Wat Phra Kaeo
The temple of the Emerald Buddha,
Wat Phra Kaeo; officially called Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram or known generally among foreigners as The temple of the Emerald Buddha, adjoining the Grand Palace on the same ground, was complete and consecrated in 1784, two years after King Rama 1 had ascended the throne.
over 100 buildings that represent 200 year of royal history and architectural experimentation. Most of the architecture is of Bangkok or Rattanakosin style.
What Phra Kaeo is regarded as the most significant of all Thai temples, and the small green-jjade statue of the Buddha, high on its golden altar in the Chapel Royal, is the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand. When the statue was first found in 1434, it was covered i stucco. Years later, the stucco started to crumble away and several miracles occurred, giveing the Buddha a reputation for bringing good fortune. Today, thousands of worshippers pay their respects in front of the statue. The late Ayutthaya-style murals on the surrounding walls depict the lives of Buddha, and the superb door panels with mother-of-pearl inlay illustratestarted scenes from the Ramakian, the Thai version of the indian Ramayana.
The golden outer walls and gilded angles reflect the sun, while bells along the roof-line give voice to the wind. On the upper terrace, next to the Chapel Royal, are three other very sacred buildings: the Royal Pantheon, surrounded by gilded male and female Kinnaree, half-human-half bird figures, which holds the Tripitaka, the sacred Buddhist scriptures; and the impressive golden Phra Si Rattana Chedi which houses ashes of Buddha. The nearby model of Cambodia\\'s Angkor Wat is a reminder that Cambodia was once under Thai rule. The whole ground is enclosed by galleries decorated with superb murals depicting the Ramakian.
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Wat Phra Chetuphon
Wat Pho or Wat Phra Chetuphon, the oldest and largest Wat in Bangkoks, was built in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya period and then almost completely rebilt in 1781 by King Rama I. It features the largest reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and was the earliest centre for public education.
Chetuphon Road divides the grounds in two, with each section surrounded by huge whitewashed walls. The most interesting part is the northern compound, which includes a very large Bot, the hall enclosed by a gallery of Buddha images and four Wihan; four large Chedis commemorating the first three Chakri kings (Rama III has two chedis); 91 smaller Chedis, an old Tripitaka (Buddhist scriptures) library; a sermon hall; the large Wihan, which houses the reclining Buddha, and a school building for classes in Abhidhama (Buddhist philosophy), plus several less important structures. Wat Pho is the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional. Thai medicine, including Thai massage. A massage school convenes in the afternoons at the eastern end of the compound; a massage costs 180 baht per hour and 100 baht for a half hour. You can also study massage in seven to 10-day courses.
The tremendous reclining Buddha, 46 metres long and 15 metres high, illustrates the passing of the Buddha into Parinibbana (post-death nirvana).
The figure is modelled out of plaster around a brick core and finished in gold leaf. Mother-of-pearl image, the feet displaying 108 different auspicious characteristics of a Buddha. The images on display in the four Wihans surrounding the main Bot in the eastern part of the compound are interesting. Particularly beautiful are the Phra Buddha Jinnarat and Phra Buddha Chinna-si, in the west and south chapels, both from Sukhothai.
The galleries extending between the four chapels feature no less than 394 gilded Buddha images. King Rama I\\'s remained are interred in the base of the presiding Buddha image in the Bot.
Wat Pho is opened daily from 08:00 to 17:00; The admission fee is 20 baht. The ticket booth is closed from noon until 13:00 hours. Tel. 0-2222-0933 Bus No. 1, 19, 32, 44, 53, 57, 82, Air-conditioned Bus No. 12, 82
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The Temple of Dawn
Wat Arun, or The temple of Dawn is named after the Indian god of dawn, Aruna. It appears in all the tourist brochures and is located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. King Tak Sin chose this 17th century Wat for his royal temple and palace as it was the first place in Thonburi to catch the morning light.
The Emerald Buddha was housed here, after it was recaptured from Laos, before being moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in 1785.
Even without the sacred statue, Wat Arun continued to be much revered, and theKings Rama II and Rama III reconstructed and enlarged it to its present height of 104 metres. Today, Wat Arun has a long, elongated, Khmerstyle, Prang, the tower, and four minor towers symbolising Mount Meru, the terrestrial representation of the thirty-three heavens.
The Prang are covered with pieces of porcelain, which Chinese boats coming to Bangkok used as ballast. The Main Prang, steep steps lead to the two terraces that form the base of the Prang. The different layers, or heavens, are supported by Kinnari, or half human-half bird, and frightening Yaksas, or demons. Pavilions on the first platform contain statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of his life, while on the second terrace four statues of the Hindi god Indra or Erawan, his thirty-three headed elephant, stand guard. Most tourists come for the climb and don't have time for the rest of the Wat. The main Buddha image inside the Bot is believed to have been designed by King Rama II himself, but the murals date from the reign of King Rama V.
Wat Arun is opened daily from 08:30 to 17:30 hours admission is 20 baht. To reach Wat Arun from Bangkok side, catch a cross-river ferry from Tha Tien at Thai Wang road. Crossings are frequent and cost only 1 baht.
For more information : Tel 0-2891-1149 Bus No. 19, 57, 83. Air-conditioned Bus No. 7, 73
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Wat Benchama Bophit
This Wat is made of white Carrana marble, so hence its tourist name, Marble Temple; this most recent of royal Wats was built at the turn of century under King Rama V.
The largest Bot is a prime example of modern Thai architecture. The courtyard behind the Bot exhibits 53 Buddha images (33 originals and 20 copies, representing famous images and styles from all over Asia, Thailand and other Buddhist countries. It is an excellent place to watch religious festivals and moonlit processions. Unlike most other temples, monks don't go out seeking alms but are instead visited by merit-makers between 06:00 and 07:00 hours.
The main buildingis open to visitors until 5.00 pm.
There is an admission charge of 20 baht.
Tel. 0-2281-3277, 0-2282-7413
Bus No. 5, 16, 23, 50, 70, 72, 99, 201
Air-conditioned Bus No. 3, 5, 9, 70, 72, 505, 509
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Wat Saket is an undistinguished temple except for the Golden Mountain or Phu Khao Thong, on the West side of the grounds. The steep climb up the Golden Mountain puts everything back in perspective and offers views over Rattanakosin Island that are simply stunning. The artificial hill was created when a large Chedi under construction by King Ramam III collapsed because the soft soil beneath would not support it. The resulting nud-and-brick hill was left to sprout weeds until King Ramam IV built a small Chedi on its crest.
King Rama V later added to the structure and housed a Buddha relic from India in the Chedi. The concrete walls were added during World War II to prevent the hill from eroding.
Every November a largefestival, held on the groundof Wat Saket, includes a candlelight procession up the Golden Mountain.
Admission to WatSaket is free except for the final approach to the Golden Mountain summit, which costs 10 baht.
Opened daily from 8.00 am. to 9.00 pm.
Tel. 0-2233-4561, 0-2621-0576
Bus No. 8, 15, 37, 47, 49
Air-conditioned Bus No. 38, 49
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(The Giant Swing)
Wat Suthat is featured as Bangkok's tallest Wiharn and houses a 17th centrry Buddha statue from the courtyard is filled with odd statues of scholars and sailors, brought as ballast in rice boats returning from China, while the doors of the Wat have been carved by King Ramam II. In an annual ceremony to celebrate the rice harvest that was still observed just before World War II, men used to ride on the Giant Seing and try to grab a bag of silver coins attached to a pole; only the teak arch remains. In front of the temple is the famous Giant Swing. Many shops surrounding Wat Suthat stock a very comprehensive range of Buddhist ecclesiastic supplies.
The temple complex is open daily from 9.00-17.00 hours; The admission fee is 20 baht.
Tel. 0-2222-9632, 0-2224-9845
Bus No. 10, 12, 19, 35, 42, 56, 96
Air-conditioned Bus No. 42, 96, 508
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Across Maha Chai road from Wat Saket is Wat Ratchanatda. This temple dates from the mid 19th century. Built under King Rama III's reign, it is an unusual specimen, possibly influenced by Burmese models. Loha Prasat (Metal Palace), one of ots tourist attractions with 37 surrounding spires and a total height of 36 metres, is the only one of its kind existing in the world.
The Wat has a well-known market selling Buddhist amulets or magic charms in all sizes, shapes and styles. The amulets not only feature images of the Buddha, but famous Thai monks and Indian deities. Full Buddha images are also for sale. In Thai, Buddhas or Phra Phim are never bought or sold, they are rented. The images are purported to protect the wearer from physical harm, though some act as "love charms" Amulets that are considered to be particularly powerful tend to cost thousands of baht and Wat Ratchanatda is an expensive place to purchase a charm, but a good place to look around.
Opened daily from 8.00 am. to 8.00 pm. for interested visitors. Tel. 0-2224-8807, 0-2225-5769
Bus No. 2, 5, 12, 15, 33, 35, 39, 42, 44, 47, 56, 59, 60 ,70, 79, 201, 203
Air-con-Bus No. 3, 5, 9, 11, 12, 17, 32, 38, 39, 44, 68, 79
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Wat Bowonniwet is the national headquarters for the Thammayut monastic sect, the minority sect Maha Nikai Buddhism.
King Mongkut, founder of the Thammayuts, began a royal tradition by ersiding here as a mong; but in fact, he was the abbot of this wat for several years. His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralingkorn, as well as several other males in the royal family, have temporarily ordained as monks here.
The temple was founded in 1826, when it was known as Wat Mai. Bangkok\\'s second Buddhist university, Maha-makut University, is housed at Wat Bowonniwet. Across the street from the main entrance to the wat are an English-language Buddhist bookshop and a Thai herbal clinic.
Opened daily from 8.00 to 9.00 pm.
for interested visitors. Tel. 0-2281-2831
Bus No. 12, 15, 56, 68
Air-conditioned Bus No. 11, 33, 38, 68
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Wat Maha That
Temple of the Creat Relic
Founded in the 1700s, Wat Maha That is a national centre for the Maha Nikai monastic sect and houses one of Bangkok's two Buddhist universities, Maha That Rat-chawitthayalai. On weekends, a large produce market is held on the grounds. Opposite the main entrance on the other side of Maharat road is a large religious market slling amulets, or magic charms.
The temple is open to visitors from 09.00 to 17.00 hours every day and on Wan Phra-Buddhist lent days (the full and new moons every fortnight).
Also in the temple grounds is a daily open-air market that features traditional thai herbal medicine.
The monastery's International Buddhist Meditation centre offers meditation instruction in English on the second
saturday of every month from 14.00 to 18.00 hours in the Dhamma Vicaya Hall. Those interested in more intensive instruction should contact the monks in section 5 of the temple compound.
Tel. 0-2221-5999, 0-2224-1415, 0-2222-7954
Bus No. 1, 3, 7, 9, 15, 25, 30, 32, 33, 39, 43, 44, 47, 53, 59, 60, 64, 65, 70, 80, 82
Air-con-Bus No. 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 25, 39, 44, 70, 203
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Wat Rachapradit Sathitmaha-simaram.
The temple is situated at the northern part of Suan Saran Rom Royal garden in the land area of approximately 2 rai which is relatively small for being a temple compound. It was constructed during the reign of King Rama IV who wanted to make it a Thamma-yut sect temple pursuant of the customary practise that in the capital city of the Kingdom there must be at least three eminent temples. Out of his private property he bought the plot of land which was known as Suan Cafe Luang andhad a small temple erected under the name of Wat Ratchapradit Sathit Thammayutthikaram.
The most outstanding Characteristic of the temple is the mural paintings in the main abbey depicting the Royal ceremonies undertaken throughout the 12 months including the legend of the eclipse of the sun phenomenon which occurred during the reign of King Rama IV.
Opened daily from 9.00 am. to 9.00 pm. for interested visitors.
Tel. 0-2223-8215, 0-2622-0744
Bus No. 2, 60
Air-conditioned Bus No. 1, 2, 12
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The temple is situated at Maha Chai road. His Majesty the late King Rama III had erected it between 1836 and 1839. It was graciously granted to Krommuen Upson Sudathep and named Wat Thepthidaram.
The exquisite designs in this temple constitute the four directional Stupa created by court artisans during the reign of King Rama III, the throne where the presiding Buddha's image was enshrined and the mural painting in the sanctuary hall featuring rice balls put up incone-shpaed receptacles called Phum Khao Bin.
During the period 1840 to 1842, a leading poet of the Rattanakosin Era, Sunthon Phu, used to reside in this temple during hismonkhood. A monk's living quarters is thus arranged as "Ban Kawi" or Poet's House Museum.
Opened daily from 8.00 to 9.00 pm.
for interested visitors.
Bus No. 5, 35, 56
Air-Conditioned Bus No.
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Chao Phraya Nikornbordin (Toe Kanlayanamit) dedicated his house and bought land in the Kuti Jeen area to found the temple in 1825. King Rama III built Phra Wihan Luang where the principal Buddha image is enshrined.
Later, King Rama IV renamed the image Praputthatrirattananayok. The Ubosot were bricks and stucco in Chinese style, the pediment decorated with stucco work in flower motifs and Chinese glazed tiles.
The mural painting depicting the Buddha's life story have almost completely faded.
The temple open daily from 6.00 am. to 6.00 pm
Tel. 0-2466-5018, 0-2890-1270
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During the reign of King Taksin, this temple was where Burmese prisoners of war from Bang Kaew Camp were executed. It was founded in the Ayutthaya period and was initially called Wat Thong.
It was dismantled and rebuilt during the restorations made in the reign of KingRama III. It was formerly the site of Royal Cremation Cround for members of the Royal family and high-ranking officers, and was used for this purpose until the reign of King Rama V.
The main chapel (Ubosot) has porches at the front and rear. The roof is decorated with chorfa, garuda head finials, bairaka leaf-like decorations and glass mosaic.
Inside the chapel are murals by Master Thongyu and Master Kongpae, the famous artists in the reign of King Rama III.
For more information : Tel. 0-2434-7791
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Formerly callled Wat Samjeentai, this temple was built around 150 years ago. It was restored in 1937 and granted the new name of Wat Trimitwitthayaram.
The main attraction of the temple is the five-ton, three-metre tall Sukhothai-style Buddha image made of solid gold Phra Sukhothaitrimit known as the Golden Buddha. The image was once believed to be of ordinary stucco by means of protecting it from the Burmese while the capital of Ayutthaya was under siege.
Open daily from 08.00-17.00 hours.
Admission fee 20 baht. Tel. 0-2623-1279, 0-2225-9775
Bus No. 4, 7, 35, 40, 73 Air-conditioned Bus No. 1, 7, 73
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Formerly named Wat Jomthong, this small but historically important temple was built on the western bank of Sanamchai Canal in the Ayutthaya period, and later appointed as the Royal temple of King Ramam III. The King favoured the Chinese style, and this distinguishes its builings and interiors.
This is the first temple wihtout such traditional decorations as chorfa, bairaka or hanghong. However, the Thai and Chinese styles harmonise well.
Open daily from 08.00-18.00 hours.
Free admission. Tel. 0-2415-2286, 0-2893-7274
Bus No. 10, 43, 120 Air-conditioned Bus No. Po.9
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The site of this temple was originally a coffee plantation. King Rama IV believed that traditional Royal ceremonies in the city required three temples, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchapradit. As Bangkok had neither a Wat Ratchapradit nor a Thammayut Nikai teple near the GrandPalace, the King bought the land to give to the Thammayut sect to build the temple.
Open daily from 08.00 - 19.00 hours.
Free admission. Tel. 0-2223-8215, 0-2622-0744
Bus No. 2, 60 Air-conditioned Bus No. 1, 2, 512
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This Dhammayut sect Royal temple was built in 1853 by command of King Rama IV as a memorial to Queen Sommanat Vadhanawadi.
Ubosot : The main chapel is surrounded by a traditional boundary wall. Placed on the wall facing in eight directions are semas, ogival stones used to indicate the boundary of the ubosot.
Open daily from 08.30-20.00 hours.
Free admission. Tel. 0-2282-7944, 0-2282-9137
Bus No. 5, 10, 15, 47, 48, 50, 70, 201
Air-conditioned Bus No. 3, 5, 9
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Located in Bangkhunphrom area on Wisutkasat Road. Wat Indravihan is well-known for its huge standing Buddha image. The image of Buddha-Siariya-Metriya is 32 metres tall (108.99 feet) and 10 metres and 24 inches wide (40.09 feet)
This Buddhist monument was built during the reign of King Ramam IV. The topknot of the Buddha image contains the Lord Buddha's relic brought from SriLanka. The temple is open to the public everyday. Free admission.
Tel. 0-2281-1406, 0-2282-0461
Bus No. 3, 9, 30, 32, 33, 43, 49, 53, 64, 65
Air-conditioned Bus No. 6, 17
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King Rama V ordered this to be the first temple built after he came to the throne. It was to commemorate the Queen and his concubines. It later became the temple of King Rama VII.
Exterior of the main chapel is Thai, but the interior is European in style. The patterns copy Royal decorations in mother of pearl. The door frames are an important example of the Rattanakosin style.
Open daily from 09.00-18.00 hours. Free admission.
Tel. 0-2222-3930, 0-2221-0904 Bus No. 2, 60
Air-conditioned Bus No. 1, 2, 512
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The temple was re-establised from the former Wat Samor-rai, by Somdej Chao Phraya Maha Surasinghanat. Renovations was made again by King Ramam IV who also renamed the temple Wat Rachatiwatwihan, which means the temple where the king resides.
The instruction hall, is a large teak Ayutthaya style building redesigned by HRH Prince Naris, who imitated the design of the instruction hall of Wat Suwannaram in Petchburi.
The hall is praise the biggest and most beautiful wooden structure in the Far East.
Open daily from 08.30 -18.00 hours. Free admission.
Tel. 0-2243-2125 Bus No. 3, 6, 19, 30, 32, 33, 46, 64, 64
Air-conditioned Bus No. 505, 506
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The temple was built by command of King Rama V. The king dedicated it to his mother, the late Queen
Thepsirindhra, and named it in her memory. Ubosot, this chapel is one of the most outstanding architectural treasures of the Fama V period. The doors and windows are decorated with gilded lacquer, the ceiling is decorated with carvings depicting Royal decorations, and many famous Buddha images are enshrined in it.
Open daily from 07.00-18.00 hours. Free admission.
Tel. 0-2221-8877, 0-2222-0700 Bus No. 7, 15, 47, 48, 53, 204
Air-conditioned Bus No. 8, 15, 38, 47
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The temple, formerly named Wat Bangwayai was built in the Ayutthaya period. It was restored and appointed a Royal temple by King Taksin of Thonburi who also sponsored the revision of the tripitaka scriptures at the temple.
During the reign of King Rama I, a melodious rakhang or bell was found in the temple compound.
The King order it to be moved to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and had five new bells sent back in exchange. The king then changed the temple's name to Wat Rakhangkositaram.
In the reign of King Rama IV the name was to be changed again to Wat Rajkanthiyaram (kanthi meaning bell). But people did not accept this name, and the temple is still called Wat Rakhang today.
Ubosot, this is in the style of King Rama I's reign. Its three-tiered roof is decorated in Thai style, and the murals are by Phra Wanwadwichit, a great artist of the King Ramam VI era.
Hor Rakhang, the belfry is the symbol of this temple, built in the four-gable style of the late Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods.
Hor Trai, the scriptures hall consists of three adjoining buildings with a common corridor and is also in the late Ayutthaya/early Rattanakosin style.
This former residence of King Ramam I has been declared one of the most outstanding examples of Thai architecture.
Open daily from 06.00-18.00 hours. Free admission.
Tel. 0-2411-2255, 0-2418-2729 Bus No. 19, 57, 83
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Thammasamathiwat or PhoChang, a Chinese spiritual master who was also the first abbot of the teple, built this Chinese-Tibetan style temple in 1959.
Ubosot : The architectural style of the main chapel is a mixture of Chinese and Thai styles. Door and window panels are decorated with fine painting and sculpture.
Principal Buddha Image : Named by king Rama IX Phra Phutthawatcharaphothikhun, it is enshrined in the chapel which contains 500 other Buddha images.
Sala Thammanusorn : The pavilion houses 7,240 texts of the Mahayanist version of the Tripitaka, the Chinese Republic version.
Wihan of the Cuardian Angels : Contains guilded stucco statues of four Chinese angels and the Maitriya, the next incarnation of the Lord Buddha.
The Wihan of the Great Teachers houses the image of the first abbot.
from 07.00-18.00 hours.
from 08.00-17.00 hours.
Bus No. 35, 62, 77 Air-conditioned Bus No. 162
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Formerly named Wat Leng Nei Yee, the temple was built in 1871 by Phra Ajarn Wangsamathiwat (Sok Heng) and Phraya Chotikaratsetthi to disseminate Mahayana Buddhism. In the reign of King Rama V, The temple was renamed to Wat Mungkorn Kamalawat. The temples hall is architecture of Chinese temples style, roof tiles are decorated with animals and vine molding. The interior wall is an arch with splendid sculpture, the biggest buddha image in the main hall is in Chinese style. A shrine for worship is placed in the hall and there are images of the Worlds four Keepersstand in front of the hall.
Open daily from 06.00-18.00 hours. Free admission.
-Bus No. 1, 4, 7, 25, 40, 53, 73
-Air-conditioned Bus No. 7, 501
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Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Built in 1879, Brahman (Hindu) temple of the Shakti sect, which reveres this mother of the gods. Indians from Tamil Nadu in Southern Indian came to Southern Thailand and established a community on Silom Canal.
Traders and labourers, they built Sri Mahamariamman Temple to worship. Later, more land was purchased and a new temple built, which has been developed and renovated to the present day.
Inside is decorated with a principal image of Sri Mahamariam-man (Uma Devi) , surrounded by Ganesha, Khandakumara, Krisna, Rasmi and Kali.
In the courtyard is a amall shrine containing a Shiva's Lingam (Phallus). Built in Chola and Palva styles to be seen in Tamil Nadu. Daily rithuals are carried out at noon.
Open daily from 06.00-20.00 hours.
-Bus No. 15, 77, 115
-Air-conditioned Bus No. 2, 4, 5, 38, 76
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Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, the city with the longest name in the world, was established in 1782 by His Majesty King Phra Phutta Yotfa Chulalok Maha Rat, the first King of Chakri Dynasty.
The City of Bangkok can be regarded as one of the most ancient city in the world. Thailand has created its own cultures and civilization which can be found in many parts of the country many thousand years ago.
The Thai ways of life which have been passed on to next generations are very fascinating and charming.
The Thai people are so full of their own unique culture called Eastern Charms that they are given many nicknames or designations, namely the City of Arts and Cultures, the City of Happiness, and the Land of Smiles.
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Temples in Bangkok
Wats or temples are open to all visitors. Of all the Wats in Bangkok, only Wat Phra Kaeo or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, WatPho, Wat Benchama Bophit and Wat Arun charge admission fees to cover restoration costs.
The admission to the rest is free. It is worth remembering a few things when visiting wats.
Disrespect towards Bddha images, temples or monks is not taken lightly. Take off your shoes before entering a wat, and make sure you are appropiately attired : long pants are acceptable but not shorts or sleeveless shirts.
Monks take strict vows of chastity that prohibit their being touched by women. Do not climb on stupas or treat Buddha images disrespectfully.
You may photograph monks, wats, images, except for the Emerald Buddha. You may also photograph all Buddhist ceremonies.
Out of about 32,000 monasteries all over the country, Bangkok holds 400, and there are many among the overall number of 200,000 monks who ordain for life.
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