Places of Ancient Wisdom, Astounding Architecture, and Rich Cultural Significance – Temples of Thailand.
The oldest temple in Thailand was built in the 1600s. These places of incredible artwork and architecture have been lived at and worshipped in for hundreds of years.
Simply stepping inside one you can feel the gentle hush of peaceful wisdom embedded in the very walls. When visiting Thailand it’s a must to take some time to enjoy the effort that went into creating these architectural delights.
We’re guessing you didn’t know there are 40,717 Buddhist temples of Thailand and 33,902 of them are actively used on a daily basis. Thailand’s largest organized spiritual focus is Buddhism. The awe-inspiring temples and time spent praying in them are part of everyday life.
Thai people come to the temples to meditate and commune with Buddha and other spiritual forces for help with relationships, health, spiritual connection, and to seek consultation and counselling for their practice from the monks.
Temples of Thailand Contain Powerful Symbols Inside and Out
Thai Theravada Buddhism and Hindu cultures have blended over time and you will often see Hindu images in Thailand’s temples even though the culture is overwhelmingly Buddhist. Along with a wide variety of representations of Buddha, you can see sculptures and images of Vishnu, Shiva, and many variations of the elephant God Ganesh.
Interestingly enough you may also see the mysterious Nāga, which appears as a snake, dragon or cobra and whom you may recognize as being the inspiration for the character Nagini from the Harry Potter novels!
Temples of Thailand are magnets for tourists because they are truly some of the most incredible and impressive structures to see anywhere in the world. In Chiang Rai, Wat Rong Khun or ‘The White Temple’ is almost surreal in its glorious beauty.
The temple sparkles like glitter in the sun. The effects come from bits of glass mixed with its pure white plaster. You really can’t help but find solace in the creative inspiration of this, only one of the thousands, of impressive temples.
Temples of Thailand are truly works of art. There are multiple roof tiers with complex edges and patterns. Any building of importance will have these kinds of roof layers. They are architectural wonders and places of spiritual significance decorated with symbols, massive gold Buddha statues, and fantastic colors on nearly every surface.
Glass and other reflective surfaces are thought to help repel negativity and evil spirits. Because of this, you will often see glass, glittering surfaces, and lots of mirrors such as at the White Temple and other temples. Even if you aren’t Buddhist, as most of Thailand is, you won’t want to miss the absolute grandeur of these temples.
Temples of Thailand Remind Us to Slow Down and Be Grateful.
How many months slip by in a blur while you see only the same old sights around you, experience the same old daily routine, and take the people around you for granted?
We can feel bored and listless when we don’t get enough “beauty breaks”, gratitude practice, and opportunities to see life from a fresh perspective. Much too often we forget to count our blessings and regulalry express appreciation to our loved ones.
Times have been restrictive during the pandemic and for a lot of us life feels exhausting but the good news is Thailand’s temples can rejuvenate your soul and remind you to take a moment of silence to really consider the wonder and beauty in the world and in our personal lives.
The quiet and cool interiors are immediately relaxing, a refreshing break in a day of activities and sightseeing to be sure. Usually tranquil inside, you may want to simply wander the grounds and slowly absorb the sights and sounds. This alone can be a sublime meditative experience, regardless of your spiritual or religious views.
While temples of Thailand are a sight for the eyes, the deeply humble spiritual energy of them is solace for the soul and is waiting to restore your faith in the oneness of life.
Visiting any one of Thailand’s temples can unwind tension in your body you didn’t even realize you were carrying. Come wander, or sit and meditate in these ancient and sacred spaces to access the profound peace you’ve been searching to find.
Ways to Honor and Pay Respect While Visiting Temples
Here are a few guidelines to follow when visiting temples of Thailand and while these aren’t rules per se it serves everyone to display appropriate respect for other cultures, especially in their sacred spaces like temples and stupas.
Please Do These:
- Take off your hats, sunglasses, and shoes when entering the prayer hall.
- Silence your phone and talk, only if you must, using the same voice you’d use at the library or in your own churches or temples of thailand.
- No whispering, giggling, chit-chatting, gossiping, etc. Save spilling the tea and other commentaries for later.
- Step over the threshold into the temple, not on the wood.
- Rise when monks or nuns enter the room.
- Ask permission before taking photos of monks or nuns and please never while anyone is actively worshipping. Temples of Thailand.
Please Don’t Do These
- Point at a monk or Buddha statue, with anything such as fingers, cell phones, or worst of all feet. Pointing is quite rude.
- Touch or turn your back to an image or statue of Buddha and certainly not for a selfie. Back away from statues a few steps before turning and walking away.
- No smoking, spitting, chewing gum, or snacking. Theravada monks often do not eat after lunch.
- Interrupt or disturb the monks or anyone else who has come to worship.
- Follow the dress codes whenever possible. In general, men are best off wearing long pants and sleeved shirts. Women should wear long skirts or long pants to cover up their knees and please no tight leggings. Cover shoulders and leave the see-through clothes at your hotel. Basically, if you’d wear it on the beach don’t wear it to the temples. Temples of Thailand.
Temples of Thailand.
Want to go the extra mile? When you see a monk or nun, show them the traditional greeting of wai. To do this, press both of your palms together in front of you like you’re praying and bow your body forward slightly. The higher you hold your prayer hands the more respect is offered. You can even raise them to forehead level!
Keep an eye out for donation boxes. Almost every temple has a metal box somewhere for public donations.
Temples like most places of worship are quite dependent on the generosity of others. Giving a small amount actually goes a long way and why not? Chances are you’ve had a great experience being there.
The long-lasting temples of Thailand are testaments to human creativity, architectural ingenuity, and the uniquely human desire to make our surroundings beautiful through art. They have stood for hundreds of years and served as places for spiritual practice long before us and will do so long after us.
The jaw-dropping architecture, artwork, statues often covered in gold leaf can’t be seen anywhere else in the entire world. Get up close and personal with these bastions of grace and beauty while you’re visiting Thailand on your next vacation. When you come to Thailand be sure to book a Phuket scuba diving trip with us at Thailand Divers!