:: TEMPLES

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) This famous Chao Phraya riverbank landmark diagonally opposite the Grand Palace, is best known for a porcelain encrusted 79 metre central pagoda which sparkles in the sun. The temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tian Pier near Wat Pho.

Open: Daily from 7.30 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
Admission: 20 baht
Tel: 0-2465-5640

Wat Benchamabophit Located on Si Ayutthaya Road, this unique marble temple was constructed during the reign of King Rama V. It employs European ecclesiastic details, such as stained glass windows, and contains a superb cloister collection of bronze Buddha images.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
Admission: 20 baht
Tel: 0-2281-2501, 0-2628-7947

Wat Bowon Niwet This temple is located on Phra Sumen Road in the Bang Lamphu area. Built in 1829, it is the shrine-hall of Phra Phutthachinnasi, a very beautiful Buddha image which was moulded in about 1357. This is one of the most important temples of Bangkok, whose one-time chief abbot was King Rama IV before he ascended the throne. King Rama IV and King Rama VII, as well as His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had resided here during their monkhood.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission : Free
Tel: 0-2281-2831-3

Wat Intharawihan Located on Wisutkasat Road, this temple is well known for a huge standing Buddha image called Luang Pho To. The image, built in the reign of King Rama IV, is 32 metres tall and 10 metres wide. The topknot of the Buddha image contains a relic of Lord Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.

Open: Daily from 8.30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0-2628-5550-2

Wat Mahathat This old temple was built in the reign of King Rama I. Located on Na Phrathat Road near Thammasat University, the temple houses Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, one of the two highest seats of Buddhist learning in Thailand and also offers meditation classes for foreigners.

Open: Daily from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0-2222-6011, 0-2222-8004; Meditation Centre Tel: 0-2623- 6326

Wat Pho This large and extensive temple neighbours the Grand Palace enclave on Thai Wang Road and contains a gigantic gold plated Reclining Buddha some 46 metres long and 15 metres high with inlaid mother of pearl soles. The temple is also regarded as the first centre of public education and is sometimes called ' Thailand 's first university'.

Open: Daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: 20 baht
Tel: 0-2222-0933

Wat Ratchabophit The temple is located on Fuang Nakhon Road near Wat Pho. Built by King Rama V in 1869, it was in keeping with tradition that each monarch constructed a temple to mark his reign. The temple is a mixture of local and western styles, showing an awakening interest in new ideas and a desire to experiment with them. The exterior of the chapel is in the Thai style, but the interior is decorated in the European style.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0-2222-3930, 0-2221-0904

Wat Ratchanatdaram Located on Mahachai Road, the temple was built in the reign of King Rama III in 1846. Loha Prasat, the temple's main attraction, standing 36 metres high with 37 surrounding spires, is the only one of its kind left in the world. Next to the temple is the area for welcoming an important foreign guest and a memorial statue of King Rama III.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0-2224-8807, 0-2225-5749

Wat Saket and The Golden Mount Wat Saket's major feature is the Golden Mount, dating from the 1800s. A Lanka-style chedi on the top contains relics of Lord Buddha and offers a panoramic view of historic Bangkok.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5.30 p.m.
Admission: 10 baht
Tel: 0-2621-0576

Wat Suthat and The Giant Swing Located on Bamrung Muang Road, this temple is noted for its superb 19 th century murals in the main chapel. The distinctive Giant Swing outside the temple was once used in Brahmanic ceremonies long since discontinued. Nearby shops stock a very comprehensive range of Buddhist religious supplies.

Open: Daily from 8.30 a.m.-9 p.m.
Admission: 20 baht
Tel: 0-2224-9845, 0-2222-9632 www.watsuthat.org

Wat Thepthidaram Located on Mahachai Road, the temple was built in the reign of King Rama III with a mixture of Chinese architectural styles. Sunthon Phu, one of Thailand's greatest poets, had resided in this temple during his monkhood from 1840-1842.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Free
Tel: 0 2222 5067

Wat Trai Mit Located at the end of Chinatown's Yaowarat Road near Hualamphong Railway Station, this temple houses an ancient solid gold seated Buddha image of the Sukhothai Period, three metres in height and weighing five and a half tons.

Open: Daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: 20 baht
Tel: 0-2225-9775