Located just outside the old walled city, Wat Buppharam is a massive structure that houses the largest teak Buddha image in Thailand. Built during the reign of King Muang Kaeo in 1497, the temple showcases a Dhamma hall, an ubosot and two viharns. The oldest structure is the ancient chedi that was constructed more than four centuries ago. Four Burmese-styled lions, or Singhas, guard the golden spired pagoda, while the base is designed with a Buddha image. The temple, which underwent renovation in 1819, contains a magnificent collection of cultural murals depicting scenes from the Jakarta tales and ethnic Buddhist scriptures. This temple has a rich history, evident from its Burmese-inspired architecture.
The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) is a gorgeous gingerbread creation that is one of the newest temples in Thailand, being built in 1997. Reminiscent of a fairytale castle covered with snow, it might be the ogre’s home since statuary has a ferocious look. A highlight of this privately owned temple is the bridge of the “cycle of rebirth,” under which outstretched hands reach to the sky. Across the bridge is the Gate of Heaven where two creatures decide the fate of the dead.
Wat Arun is known as the Temple of Dawn but it might just as easily be known as the Temple of Magnificence. This temple rising above the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok is nothing short of spectacular when it's lit up against the night sky. One of Thailand’s landmarks, the temple is just as stunning when lit up by the morning sun. The Khmer style tower, covered with colorful porcelain, glistens in the sun. Surrounding buildings are covered in seashells and more porcelain.
Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) may be misnamed because the only thing in common the Buddha has with emerald is the color green. The 66-centimeters (26-inch) high Buddha, instead, is made of jasper or jade. Still, it occupies the place of honor in this temple on the Grand Palace grounds. The Buddha, clad in gold, is believed to date back to the 15th century. It was moved to various temples around Thailand for a few centuries, ending up in Bangkok in 1784.
Wat Pha Sorn Kaew
About five hours north of Bangkok is Wat Pha Sorn Kaew, or the ‘Temple on a high glass cliff’. This temple is typically not part of the shoestring itinerary many travelers follow because of its obscure location. If you have the time, however, this is one of the most striking temples in Thailand. Construction began in 2004 but it was only recently opened and still sparkles like new, with millions of colorful mosaic tiles decorating the main pagoda and surrounding buildings. The temple overlooks the surrounding mountainous area, which makes for one incredible backdrop. The five white Buddha statues sit in stark contrast against the colorful surrounding buildings.