Bangkok’s most important temples: traditions and don’ts

If you’re on holiday, you can go to sunny Thailand. The first stop along the way is the capital Bangkok after a long flight. You end up in a busy, extensive city, where the language is completely foreign to you. In addition, you will soon be confronted with barefoot orange-clad monks with a maze of temples (Wat). These can be small and modest, but can also be large with a lot of splendor. Because you are only in the city for a few hours, you want to visit the most important and impressive temples, which are located relatively close to each other. What are the top and most beautiful temples in central Bangkok?

Temples in Bangkok

  • Buddhism as a religion
  • Many beautiful temples are grouped together
  • Special religious days
  • School system related to the temple
  • A What to visit: the points of interest
  • Say a prayer

 

Buddhism as a religion

Doing good and being good is the basis of Buddhism. It is the starting point on which society is built, by having respect for everything and everyone. In addition, it means that people try to improve themselves by recognizing mistakes and doing something about them. It originally emerged in the seventh century in India and from there spread to much of the world. In Thailand, 95% of the population follows Buddhism and so it is an important part of the culture. To gain some understanding of how Thai people work and what people do, a visit to one or more temples will be a useful experience.

Many beautiful temples are grouped together

The large temple Wat Phra Keaw or Wat Pho with the reclining Buddha are in every travel guide and are definitely worth a visit. Yet Bangkok has several thousand temples, each with its own characteristic features. Large, small, dilapidated or lavishly decorated, the temple forms a stable basis for Thai society. For many people, daily life revolves around a conscious lifestyle and doing good. Certainly for many elderly people it means a regular or sometimes daily visit to the temple. Doing good, giving a merit to the monks, also called Tam Boen, will be done by virtually every Thai. To this end, almost every neighborhood has its own temple. You as a tourist will of course visit the most important temples. Below you can see the locations of the most important temples in Bangkok. These are beautiful temples and can be visited in quick succession. Please note that it is busy and you are therefore purely visiting the tourist part of the city. Also visit a temple near your hotel, so that you can experience the atmosphere of a not-crowded Wat. What are other important Buddhist days and what should you pay attention to when you visit a Wat as a tourist?

Important and most beautiful temples in Bangkok

Legend
A . Wat Phra Keaw
B . Wat Mahathat (ancient Buddhist texts)
C . Wat Rakhang
D . Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawhan
E . Wat Pho (reclining Buddha)
F . Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworamahawhan (Giant Swing)
G . Wat Saket (Temple on the Golden Mount)
H . What Benchamabophit
I . Wat Traimit (Golden Buddha)
J . Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Special religious days

Buddhism is characterized by many special days in the year. The following days are the most important for the Thais.

Loy Krathong

Source: Http://geinformeerd.infoteur.nlIn the twelfth month of the Buddhist year, the Loy Krathong festival is normally held around the last week of October and the first three weeks of November. It is the end of the rainy season in parts of the country characterized by flooding because the country is located in a delta. The Kratong (decorated boat) is given in gratitude that the goddess Mae Kong Ka drained the water without any problems. It is a tradition originating from the Sukhothai period, in which the daughter of a Brahmin priest decorates a boat with Lotus, puts a candle and incense in the water. This gift is still given to this day. An alternative to the boat is the release of hot air balloons that resemble drifting stars.

Thai New Year, water festival

Source: Http://geinformeerd.infoteur.nlThe Thai New Year’s Eve is celebrated with Songkran. It is also called the water festival, because everyone plays with water. It is the hottest part of the year, after which the rainy period will come again. Songkran is celebrated to thank the weather gods. This is partly done in the temple, but mainly you hear about it on the street. From April 13 to 16 (some parts of the country it lasts a week), everyone plays with water and their faces are rubbed with talcum powder.

Tour candles

Wian Thian (Makha Bucha Day) also called the tour of candles. It falls in the month of February, but the exact day varies with the position of the moon. It is the day of worship of Buddha, the temple and the monks who reside there. A round is then walked three times, with everyone walking in procession around the temple with incense, candles and Lotus flower.
If you are a tourist in Bangkok on these days, a visit to a temple is definitely recommended. The holidays are a very important part of Thai culture, because they commemorate important Buddhist events.

School system related to the temple

Because the temple is a very important part of Thai society, the school system is also related to it. If you come to a Wat, you will also find a school there. Important norms and values within Thai culture are passed on to the students by monks. Monks also teach students for a certain part of the week, so that the principles of Buddhism are well learned. This basis ensures that the Thai is always friendly, wants to do good and is there for others. It is therefore not without reason that Thailand is the land of smiles. In addition, teenage boys have to help the monks for a few weeks or a month, and every twenty-year-old man is obliged to live as a monk for a few days.

A What to visit: the points of interest

To visit a temple you should always pay attention to a few simple rules. To ensure that you respect the temple, keep the following points in mind:

  • always take off your shoes. Entering a temple – but also the home of every Thai – is done barefoot. Failure to do so shows disrespect for the temple. So be careful that you take off your footwear;
  • never step with your feet on the entrance sill. Step over it neatly;
  • never touch a monk as a woman. If you participate in the prayers, you will sometimes receive a string tied around your wrist. As a woman, have it tied around your partner’s wrist, because no contact is allowed with the monk;
  • be respectful. Don’t rush into taking pictures because those present are engaged in a religious activity. Ask if you can take a photo or do it inconspicuously. You will often also see a sticker asking if you can take photos. Many landmarks are very old and can be affected by frequent photo flashes;
  • always cover your shoulders when visiting a temple;
  • When you visit the large temples, you are usually required to wear long clothing so that your legs are largely covered. This does not apply to small neighborhood temples.

 

Say a prayer

If you wish, you can also participate in the prayers. Give some money, say 50 Bath, for which you will receive incense and the Lotus. Kneel before an altar (follow the rest) and say namo tassa pakka wato arra hato samma sampoet thassa three times in a row, followed by your request or prayer. End it with satoe (amen). Then stick the three incense sticks in the sand. Walk further to gold-coated statues, on which you stick the gold leaf you have obtained. Then kneel again to complete the whole thing.

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