Buddhism in Thailand is clearly shown throughout, from the past to the present. The country is not only famous for its abundant natural resources, but it is also well-known for its precious cultural heritage that evidently displayed in Thai architecture and artwork.

While one of the most notable Thai legacies is the glorious Wat Phra Kaew, there are more amazing temple sites in Thailand that visitors should not miss experiencing. Here is a list of the eleven must visit temple sites in Thailand. Do not forget to read the do’s & don’ts before visiting the temples.

1. Wat Phra Kaew

This so-called Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Bangkok’s most important temple. Situated within the grounds of the Grand Palace, the primary attraction of Wat Phra Kaew is the Emerald Buddha. The Buddha Image is famous due to its artistic beauty that the whole statue was carved out of a massive block of jade.

First discovered in 1464 in Chiang Rai, the Buddha was temporarily housed in Laos before finding its way back to Chiang Rai and finally finding a permanent home in Bangkok.

From the 2KM long gallery and it’s amazingly detailed mural paintings to the tall chedis around every corner, covered in gold leaves, making Wat Phra Kaew is a top of the must-see list.

2. Wat Pho

Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok Thailand

The name Wat Pho was adopted from an Indian monastery where the Buddha supposedly lived. One of the oldest temples in the country, the so-called Temple of the Reclining Buddha shelters an impressive 15 meters high Buddha image, covered with gold leaves and mother-of-pearl decorations. Wat Pho is situated next to the grand palace.

Along with the thousands of Buddha images and numerous chedis, Wat Pho is home to the first ever Thai Massage school, located in an open air hall outside the temple.

3. Wat Arun

Situated on the Thonburi side of Bangkok just opposite side of Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is the country’s most iconic temple that was constructed in the 17th century. Constituting the central Prang and surrounded by four smaller faience encrusted towers, the so-called Temple of Dawn boasts a view that makes the steep climb to the top worth the effort.

During the daytime, Wat Arun stunningly stands tall acting as a beautiful background of the Chao Phraya River while during the night its decoration made of glass and mirrors reflecting with light sparkling through the dark sky.

4. Wat Saket

Wat Saket is a home to the famous Golden Chedi known as the golden mountain. Wat Saket was constructed atop a high hill within Bangkok’s old city. King Rama III’s first attempts at building Wat Saket were met with failure. The chedi collapsed due to the soft ground. It wasn’t until the reign of Kings’ Rama IV and Rama V that Wat Saket finally saw the light of day.

Known as the Golden Mount by locals, the temple becomes lively during November with the grand temple fair. The fair is very famous nationwide; there are many food, drinks, clothes and other products selling at the market. However, the highlight of the event is a chance to pay homage to the golden chedi on top of the mount.

On top of Wat Saket boasts a perfect panoramic view of Bangkok. From there, visitors will be able to see the river, charming local residences and vast temple’s areas.

5. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

This is a sacred site for many people in Thailand. Located 15 KM from Chiang Mai City, the temple is believed to have been founded in 1383. Easily reached by the road from Chiang Mai, tourists intent upon reaching the Pagodas will have to climb the 309 steps (or use the tram), though the effort is worth the sight waiting at the end. Proper dressing is required before entering the temple, and footwear is forbidden on the Pagoda level. Visitors can expect to encounter museums, magnificent Buddha statues, and shrines.

The highlight of this temple is Phra That which is the chedi where it houses Buddha relics. The giant stupa is painted in gold, making it look as if it were made of gold.

6. Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun is identified as the white temple, privately owned art exhibit, styled like a Buddhist temple. Located in the Chiang Rai province, the temple has been open to visitors since 1997. Fans of its artistic offers owe their thanks to one Chalermchai Kositpipat, who rebuilt the temple, which had fallen into disrepair by the end of the 20th century. Works are still ongoing. Once completed, the temple will have nine buildings.

7. Wat Srisuphan

The silver temple is located South of Chiang Mai’s old town, along Wualai Road. Founded in 1501, the temple has been redesigned and renovated a number of times. Its most recent reincarnation utilizing silver designs, this resulting in a shimmering image. It is important to know that women are not allowed to enter the main ordination Hall as the hall is considered the working area of monks and women shouldn’t be around.

Wat Srisuphan is a celebration of the silversmith traditions of old, availing a wide variety of handcrafted works of great beauty.

8. Ayutthaya Historical Park

This site encompasses the ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350 by King Ramathibodi I. The park has existed under the reign of 35 Kings. A portion of the park was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1991, which includes places like Wat Mahathat and Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit.

9. Sukhothai Historical Park

This particular attraction encompasses the ruins of Sukhothai (capital of the kingdom of Sukhothai in the 13th and 14th centuries). Situated in Northern Thailand, near modern Sukhothai city, the park is a UNESCO world Heritage site, receiving myriads of visitors every year, most of who are drawn towards the aging Buddha figures and ruined temples.

10. Wat Chalong

Wat Chalong is the most respectable site in Phuket. The temple earns reputation from its past as it was once led by the famous monk who dedicated himself to help the community.

The highlight of Wat Chalong is the outstanding pagoda Phramahathatchedi-Jomthaibarameepragat, which houses Buddha relics. The golden chedi is beautifully decorated with red and golden colours. Visitors can visit the interior areas of the stupa that has a wall painting telling a story of Lord Buddha.

For history lovers, there is a museum showing a timeline of the temple history with a human-sized wax model of monks stayed at Wat Chalong in the past. To see more temples to visit in Phuket, click here.

11. Wat Phra Yai

Located on a small, rocky island of Koh Samui, Wat Phra Yai or the Big Buddha Temple is famous among locals and tourists due to its stunning gigantic size that can be seen from afar. The focal point of the temple is the golden Buddha Image. It was built in 1972 and since then the statue became Koh Samui landmark that travellers have to come visit when in Koh Samui.

Around the temple premises, there are several shops selling religious artefacts, amulets and souvenir shops. Big Buddha Temple also boasts an incredible view of the Gulf of Thailand. You would not wonder why it’s one of the most famous temples in Koh Samui.