Bangkok Temple Hopping: Wat Phra Kaew & the Royal Palace

I am told that if you can only see one temple in Bangkok, the Wat Phra Kaew in the Royal Palace is the one you pick.  Completed in 1784  under the reign of King Rama I, it is considered as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand.  The Emerald Buddha, the protective symbol of Thai society, is located there.

Wat Phra Kaew was the first temple I visited in Thailand & I was not disappointed.  I was amazed by the architecture of the temple – the symmetry, the detail, the colour.  I didn’t love the crowds or the loud tourists but, I ignored it as best as I could, & took in the beauty of Thailand’s most sacred temple.

What you Need to know about Wat Phra Kaew:

  1. TheKollektive_Bangkok_WatPhraKaew_03The Wat Phra Kaew is always busy & you can’t avoid the crowds.  I went there around 2pm & got in without a problem.
  2. It’ll cost you 400 – 500 baht to get in, that is about $10 – $13.
  3. You will spend a few hours in the temple so bring water, sunscreen & wear comfortable shoes.
  4. You must be dressed appropriately to be allowed to enter the temple grounds –  that means your knees, shoulders & mid-drift must be covered.  This applies to both men & women so wear long pants & bring something to cover your shoulders.
  5. Remember must take your shoes off before entering any temples.

Photo Diary: Wat Phra Kaew & the Royal Palace

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View of the Wat inside the grounds

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Phra Sri Rattana Chedi

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A  Thotsakhirithon, giant demon guarding an entrance

Wat Phra Kaew is much larger than it seems & everything is built closely together.  It makes it harder to capture one of the buildings in a single shot.  The crowds also make it hard to take photo’s as many people do not look where they are going, but if you are patient you can capture some great shots.

Phra Mondop & Phra Sri Rattana Chedi

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Ubosot & the Emerald Buddha

I didn’t get a picture of the Emerald Buddha, there were too many people & I didn’t feel like I needed a (bad) picture just for the sake of having it.  I preferred to just take in the moment & be present in it.  The Emerald Buddha was smaller than I expected after the size of the Ubosot, but it was made in the 1400’s & is dressed in pure gold so it is still very impressive.

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Crowds outside the Ubosot

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Detail outside of the Ubosot

Rattanakosin Style

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I loved the stacked pyramid like architecture of the buildings in Wat Phra Kaew & have now learned it is call the Rattanakosin style, the art of the Chakri Dynasty which founded Bangkok after the collapse of Ayutthaya in 1767.

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Golden Chedi

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Model of Angkor Wat

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Model of Angkor Wat

Ho Phra Khanthararat

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Ho Phra Khanthararat

Details

I’ve always loved history & architecture.  I’ve traveled in some in Europe, but Wat Phra Kaew was something else.  The brightness of the colours & the details were astounding.

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Ho Phra Monthian Tham

 

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A pair of Kinare

I don’t recall how long I spent in Wat Phra Kaew, 2 hours I think.  I could have spent more time there if it wasn’t for the crowds of yelling tourists.  This is was probably the least enjoyable aspect of the visit – the screaming tourists.   It’s unfortunate because the temple is beautiful & I would have loved to have a contemplative moment in it .. but luckily there were other temples in Bangkok that made that possible.

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View of the outside of the Royal Palace at dusk

Up next in Temple hopping in Bangkok my favourite temple, Wat Pho.

 

5 thoughts on “Bangkok Temple Hopping: Wat Phra Kaew & the Royal Palace

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