The spectacularly ornamented Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. Located within the Grand Palace in Bangkok’s Old City, a site highlight is a sacred pre–15th-century statue of the Buddha in a seated meditation pose carved from a single block of jade.
As one of Bangkok’s biggest tourist attractions, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is included in numerous sightseeing tours. Most tours include a guided visit of the Bangkok Grand Palace, as well as options to combine the temple with a River of Kings canal cruise or a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or Bangkok’s largest flower market. If you’re based in Hua Hin, you can see the temple and other city highlights on a day trip to Bangkok.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Emerald Buddha Temple is a must-see for spiritual travelers and first-time visitors to Bangkok.
- The temple maintains a strict dress code: shorts, short skirts, and sleeveless t-shirts are not permitted on the temple grounds.
- Be prepared to remove your shoes before entering the temple.
- While the lawn and gardens of Bangkok’s Grand Palace are accessible to wheelchair users, the temple interior is not due to a series of steps leading inside.
How to Get There
To reach the Emerald Buddha Temple, take the Silom Line to Saphan Taksin Station and leave through exit 2. From there, take a boat taxi to the Tha Chang Pier near the Grand Palace main entrance.
When to Get There
To avoid the biggest crowds, plan to visit first thing in the morning or after lunch, when most tour buses have departed. Sometimes the temple closes to the public when the Grand Palace is being used for state functions.
The Buddha’s Robes
Pay attention to the robes draped over the 26-inch (66-centimeter) Emerald Buddha perched high up on its gilded shrine. At the beginning of each season, the king changes the monastic robes to suit the season: hot, rainy, or cool.