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Spiritual Bangkok

Destination(s): Bangkok

If you look past the traffic and bright lights, Bangkok has an intensely spiritual undertone. This day trip takes you to some of the most important spiritual and religious sites of the city. Perfect for the cultural explorer who wants to learn a thing or two about Thailand's Buddhist heritage. read more about Spiritual Bangkok

Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park

  • Entrances on Rama IV Road, Sarasin Road, Wireless Road and Ratchadamri Road
  • tel:+66 2 694 1222 (Tourism Authority of Thailand)
  • Visit website
  • Bangkok, 10330

Smack in the heart of the city lies Lumphini Park, an oasis of nature within bustling Bangkok. The first of its kind in Bangkok, plans for the public park began in 1925. Lumphini Park is named after the Buddha's birthplace and covers approximately 58 hectares, gracing the city with greenery and waterways for picnics, pick-up sports and paddleboat rides. Early mornings are unforgettable: hordes of fitness group regulars engage in synchronized aerobics, while others jog peacefully and practice tai chi. Lumphini Park is a great place to take a timeout during a long day of sightseeing. read more about Lumphini Park

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)

Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)

  • 69 Rama V Road, Chitralada
  • Corner of Sri Ayutthaya and Rama V Roads
  • tel:+66 2 282 7413
  • Visit website
  • Bangkok, 10300
Wat Pho

Wat Pho

  • 2 Sanamchai Road
  • Phra Borommaharatchawang Sub-District
  • tel:+66 2 222 5910 / +66 2 226 2942 / +66 2 226 1743 / +66 2 225 9595
  • Visit website
  • Bangkok, 10200

Over 200 years old, Wat Pho is one of Bangkok's largest and oldest temple complexes. For an entry fee of 50 baht, visitors can roam the grounds with or without a guide, stopping along the way at numerous notable temples and sites. The most famous of Wat Pho's relics is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, wherein lies an impressive 46 meter-long gold-plated image of a reclining Buddha. A first grade royal monastery, Wat Pho is also Thailand's oldest learning center and the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Take a Chao Phraya River ferry to Tha Thien (pier). The Grand Palace is a short walk from Wat Pho. You can also cross the river from the pier to see Wat Arun. Beware that scam artists (often tuk-tuk drivers) will try to claim that the temple is closed for the day. Don't believe it.

[Note: Pho is pronounced with a P like Paul not an F like a Vietnamese noodle soup]
read more about Wat Pho

Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha)

Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha)

  • Na Phralan Road
  • Phra Borommaharatchawong
  • tel:+66 2 222 0094 / +66 2 222 6889 / +66 2 222 2208
  • Visit website
  • Bangkok, 10200

Call it the holy of the holies. This 45-centimeter tall statue of the sitting Buddha is carved from jasper and is only "emerald" in color. Nevertheless its importance is such that only the King of Thailand may go near it and he does so three times a year to change its golden clothing. The temple is right next to the Grand Palace and both are part of a sprawling 1.5 square kilometer collection of buildings. Murals adorn the temple's walls with scenes from the Ramakian, what in India would be the Ramayana. Visitors must cover up -- no bare shoulders or legs -- and some rental clothing is available for anyone who didn't plan ahead. Audio tours can be rented.

read more about Wat Phra Kaew (Emerald Buddha)

Lingam Shrine

Lingam Shrine

  • Wireless Road, Nai Lert Park
  • (Behind the Hilton International Hotel)
  • tel:+66 2 226 0060 (Tourist Information Center)
  • Bangkok, 10330

Also called Chao Mae Tubtim Shrine, Lingam Shrine is a unique quick-stop while downtown. Next to a canal, the shrine is very small and consists of innumerable phallic offerings. Believers visit Lingam shrine to honor the female deity Jao Mae and ask for fertility, luck or good fortune. The phalluses come in every shape, size and material imaginable and definitely provide for a light-hearted cultural site. read more about Lingam Shrine

World Fellowship of Buddhists

World Fellowship of Buddhists

  • 616 Sukhumvit Road, Soi Medhinivet
  • (At the back of Benjasiri Park, beside the Emporium)
  • tel:+66 2 661 1284-90
  • Visit website
  • Bangkok, 10110
Erawan Shrine

Erawan Shrine

  • 494 Ratchawithi Road (corner of Ploenchit and Ratchiwithi)
  • (Next to the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel)
  • tel:+66 2 225 7612(Tourist Information)
  • Bangkok, 10330

In the middle of the glitz and traffic of downtown commercial Bangkok stands Erawan Shrine, a very unique place of worship that is a must-see. Devoted to the Hindu god Brahma, Erawan Shrine was built in 1956 to honor the spirits that once resided in trees that were chopped down during construction of the nearby Erawan Hotel. Nowadays, the shrine is constantly flooded with worshippers praying for good fortune as they burn incense, light candles and place carnation garlands at offering tables. Traditional Thai dancers perform on a stage around the clock, and tourists are welcomed to partake in the spirituality. The open-air fills with pleasant scents and the good vibes are abundant. Erawan Shrine is a Bangkok must. read more about Erawan Shrine