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.