Guest Post By Just the Flight.
Thailand is often referred to as ‘The Golden Land’; not for its riches beneath the soil, but for its fertile fields, white sandy beaches, warm hospitality and rich culture – including its magnificent temples. With so many affordable flights to Bangkok available, a trip to see these cultural wonders make for a perfect winter holiday.
Sukhothai, Northern Thailand
In 1238, Sukhothai became Thailand’s first independent kingdom. Today, Sukhothai Historical Park is a World Heritage Site and the city is home to many ancient monuments and temples. The most iconic of these is Wat Sri Chum, home to one of the largest statues of Sitting Buddha in the world and serving as one of the holiest of shrines for Buddhist pilgrims.
Prasat Hin Phimai, Northeast Thailand
Prasat Hin Phimai is one of the most significant religious sanctuaries in Thailand. It serves as a sanctuary for Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as for the worship of person, as according to the ancient tribes of jam, Java, Bali, and Khmer.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho Chetuphon, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is Bangkok’s oldest temple, famous for its enormous reclining Buddha figurine. The image, which depicts Buddha’s passing into Nirvana stands at 15 metres high and 46 metres long. The eyes and feet of the figure are adorned with mother-of-pearl and the carvings in the feet illustrate the special 108 characteristics of Buddha’s footprint. Wat Pho Chetuphon is considered to be Thailand’s first institution to provide public education.
Wat phra That Lampang Luang
A wonderful example of a fortress monastery, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a walled citadel with the temple entrance guarded by two lions. The main Buddha image housed there is the Phra Chao Lang Thong, which was cast in 1563.
– Wat Phra That Lampang Luang –
Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Also in Bangkok is the Wat Pra Kaew, built to house the Emerald Buddha when it was returned to Thailand after the capture of Vientiane in 1779. Amongst Thai Buddhists, the Emerald Buddha is the most important of all of Buddha’s representations – to pray before the Emerald Buddha is to make merit. When visiting Wat Pra Kaew never allow your feet to point at the Emerald Buddha, it is considered sacrilegious. It is against the law to photograph Emerald Buddha.
– Temple of the Emerald Buddha –
Wat Traimit is temple to The Golden Buddha, a 900-year-old golden figure cast in the Sukhothai style. The history behind the image is fascinating. Around the 18th century Golden Buddha was covered in plaster to hide its value from Burmese invaders. It remained so until 1957, when it was decided to move Buddha to a new temple. During the move, the image slipped and landed in some mud, where it was left. It was only when a temple monk, having dreamed that the figure was divinely inspired, took a closer look that it was discovered that underneath the plaster was a Buddha made of pure gold.
Temple of the Dawn
Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn is probably the most visually recognisable temple in Bangkok. It features a central tower of Khmer design surrounded by four smaller towers, creating a stunning image against the skyline.