So you only have one day to spend in Bangkok, Thailand, and you’re overwhelmed with what you should see. Don’t stress, we have compiled a one-day-must-see-no-visit-would-be-complete-without-itinerary just for you. Along with a bit of history to ensure to galvanize all those travelers, as well as inspired travelers, to visit this glorious area.
In Thai, Buddhists temples are called Wat. Bangkok is home to hundreds of temples. Dating the Rattanakosin era, many of these temples were built by Kings of the Chakri dynasty.
Buddhist Temple Etiquette, because Accidental Offensive Behavior is Mortifying
- Due to the sacredness of these temples. Please note that there is a strict dress code. Short pants, shirts without sleeves, see through clothing, torn clothing, low cut shirts, and flip flops are considered improper and disrespectful attire. For purposes of modesty, all shirts should have a crew neck style neckline. It is most respectful if ONLY your feet, hands, neck, and face are bare, but if your arms happen to be bare as well, don’t fret it isn’t frowned upon. If you are not properly dressed, you will be denied entry. However, you can rent proper, previously worn, clothing from a booth near the entrance of the Grand Palace complex for 200 Thai Baht per person. Please note that shoes are not to be worn in the temples. They will need to be removed, as it is a sign of respect, and left outside of the main worship area. Tip: wear shoes that are easily slipped on and off. Untying and tying shoelaces will become quite an irritating inconvenience, otherwise, known as a hassle.
- Do not touch, sit near, climb on, or take a picture with your back to any Buddha statues; it is considered disrespectful. With your head lowered, humbly step back before turning away from the image. Disrespect can have legal repercussions; we wouldn’t want anyone to find out the hard way.
- Pointing is considered extremely rude. If you would like to point something out to another individual, use your right hand with the palm facing upwards, and extend all four fingers forward. Also when sitting, your feet should not be pointed at a Buddha statue, monk, or any other person; it is also considered as disrespectful.
- To display respect and politeness, make every effort to not stand while a monk is seated. If at all possible, avoid sitting higher than any monk. And when you see a monk heading your way, be the first to “Wai” and keep your body lower than theirs. In Thailand, wai is the traditional greeting, followed by the word sawasdee, which means hello. “wai” is pronounced like the English word “why”, and consists of a slight bow, with palms pressed together at your chest, and thumbs in-between your eyebrows in a prayer-like fashion; this is the most respectful way to wai. Tip: Do not wai anyone who is younger than you, unless they are a monk, of the Royal Family, or other highly respected individuals. When giving or receiving anything from a monk, only use your right hand, not your left. Women should never directly hand something to a monk, nor touch a monk. Women, avoid even brushing up against their robes. You will need to politely step to the side to gain distance between you.
- When entering a Buddhist temple, enter by stepping with your left foot first, and then exit stepping with your right. Symbolically, this gesture represents a whole. Also when walking over the threshold, do not step on it, step over it. You wouldn’t want to disturb the holy Buddhist spirits, would you?
The following are Bangkok’s must see divine landmarks: Wat Arun, Grand Palace – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho
Name: Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn
Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Yai District
Hours: opens daily from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm
Admission: 30 Thai Baht per person
One of Bangkok’s oldest and most famous photographed temples, predates the founding of Bangkok, and the beginning of the Rattanakosin era. Prevailing over its surroundings, the central prang (spire) is more than 70 meters in height. Although, this temple is also named the Temple of Dawn, the most magnificent sight along the Chao Phraya River bank as the sun sets, are the five prangs of this historical monumental landmark masterfully dominating the skyline.
Visitors are welcome to climb the three levels of the central prang. Climbing level three is unusually steep, but extremely rewarding. Not only are you greeted with an unforgettable view of the city and the Chao Phraya River. You are also greeted with accomplishment, and a bit of understanding. Reaching nirvana is the ultimate spiritual goal of Buddhism. The architectural stairs symbolize the challenges that Buddhists encounter while reaching nirvana.
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Name: Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Address: 1 Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Nakhon District
Hours: opens daily from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm
Admission: 500 Thai Baht per person
The most important Buddhist temple resides at the heart of Bangkok, in the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is 218,400 square meters of sacred sites and spectacular structures. The palace complex is comprised of four main courts: the Outer Court, the Middle Court, the Inner Court, and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Should you feel a bit overwhelmed, a map with a brochure of the complex is provided to help you find your way.
You only have time to visit one sacred place within the palace complex walls. What should you see? Most definitely the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. With a seasonal wardrobe, this Buddha image is only 75 cm in height, and carved out of one single piece of jade. Because of its green color, its creators believed the jewel to be an emerald.
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Name: Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Address: 2 Sanam Chai Road, Phra Nakhon District
Hours: opens daily 8 am until 6:30 pm, with a lunch break from noon until 1 pm
Admission: 100 Thai Baht per person
One of Bangkok’s most captivating temples, houses more than 1,000 Buddha’s. After death, the passing of a Buddha into final nirvana is represented by this 46 meters in length and 15 meters in height, massive reclining, gold plated Buddha.
This complex is the birthplace of Thai massage, and the center of traditional Thai medicine. Courses are available at the massage school to anyone who desires to learn about Thai massage. Stone statues demonstrating various techniques are found around the school.
Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise
Certainly by now, your belly’s are rumbling, and you’re wanting to relax your lower body for at least a few moments. Thank goodness you thought ahead and previously made reservations for a memorable, cultural, and romantic dinner experience aboard the Chao Phraya Princess dinner boat. You thought Bangkok was sensational in the daylight. Bangkok, on the river, at night, is phenomenal. You’ll enjoy authentic Thai cuisine, while admiring, and cherishing the amazing scenery as you slowly cruise by.
Departure Information: depart from the River City Pier adjacent to the River City Shopping Complex on Charoen Krung Road Soi 24.
- 7:00 pm check in at River City Pier
- 7:30 pm departure
- 9:30 pm arrive back at River City Pier
Rates: Adult 1,400 Thai Baht / Child (age 5-12) 1,000 Thai Baht / Toddler (age 0-4) Free
Rates include buffet style dinner and a welcome drink only.
Not exhausted yet? Bangkok has a nightlife: dancing, dance shows, rooftop bars, laid-back hangouts, and more. Make certain that you research the dress codes, as there are strict dress codes all over the city — know before you go.