Exploring some of Bangkok’s Famous Wats
Summer Premium Adventures
In this Summer Premium Adventure (Warning: Long!)
- In the Summertime when the weather is hot…
- Off to Heathrow, British Airways Galleries North Lounge
- BA762 London Heathrow to Oslo – A321neo (EuroTraveller)
- Oslo Airport, OSL Lounge
- AY914 Oslo to Helsinki, Business Class
- Helsinki Airport lounging
- QR302 Helsinki to Doha (Business Class)
- Doha Lounge Stop Part 1
- QR946 Doha to Singapore (QSuites)
- Hotel Indigo, Katong, Singapore
- Exploring Hawker Markets
- Intercontinental, Bugis, Singapore
- Orchids Everywhere – The National Orchid Garden
- Off to Changi featuring the Singapore Pokemon Centre
- Scoot TR604 Singapore to Bangkok
- Dream Hotel, Bangkok
- Exploring the Wats
- Food Mistakes in Bangkok (Or Regrets. I have a more than a few)
- Back to Suvarnabhumi, Qatar Airways Lounge, Bangkok Airport
- QR833 Bangkok to Doha (QSuites)
- Another long Doha Layover
- QR175 Doha to Oslo
- Back at Oslo Airport
- BA767 Oslo to London Heathrow (EuroTraveller)
- Homeward bound
- Always Curious
Exploring the Wats.
A Wat (temple) is central to Buddhist beliefs. And there are plenty of them in Bangkok that are on the tourist trail – as well as off the beaten track
I’m going to explore three main ones which are on the tourist trail.
But, first things first – dress appropriately.
For example, the Grand Palace requests that you don’t wear the following:
- No sleeveless shirt
- No vests
- No short tops
- No see-through tops
- No short hot pants or short pants
- No torn pants
- No tight pants
- No bike pants
- No mini skirts
These are places of worship and respect – and tourist sites second. And as such… please respect them, or buy the cover items at the temples.
Not only that, you will be visually inspected to see if you meet their guidelines. If not, you’re going to need to invest in a sarong or other item to cover up as appropriate.
So, plan ahead, and worst comes to worst – pack a spare polo shirt or a fresh plain t-shirt. And leave the yoga pants at the hotel when you visit these sites.
The Grand Palace
How to get there – don’t get a Grab unless you love sitting in Bangkok Traffic. Take the BTS SkyTrain to Saphan Taksin, then switch to boats. I took a Grab because I was lazy… and I didn’t learn my lesson the next day (but I had better reasons).
Check it’s open before you visit at https://www.royalgrandpalace.th/en/home (so you can avoid some of the classic scams out there), but the majority of the time, it’s open from 8:30 to 15:30.
The Grand Palace is associated with the Thai Royal family. Once you work your way around the system it’s 500 baht to enter (or free if you a Thai Citizen).
There is a definitive path you will need to take to enter the palace, as well as leaving the palace.
Once through the security scanners that seem to be everywhere in Bangkok, you’re free to explore and take photos – except in certain places.
Let’s explore Wat Phra Kaew- the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
It’s a very peaceful place when entering, with the focus on mediation and not on tourism. As a mark of respect, people are not asked to take photos – and when I was there, this was mostly respected.
Wat Pho is actually rather easy to get to if you’re near the Grand Palace. It’s a 15-minute walk at worst.
Visitors are welcome here is between 8:30 and 18:30 – so you can fit in these two places together if you feel the urge on the same visit.
It costs B200 to get in, which does include a free bottle of water.
This is a lot less busy than the grand palace. But again, there are clothing restrictions which you will need to adhere to.
In this temple rests the largest statue of a resting Buddha. And… it’s big – measuring 160 feet from head to toe.
As well as the Buddha itself, there is the grounds – where there are over 1000 images of Buddha.
More importantly, it’s a lot less crowded than The Grand Palace, allowing you to take in a lot more of the atmosphere. As well as the temple cats.
If you’re so included, Wat Pho is home to one of Thailand’s famous massage schools. You do need to get there early for a decent reservation though.
Wat Saket – or the main feature most go to see – Phu Khao Thong (The Golden Mountain) is built on an artificial hill that rises over Bangkok – as such, it can give a great view of the city.
If you’re happy to climb the 300 steps to get to the top.
And oh yes, there are at least 300 steps involved. This one isn’t that accessible compared to the other two Wat’s.
Once you’ve paid respect to the image of Buddha enshrined there, you can head to the top deck, where a gleaming gold chedi awaits.
There are segregated routes up and down, so you can explore this at your leisure.
Lots to explore
And there are many more Wats in the area – for example, Wat Aran that is over the water from Wat Pho (and costs a mere 3 baht for the river crossing). There are lots of smaller temples to explore too.
Just remember – they aren’t tourist attractions, they’re primarily a place of worship and need to be respected as such.
The old term applies when travelling. Take memories, leave nothing but footprints.
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