Hello traveling folk and welcome back to our travel blog. Today I would like to share with you my thoughts about visiting worship places when you are traveling. Are these sights even appropriate for visiting? Are we allowed to take photos there? What is etiquette at Thai temples? And so much more. Please continue with this article and see why I think everyone should visit Thai temples.
Temples in Thailand
Did you know that around 95% of the Thai population identifies as Buddhists? So there is no surprise that there are more than 34,000 Buddhist temples in Thailand. However, temples have a much bigger role in Thai culture, than just worshiping places. They serve as social hubs, nowadays tourist attractions, and even schools. You might be surprised when you will see children running around the temple courtyard but don’t get fooled – there is still etiquette when visiting it. As a bonus, one can also get a sacred tattoo (Sak Yant) in some temples. More about tattoos some other time…
Etiquette at Thai Temples
Every worship place has its etiquette and Thai temples are no exemption. Well, no smoking and no drinking alcohol are the obvious ones, but there are some not so obvious rules. You should sit with the soles of your feet pointing away from Buddha images or monks. You probably won’t be able to curl your feet as Thais do, but still, you can have in mind this rule and keep the soles of your feet away. Oh, and don’t forget to take off your shoes before entering the temple. Dressing code is important as well. Your shoulders and knees must be covered while you are on the holly ground. However, monks are used to reckless tourists wearing tank tops with shorts without a handy scarf. They do tolerate this as long it is not a more important temple such as Wat Phra Kaew at the Grand Palace, Bangkok. There you will be asked to wear long pants. Boy, I already miss the dress code from Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. It is nothing bad to be nice and classy, folk.
Let’s not forget to act respectfully, don’t talk loud, and don’t take pictures with a flash. Those who are there for praying should never be disturbed. Common sense, right? Another not so obvious is keeping your head lower than the Buddha images and monks. And if you see sits reserved for monks, don’t ever use them. However, if you are a girl, never try to touch a monk or sit on the same bench as he does. Vivi learned this from praxis and it was awkwardly mirthful.
Why Visit Thai Temples?
There are many reasons for that. Let’s start with the most obvious one – sightseeing. These temples are a true masterpiece in terms of manufacturing. All the details and interesting features will amaze you. And when you thought you saw it all, you might land on a buddha statue that contains the remains of a monk inside. Monk was supposedly meditating when they “built” him in. As with any historical place, every Thai temple has its history and there are always some interesting events. If you are more into history this is your treat.
Yes, you can take photos of the temple. Just don’t disturb those who are there and never use flash. Tripod is also not recommended at historical places, though. Just keep it simple and catch all these details without disturbing anyone. So if you are a photographer freak like me, temples are a must place to go.
Last but not least, visit them for your soul. If you meditate, go there and do meditate. If you would like to have a moment to think about things that are above us, well this is your place. Think of all the people you love, send some love to them, and have a heartfelt prayer. If you can, make a merit of any kind, donations are always welcome to support monks.
How and Which Temples to Visit?
There are many arranged options for executing your temple run, but I like to visit them by myself. You have more freedom and time. I would love to see more and maybe catch some great moments. If you are there for a photo you will need some time just to catch the perfect moment without crowds. With GPS and motorbike, you are good to go. Just be careful on the road and enjoy every moment of your day. When it comes to which temples to visit… Oh man, there are too many and everyone is wonderful. Each temple is special in its own unique way, but in general the bigger it is the more is there to see. But you don’t need to go far to catch some amazing stuff. Just in Bangkok, you have some of the biggest and grandest.
Here, I gave you some good reasons to visit Thai temples when you are in Thailand. I hope you will like them too and if you are a photography enthusiast, I wish you some good captures. Just remember to respect the place and all the visitors.