5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

On my recent trip to Thailand, our tour with Gate 1 included trips to several temples (or wats) including Wat Pho, (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Chai Wattanaram Temple, Royal Summer Palace and Wat Mahathat (Temple of the Great Relic). Much like Mosques, Synagogues and Churches, there are do’s and don’t’s associated with ones appearance and behavior. If you plan on visiting some of the temples on your visit to Thailand, here are 5 tips to be mindful of.

5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

Get there Early

The temples get very crowded throughout the day. As mentioned, the country is mourning the death of king Bhumibol Adulyadej, so people go to the temples to pay their respects. It is also a time where the people bring food and gifts for the monks.

Get a Guide

It’s very helpful to get a guide when visiting the temples in Thailand. On our visit to Wat Pho, we learned:

  • Prangs and stupas have former Siamese kings, revered monks or disciple’s cremated ashes enshrined in them.
  • Some stupas have Buddhist and Hindu motifs
  • The doorways to the temples are statues of Chinese warriors, philosophers and Marco Polo

5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

Cover Up

It is extremely important to be modest when visiting the temples in Thailand. Our tour guide suggested we avoid wearing “Bow Wow” clothing (when you bow, the people say ‘wow’). Stay away from clothes that don’t cover your knees, shoulders and midsection. Hats aren’t permitted either. Depending on their discretion, you may need to rent clothing. When visiting the Royal Summer Palace, I wore a maxi dress, but they determined it was ‘too sexy’, so I rented a wrap skirt and top for 500 Thai Baht.

Wear Inexpensive Footwear

When visiting temples in Thailand, there are a number of times where you need to take your shoes off. Shoes aren’t monitored by security so wear inexpensive shoes or sandals in case of theft.

Show Respect

Part of traveling in general includes being respectful of people’s way of life. Even if you don’t agree with their religious practices, it’s disrespectful to disrupt people’s prayers and/or sacrifices. Here are some other tips:

  • Be respectful to the monks in and out of the temples (as a woman you are never to touch a monk)
  • You are not supposed to be higher than Buddha; kneel or lower yourself when taking pictures
  • Don’t touch any of the statues in the worship area
  • These temples are tourist attractions, but people also worship there

5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

Have you visited any temples or “holy destinations” during your travels?

31 thoughts on “5 Tips For Visiting Temples in Thailand 

  1. Tiffani

    These are good tips when you are traveling to temples period. When I went to The UAE, these were self-imposed guidelines that I adhered to. This is good because sometimes us Americans can get so comfortable in our world that we don’t think about other cultures even when we go abroad.

    Reply

  2. Latoya

    I’ve never visited a temple. These are great tips and it’s really important during the times we live in to be respectful of everyone and their religious beliefs. I’m glad your tips drive that point home.

    Reply

  3. Patricia

    Thank you for the tips. I have never visited Thailand before. I will remember if I get to. TFS

    Reply

  4. Danika

    I really liked the term, “bow wow” clothing. I may use that when mentoring young girls. 😊 Question. What does it mean to be higher than a Buddha statue? Should you kneel when posing for a pic alongside the statue. Please excuse my ignorance.

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      You can kneel or lower your head. In their country Buddha is elevated so if you appear to be taller than the statue or picture, you have to make yourself lower than it.

      Reply

  5. Ty

    This post was pretty interesting. The part about not wearing “Bow Wow” clothing made me holler.
    Also, not taking a picture with a Buddha statue if you are taller than it.
    I learned a lot. Thanks!

    Reply

  6. Tiffany H.

    I loved Thailand, must return one day! true about the shoes, I would add wear shoes that you can easily remove. At one of the temples i believe they provide it for free and another temple I paid for in Chaing Rai.

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      Oh that’s good to know! Who wants to be lacing and unlacing every other temple?

      Reply

  7. Nadeen

    Thank you!! Good to know for my trip in Janauary! “Bow Wow” clothing lol

    Reply

  8. LaShon Renee

    Thanks for the tips. It’s important to be respectful of other’s cultures especially when traveling to their country.

    Reply

  9. Ebony

    Thailand is definitely on my list of things to do. For 2017, I cant wait. Thank you for the tips.

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      You’re welcome Ebony! Hope you are able to get to go in the future.

      Reply

  10. meme

    Wow, what great tips! I enjoy learning about other cultures and learned so much. The pictures are stunning as well!

    Reply

  11. Ola

    These are good tips to know for someone planning to visit the temples of Thailand. It’s always good to be respectful of other cultures. But the tip about the shoes is also good. Who wants to go home barefoot?

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      A friend of mine brought sneakers and flip flops. I thought she was bugging, but when I saw the reason why it made sense.

      Reply

  12. Kasey

    Your trip sounds so cool! These are great tips too, things you don’t normally think of!

    Reply

  13. Isaly Holland

    Thailand looks beautiful! One day I will be visiting and using your tips.

    xoxo
    Isaly Holland
    http://www.memoriesbyisaly.com

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      Thanks so much for reading! It was an awesome trip and I can’t wait to go back.

      Reply

  14. Rachel

    Wow these pictures are awesome! I wish i had the time to travel!!

    Reply

  15. Joyce Brewer

    Wonderful reminder about attire and shoe wear. Happy travels!

    Reply

  16. Ellie

    I remember visiting the temples in Thailand and I was quite shocked at how many tourists hadn’t bothered to show respect and cover up. Great reminder about comfy shoes as there so much walking.

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      Yes sooooooo much walking. lol

      Reply

  17. Amrita

    The BOW WOW is a grand tip. Will remember this while in Thailand. Temples in India too have similar rules

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      Every once in a while for a girls outing, we reference the “Bow wow” term 🙂

      Reply

  18. Hali @daytodayMOMents

    These area just breathtaking!! Great tips, I will remember if I go one day. 😀

    Reply

  19. Kari

    We are taking a gate 1 trip to Thailand next month! Thanks for the tips! Do you have any sandals or slip ons that you recommend to wear into the temples? How did u like using gate 1?
    We have been researching mosquitos and bug spray.. did you run into a lot of that? Thank you.

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      I wore sneakers, but I saw a lot of people with crocs since they’re easy and comfortable for walking. We loved Gate 1. The food was good and I loved that they dealt with transferring our luggage to each hotel for us.

      Reply

    2. Joanna E

      I didn’t encounter much mosquitoes, but I did bring bug spray for when we went to our hotel in the jungle, visiting the elephant sanctuary and for zip lining. The last two activities we paid for on our own.

      Reply

      1. Kari

        Thank you so much! We are very excited to check it out!!

        Reply

  20. stephanie

    Great tips!
    I still cant understand how people weird tanktops or shorts around temples.
    x

    Reply

    1. Joanna E

      I think we’re so used to our freedom here that we sometimes forget to respect other’s cultures and customs.

      Reply

Leave a Reply