Temples in Bangkok are so much more than mere tourist attractions. For many Thais, these religious sites are woven into the fabric of everyday life – places to pray for hope, good fortune and forgiveness. Here’s a guide to Buddhist temples in Bangkok where you can experience the city’s spiritual side.
Buddhism is an inextricable part of daily life in Bangkok. This is a city where locals feed stray dogs as a way to gain good merit. Where spirit homes are tucked behind homes, shops and alleyways. It’s a place where people go to shrines when they have a big life decision to make, ready to strike a bargain with the gods if necessary. And nowhere is this faithful way of life more obvious than in the capital’s beautifully ornate temples.
Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit is a temple, meditation centre and Buddhist university in one. Established during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before Bangkok was declared the capital of the Siamese Kingdom, the temple is home to one of the oldest shrines in the capital – but that’s not the only thing that makes it special. The site is also said to be home to a relic of the Buddha. Travellers are welcome to stay in the temple grounds and learn the principles of Vipassana meditation, taught by monks from the Mahanikai School of Buddhism, one of the largest fraternities of Theravada Buddhism.
This is an updated version of an article originally written by Kelly Iverson.