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Wat Phra Kaeo

A majestic temple complex with the holiest figure of the Buddha in Thailand

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Bangkok
Wat Pho
Bangkok’s oldest temple with a stupendous reclining Buddha
Grand Palace
The historic residence of Thai kings before Rama IX which is still used for state ceremonies
Wat Suthat
A temple, founded by Rama I, with an 8m bronze Buddha
National Museum
Vast trove of treasures from across Thailand, this wonderful museum has something for everyone
Bangkok National Art Gallery
Housed in the old Royal Mint, this gallery is well-known for its excellent temporary shows
Chao Phraya River
A crucially important artery in Thai history, a cruise on it is one of the best ways to see Bangkok and the country beyond

Related Tours

Classic Temples of Bangkok's Old City
·        See the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaeo
·        Walk around Wat Pho
·        See the Phra Sri Sakyamuni Buddha at Wat Suthat

Experience Thai religious culture as you see the most iconic temples, or wats, of Bangkok’s Old City. With the help of your personal guide, you will finish the tour with an appreciation of the important yet nuanced role which religion plays in Thai life; as well as memories of the best Thai art, architecture and culture which will last forever.

Grandiosity in Central Bangkok
The prime ingredient of this tour is the Wat Phra Kaeo. While all the temples you will see during the experience are special in their own way, the Wat Phra Kaeo is widely acknowledged as the most important temple in Thailand. The reason for why this sub-complex of the Grand Palace occupies such an important position is that it is where the Emerald Buddha, a national icon of Thailand, is kept. Your personal guide will be able to tell the curious tale of the sculpture, and explain some of the traditions which accompany it (such as why it has three changes of clothes), while pointing you to curiousities of the temple itself. Each part of the temple is laden with its own special imagery but a walk around the cloisters surrounding the temple buildings, where the 178 panels tell the story of the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Hindu epic Ramayana), can be an unforgettable experience. 

Wat Pho: Aged yet Magnificent

A trip to Bangkok’s oldest temple with your guide will offer a chance to see a working temple, away from the national hub of the Wat Phra Kaeo. With many individual oddities about it – such as the role it plays as a global centre for teaching the art of Thai massage – the temple is the home to around 300 monks. While the Reclining Buddha, which fills its own building at 46m long, is a must-see, there is still a great deal of imagery and tales about this place which your guide will be happy to tell you; such as how the statues in the courtyard were once used to teach how to treat illnesses. 

Wat Suthat: Temple by the Swing

A short trip brings you to Wat Suthat. This is in the top six of Thailand’s most important temples and contains the Phra Sri Sakyamuni Buddha, an 8m high meditating Buddha that is believed to date from the 14th century. Unlike other temples, it possesses the great advantage of having a giant swing, or rather a giant swing frame, outside it. The legacy of a curious ceremony of uncertain origins, where young men swung 25m into the air to bite bags of gold embedded on the spikes at the top and bring them down to earth, it retains a certain mystique; even if the current frame is only a copy. It is unlikely it will ever again see people try their luck again though as the ritual was banned in 1935 following the deaths of participants.  

Meet the Old City
·        Step inside the main throne room of the Grand Palace
·        See the Emerald Buddha at the Wat Phra Kaeo
·        Look at the best of Thai archaeological finds at the National Museum

The Old City of Bangkok is where the city’s past and cultural hegemony strike you in the face. Going around it in the company of your private guide will bring you face-to-face with its charm, and acquainted with its legends. 

The Splendour of Past Monarchs

Walking in the Grand Palace complex, you will be shown into the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall; an 18th century reproduction of one of the old capital Ayutthara’s most impressive buildings, the Prasat Phra Narai. Going around the room where Thai monarchs are crowned, your guide will tell you about its history and how the building is used in other ceremonial occasions. Be sure to keep an eye out for the room’s treasures, especially the mother-in-pearl covered furniture, and ask your guide about the parts of the Palace which you are unable to see. 

Thailand’s Secret Center

The Wat Phra Kaeo is actually part of the Grand Palace, but the holiest site in Thailand still has a great deal to offer curious visitors. After a trip to see the Emerald Buddha, which can only be dressed by only the monarch or crown prince, your guide will be happy to show you the quirks of the site and its fascinating past. 

A Panoply of Thai Art and History

Stepping across the threshold into the National Museum, you will find yourself within one of the great museums of the world. Though not as widely known – at least among non-Asians – as the British Museum or the Smithsonian, it possesses a vase collection of artefacts that stretch across Thai history. Other cultures, especially those in Asia, are also covered and the Museum also provides a home to Thailand’s second holiest figurine: the Phra Buddha Sihing. 
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