Locally known as Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha offers visitors an enchanting glimpse at Thailand’s spiritual side. The 94.5-hectare grounds are home to more than 100 buildings, including the Grand Palace. By far, the temple’s main attraction is the elaborately decorated Emerald Buddha. Carved from a single block of jade, the statue is one of the most highly revered Buddha images on the planet.
At 66-centimetres tall, the Buddha is depicted in a meditative yogic posture practiced by monks in the Lanna school of the north. According to historians, the ancient statue dates back to Thailand’s 15th century Lannathai kingdom. While most of the Grand Palace is off-limits to visitors, there are plenty of other gems to see. Highlights include the French-inspired Boromphiman Hall and the Amarindra Hall which is used for coronation ceremonies. For an in-depth experience, visitors can choose to hire a private tour guide or rent an audio guide.
Located in central Bangkok, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is a short taxi ride from most major tourist districts. Chang Pier, Maharaj Pier, and Phra Chan Tai Pier service water buses, while Saphan Taksin Station on the BTS Silom Line is just minutes away.
Officially consecrated in 1782, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha has been considered a spiritual site since the first year of Bangkok rule. Today, it’s not only one of Bangkok's keynote tourist attractions but is a mecca for Buddhist pilgrims. Visitors should note that due to the temple’s spiritual significance, a modest dress code is enforced. For those who want to beat the heat, sarongs are also available to rent.