There are more than 400 Thai temples or wats situated all around Bangkok. The most impressive temples that you must see if only you have enough time in Bangkok are listed below.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of Emerald Buddha)
Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is regarded as the most important and sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The temple is located on Rattanakosin Island, in the historic centre of Bangkok, within the grounds of the Grand Palace.
The Emerald Buddha, the highly revered Buddha image, is housed in Wat Phra Kaew. The statue is just about 2 feet tall and is carved from a single block of jade.
Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace is a standout attraction in Bangkok because of its breath-taking architecture and historical significance (it dates back to 1782, when Bangkok was founded). The whole complex is usually full of tourists but it's still an amazing place to visit.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a Buddhist temple located on Rattanakosin Island, in the historic centre of Bangkok, just south of the Grand Palace.
The temple is famous for its enormous gold plated 46 metres long reclining Buddha image. Wat Pho also houses the biggest number of Buddha images in Thailand. The temple is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage which is still taught and practiced at the temple, making Wat Pho a good place to get a traditional Thai massage.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, is a Buddhist temple situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, almost directly opposite Wat Pho. Thanks to its riverside location, Wat Arun is not only one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok but also one of the best known landmarks of the capital and all Thailand.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (a Khmer-style pagoda) which is about 80 meters tall and all encrusted with colourful glazed porcelain tiles. The corners of the main prang are surrounded by four smaller prangs.
It is possible to climb really steep exterior steps of the main prang, and to enjoy nice views of the Chao Phraya River.
Wat Saket (Golden Mountain)
Wat Saket or the Temple of the Golden Mount is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, located just outside the historic royal city. The temple is famous for the Golden Mount or Phu Khao Thong - a low artificial hill inside Wat Saket temple complex.
The Golden Mount is crowned with a 58 metre tall golden chedi making it a well-known landmark in Bangkok. More than 300 steps surrounding the hill lead to the top of it where you can enjoy views of Bangkok.
Wat Traimit (Temple of Golden Buddha)
Wat Traimit or the Temple of the Golden Buddha is a Buddhist temple located in the Chinatown area of Bangkok, near Hualampong Railway Station. This temple is famous for the enormous golden Buddha image it enshrines. The Golden Buddha, named Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana Patimakon, is made of 5.5 tons of solid gold, making it the largest solid gold Buddha image in the world.
Wat Benjamabophit (The Marble Temple)
Wat Benjamabophit or the Marble Temple is a Buddhist temple, located near Chitlada Palace in the Dusit district of Bangkok. The temple is named for the white Italian marble, which was used for its construction. Wat Benjamabophit is one of Bangkok’s most beautiful temples and the most modern royal temple in the capital city. The influence of European design can be noted in the architecture of this temple.
52 old Buddha images of various styles can be found in the gallery surrounding the ordination hall, making it a good place to get familiar with various ancient Buddhist art styles.
Wat Suthat and Sao Ching Cha (Giant Swing)
Wat Suthat is one of the most important and one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. This royal temple of the first grade is located in the historic centre of Bangkok, just east of Sanam Luang (the Royal Field). The ordination hall featuring stunning mural paintings is one of the largest in Thailand.
Wat Suthat is also known for the Giant Swing standing at the entrance of it. The Giant Swing called Sao Ching Cha is a red wooden 20 meter high Brahman religious structure which was earlier used in ceremonies.
Wat Ratchanatdaram - Loha Prasat (Metal Castle)
Wat Ratchanatdaram, best known for the Loha Prasat or Metal Castle, is a very unique Buddhist temple located just outside the historic city of Bangkok, near Wat Saket (the Golden Mount).
Loha Prasat is a 36 meter tall multi-tiered structure featuring 37 metal spires, signifying the 37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment in Buddhist belief. Many pillars supporting the towers create the alleys at the ground floor level of the building where an exhibition and meditation cells for the monks can also be found. It is possible to climb to the top of Loha Prasat and to enjoy the view of surrounding area and the Golden Mount.
Before going there, check Etiquette for Visiting Temples in Thailand.