
Whilst some leeway is given for foreign visitors in terms of acceptable behaviour, any rude or inappropriate behaviour disrespecting what Thais consider sacred, could land you in very serious trouble.
But if you take note of the following rules when visiting Thailand Buddhist temples you should have an uneventful visit.
These dress rules are for general guidance when visiting Thailand Buddhist temples.
They are interpreted quite strictly at Wat Phra Kaew.
Other temples may apply the dress rules inconsistently and you may observe some visitors that don't comply with the rules.
Even some Thai people are not aware of the how to dress appropriately, the same as some Westerners don't know that men should not to wear a hat in Church.
Notwithstanding that there is going to be some variation in what people wear.
To be on the safe side, if you always dress conservatively when visiting a temple you will not encounter any problems or delays to your tour.