Amazing Thailand, Amazing Temple
Thailand is a Buddhist country and there are many impressive temples throughout the country. Perfect Beauty is the only expression which comes to mind when thinking of a Wat, a temple in the Thai language. Buddhism requires all male believers to spend some time in their life as a monk. So, a Thai temple is much more than just a monastery. It influences life, culture and education and the Wat is very much a community center. In Bangkok it is also a place of silence where people can hide from the stress and traffic outside the Wat. With so many temples spread out across Thailand, let us start our exploration in the South of Thailand, Phuket.
Wat Chalong is the largest temple in Phuket and it is most important Buddhist temple. Many Thais come here to be blessed by the monks and receive a good luck charm in the form of a string tied around the wrist, which they believe protects them from injury and illness. The prayer hall contains the statues of three of the temples most famous monks: Luang Por Chaem, Luang Por Chuang and Luang Por Gluam, definitely worth the climb up the stairs.
Wat Chalong also offer the markets around, where you can buy cheap souvenirs, drinks etc.
For the most memorable visit try to time your trip for the weekly holy day when the monks chant Buddhist scriptures in the mornings. The holy days are based on a lunar calendar, so check with the locals to plan your excursion.
Wat Chalong is about 8 km outside Phuket Town. Take Vichit Songkram Road to the Bypass Road and turn left, and drive for about 10 mins. Wat Chalong is on the left.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram (Ayutthaya)
Located on the bank of the Maenam Chao Phraya, to the west of the city island is Wat Chaiwatthanaram. Built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong to honor his mother, Wat Chai Wattanaram was conceived as a replica of the Angkor temple. A Royal monastery, the temples unique feature is a huge prang which is surrounded by smaller prangs. This symbolizes Mount Meru, the abode of the heavenly gods. Now restored, the temple is also accessible by a long-tailed boat trip from Chankasem Palace Pier. Admission to the temple is 20 Baht and opening hours are 08:00 to 18:00.
You can reach the temple’s ruins by bicycle if you have hired one, and a Tuk-Tuk fare will be in the 30 Baht range from the town centre. Long-tail boat services are available from Chankasem Palace at around 350 Baht for the full one-hour round trip.
Wat Rong Khun or White Temple (Heaven of Earth)
Located near the city of Chiang Rai, about 5 kilometers to the south, Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) is one of the most beautiful and unique temples in Thailand. Designed in white with some use of mirrors, the color symbolizes Lord Buddha’s purity, and the mirror stands for Lord Buddha’s wisdom that “shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe.” The bridge leading to the temple represents the crossing over from the cycle of rebirth to the Abode Of Buddha. The small semicircle before the bridge embodies the human world. The big circle with fangs is the mouth of Rahu and representats hell, suffering, and the impurities of the human mind (similar to the Christian concept of original sin). All of the paintings inside the ubosot (assembly hall) have golden tones. The four walls, ceiling, and floor contain paintings showing an escape from the defilements of temptation to reach a celestial “all seeing” state. On the roof, there are four kinds of animals representing earth, water, wind and fire. The elephant stands for the earth; the naga (Buddhist grouping of serpent deities) stands for water; the swan’s wings represent wind; and the lion’s mane represents fire.
If coming from Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai International Airport. Or Chiang Rai. Given way to the south, A. Phan, Chiang Rai, Phayao on the way from Chiang Rai. Pass the traffic lights of the second bus straight from time to red light, turn right Khunkorn separate (the way to the waterfall Khunkorn) and turn right into. This takes a few minutes from Chiang Rai to reach Wat Rong Khun. The museum is open Monday – Friday from 8:00 to 17:30 am, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 8.00 am – 18.00 pm.
Bangkok Temples (Wats)
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
This is the one travel attractions of Bangkok you should not miss. It is a large compound located near Sanam Luang in the very heart of Bangkok. The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha were built after King Rama I ascended the throne as the founder of the Chakri Dynasty on 6 April 1782 and have undergone several repairs and renovations.
The Grand Palace consists of several buildings with different styles of architecture. Wat Phra Kaeo is renowned as the most beautiful and important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses Phra Kaeo Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the most highly revered Buddha image carved from a single block of fine jade.
By visiting here, you will also find Phra Kaeo, the temple complex which houses the Emerald Buddha, is located on the grounds of the Grand Palace, – an unusual placement, which may suggest protecting the temple from internal disturbance rather than from external dangers.
From Bangkok, its can be reach by take the BTS Skytrain to Taksin Station. From here take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier. It is a short walk from the pier to the entrance to The Grand Palace public entrance Wat Phra Kaew open every day start on 8.30am – 3.30pm with 250 Baht as charge (include Grand Palace).
Note : Women visitors must wear long pants or long skirts. Men in short pants are not allowed to enter the temple. Photography inside the main temple is forbidden.
Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetupho
As it is generally known to the Thais, is mainly famous for the huge Reclining Buddha statue it houses. At 20 acres large, it is the largest Wat in Bangkok, and is technically the oldest too, as it was built around 200 years before Bangkok became Thailand’s capital.
The highly impressive gold plated reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, and is designed to illustrate the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The feet and the eyes are engraved with mother-of-pearl decoration, and the feet also show the 108 auspicious characteristics of the true Buddha.
Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand’s first university, and is center for traditional Thai masage – the rich, famous and powerful have all been known to come here. Inscribed on stone in the walls of Wat Pho are all that was known about Thai massage dating from the reign of King Rama III (most previous texts were lost when the Burmese destroyed Ayuthaya).
The entrance to Wat Pho is on Chetuphon road. Entrance is 20B. It’s open every day, opening hours are from 08.00am to 5.00pm, with a break from 12.00pm to 1.00pm. Guides can be hired at the entrance for 150B for one person, 200B for two, 300B for three, but they’re not really needed. On Sundays, you can see students being taught traditional Thai dance and music.
Wat Suthat and Giant Swing
Wat Suthat Thepwararam , constructed in 1807, is one of the most important temples of Thailand and is regarded to have an excellent plan. The ordination hall is the longest in the country. The mural paintings inside were created by craftsmen in the Third Reign (1824-1851). The principal Buddha image is called “Phra Phuttha Tri Lokkachet” in the Subduing Mara position. The inside of the temple is renowned for its beautiful murals and frescoes. Outside, a number of Chinese statues can be seen. It is thought that these were brought over from China during the reign of Rama I when they were used as ballast on rice boats.
In front of the temple is the famous Giant Swing. The Giant Swing, with a height of 21.15 metres and painted red, is a landmark of Bangkok. Some postcards of Bangkok contain photos of it. The existence of a red giant swing in front of Suthat Temple in Bangkok is an indicator of the once strong influence of Brahmanism in Thailand.
Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing are located to the east of the Grand Palace on the route that leads to the Golden Mount (Wat Sakhet). With an admission fee of 20 baht, the temple is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Can be reach by take the Skytrain to National Monument and then take a taxi.
Gadis Wijaya ^^ (Marketing Mgt Trainee)
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