Buddhism is an important way of life for many Thais. July marks the celebration of two important Buddhist festivals, where locals throughout Thailand will visit temples and ask for blessings.
Wan Asanha Bucha which falls on Monday, July 22 is a Buddhist festival that takes place during the full moon of the eighth lunar month. It commemorates Buddha’s first sermon. Wan Khao Phansa which happens on Tuesday, July 23 is known as the start of Buddhist Lent. A Candle Festival takes place across Thailand, especially in the northeastern region of Ubon Ratchathani Province, which celebrates its famous Buddhist Lenten Candle Procession each year.
TripAdvisor™ rounds up a list of popular temples in Thailand for these Buddhist festivals, as highly recommended by travelers from around the world.
One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok features the famous Reclining Buddha, which is the largest in Thailand measuring more than 150 feet in length. As reported by a TripAdvisor traveller, “The sheer size of the Buddha stunned you into either silence or “Wow, just wow”. The building was beautiful, lovely hand painted walls and shutters.”
The temple is considered to be the most famous and photographed temple in Bangkok, which features a soaring 70 metre high spire decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain. Here’s what an enthusiastic traveller had to say about Wat Arun,“Tranquil place. Mesmerized by its beauty. The view from the top is amazing if you make it up those steep steps!”
Located inside the grounds of the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most valued temple features the magnificent Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. According to a TripAdvisor traveller, “the detailed designs that were hand crafted and built represent the passion and respect the Thai people have for the Emerald Buddha.”
Located 30 minutes from the Chiang Mai city centre, Wat Phra That is located near the top of Doi Suthep. The present temple complex dates from the 16th Century and visitors can climb 309 steps or pay to take the cable car to reach the pagodas. A TripAdvisor traveller tells you why this is her favourite temple, “there was something special and peaceful about it. The pagoda is spectacular.”
Wat Traimit is a highly revered temple that houses the Golden Image Buddha, the world’s largest gold seated Buddha measuring nearly five metres in height and weighing approximately 5 ½ tons. The Buddha at Wat Traimit was discovered by accident as it was being transported. It was encased in plaster, with pieces of the plaster still kept on display within the temple. A TripAdvisor traveller explains why this temple is a must-visit, “We were amazed! A golden Buddha that is made of solid gold! Need I say more? There is a sense of peace and calm inside the temple and the Buddha is simply magical. There is also a museum close by that explains the history of the Buddha statues and how they evolved artistically.”
This temple, popularly known as the Golden Mount or Phu Khao Thong, is a high hill that offers stunning views at its summit over Rattanakosin Island. The Golden Mount is a spire that is 260 feet high. Within, the chedi houses a Buddha relic and the temple welcomes worshippers all year round. According to a traveller, “This offers an amazing view of the city. The golden spire on top is very beautiful.”
Apart from the beaches, Wat Phra Yai is another distinctive icon of Koh Samui. It is home to Koh Samui’s famous landmark – the 12-meter high Big Buddha which was built in 1972. “It is beautiful up close and it’s amazing that something so big can be built on such a small island,” according to a TripAdvisor traveller.
Dating from the 14th and 15th centuries and built about 600 years ago, this impressive temple once housed the precious Emerald Buddha, the most important cultural treasure in Thailand. A TripAdvisor traveller sums it up, “Wat Chedi Luang has it all. Easily accessible, serene temple, monk chat and historical significance.”
Wat Chalong, built at the beginning of the 19th century, is the largest and most visited Buddhist temple in Phuket. Locals and tourists come to pray and pay respects to the founders of Wat Chalong, 2 monks who were well known for herbal medicine and took care of local villagers and negotiated for a settlement during a Chinese miners rebellion in the 1876′s. As reviewed by a TripAdvisor traveller, “A beautiful temple complex with several magnificent and important temple buildings. The building with the tall spire housing the Buddha relics is particularly beautiful.”
This temple was built in the period of Phra Chao Maha Proma (1345-1400), and is home to Phra Buddha Sihing, Chiang Mai’s most important and sacred Buddha image. The temple also houses a collection of classic Lanna art and architecture. Here’s what a Thai traveller had to say about Wat Phra Singh, “The temple is right in the city. It is spacious, but also very quiet and calm… The art is very unique and gorgeous. Worth Visiting!”
For more information on these attractions, go to http://th.tripadvisor.com/.