Thailand is a popular destination in South-east Asia, known for its party atmosphere and beautiful beaches. What you might not know about Thailand is you’ll never be far away from a great temple – with a staggering 40,717 Buddhist temples in the country. And with 33,902 of them still in active use today, it’s worth taking time out of your schedule to visit a few. We’ve picked six of our favourites.
- Wat Rong Khun
Starting with one of the most photographed and recognisable temples in Thailand, Wat Rong Khun is bright white with pieces of glass that have been put into the plaster to sparkle in the sun. It’s a few miles outside Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, and the walls are adorned with images of Moammar Kadafi, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Harry Potter, Hello Kitty and Freddy Krueger, in direct opposition to the more traditional styles of other Thai temples.
- Wat Pho
If you’re in Bangkok, you should visit Wat Pho. Better known as the temple of the reclining Buddha, it’s home to a 46-metre long Buddha completely covered in gold leaf. At the Buddha’s feet, there are 108 illustrations used to symbolise the actions that led the Buddha to perfection.
- Ayutthaya temples
There are few better ways to experience Thailand’s rich and fascinating history than visiting some of the many ancient ruins and temples. Ayutthaya, a UNESCO world heritage sites, comes highly recommended by 1cover. And it’s no surprise. The historic city is home to hundreds of ancient statues and ruins, including Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Mahathat.
Picturesque ruins don’t get much better than Sukhothai Historical Park, which contains the remains of dozens of 13th to 15th century temples. Many of the temples are either well preserved or restored, and have their own distinct style – most notably the presence of a walking Buddha.
- Wat Tham Pha Plong
If you’re prepared to work a bit harder, then walk up the 500 steps that lead to Wat Tham Pha Plong temple. It sits in a small cave half way up the side of a mountain and is a peaceful place to visit. There are great views of the forest below, and, if you’re lucky, you can make part in a meditation class – you’ll probably have to be willing to get up early, though.
- Panturat temple
In the jungle reserve of Khao Sok National Park, you won’t be the only visitor to Panturat temple. Hidden inside a cave, the temple and surrounding area is also home to loads of monkeys too, all of which are very friendly and will steal food from you.
Where have you visited in Thailand? Share your recommendations with us.