Choose from 178 Fun Things to Do in Thailand
Wat Phra Thong is perhaps not the most impressive of Phuket's temples, but it surely has the best story behind it. And once you know the story, the 'half image' that forms the center of the temple will have way greater resonance.
According to lore, a boy was out watering a buffalo and tied it to some metal protruding out of the ground. In quick order, both boy and buffalo died, but the boy appeared to his father in a dream and told him to investigate the object.
When the father dug around the place, he found the tip of a golden Buddha sitting buried in the ground. All attempts to excavate it over the ensuing centuries failed, and there are stories of attacks by hornets when locals tried to dig it out in the 18th century!
Eventually it was decided to leave the exposed top of the Eventually it was decided to leave the exposed top of the Buddha statue where it was - it so obviously resisted being dug up! - and build a protective layer and a temple over it. That is what you can see today.
Wat Phra Thong is in the center of Phuket - its position away from the beaches is what keeps it so quiet! It's located in Thalang, on the right side of the road as you head to the airport.
Thailand has plenty of wats (temples), but the Tiger Cave Temple - or Wat Tham Seua - is a standout.
In a forest setting, the wat’s main hall is built into a long limestone cave and surrounded by monastic cells built into the cliffs and caves. Underscoring the brevity of life, the temple is decorated with skulls, skeletons and graphic pictures of human entrails.
A lighter note is struck by the troop of monkeys living around the temple. Walks through the temple grounds lead to 1,200 steps climbing to the summit of a 600 meter (1,968 foot) peak topped with a gilded Buddha statue. If the sky is clear, you can see the sea from here. Another set of steps leads to a second network of limestone caves.
The Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Seua) is 8 kilometers (5 miles) northeast of Krabi.
- The Similan Islands are a must visit for scuba divers, snorkelers, and nature lovers.
- The islands are quite remote and do not have many facilities, so it is best to be prepared with reef-safe sunscreen, a swimsuit, and a towel.
- Tours include snorkeling equipment and lifejackets for swimmers of all skill levels and ages to enjoy.
Aside from the structure itself, there is a Buddhist university at the site as well. Monks in training are often eager to share conversation and practice their English with visitors in informal "monk chats."
Wiang Kum Kam has been partly restored to its former glory and visitors can tour the ruins of ancient temples and see the carved stone tablets unearthed by archaeologists. Some of the sites have plaques with information in English and guides are available for hire.
To get there from Chiang Mai, go south along Highway 106 (also known as the Chiang Mai – Lamphun Highway) for about 3 kilometers then look for the directional sign to the ruins.
- The temple is wheelchair-accessible and includes an elevator as an alternative to the staircases.
- Remember that Buddhist temples are functioning religious sites, so be sure to dress respectfully with covered shoulders. Pants or knee-length skirts are required to enter Thai temples.
- Admission to the temple is free, but there’s a small entrance fee for the museum located on the third floor.
The gigantic golden Buddha statue is the largest in Thailand, measuring 151 feet (46 meters) long and 50 feet (15 meters) tall. The Buddha's feet alone are 16 feet (five meters) tall, both exquisitely decorated and inlaid with mother-of-pearl. A walk along the length of the entire statue is a treat in and of itself, but visitors would be remiss if they didn't enter the temple and explore the whole Wat Pho compound, which is full of artwork and Buddha images. The oldest temple in Thailand, the complex also remains a hub of knowledge for traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage, and travelers can even book a massage appointment here.
- The temple is most often visited on half-day sightseeing tours of Bangkok.
- The site is not easily accessed by wheelchair.
- Dress conservatively—visitors shouldn't wear shorts or low-cut tops, and women must cover their arms.
The sprawling grounds of Wat Pho have two walled compounds divided by Soi Chetuphon. The reclining Buddha and famous Thai massage school can be found on the northern side, while the temple's monastic facilities are located in the southern compound. The easiest way to access the temple is by boat: take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Tha Thien pier. The temple is located next to the Grand Palace and behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew).
Great for the whole family, tour packages start at $50 per person and include dinner at one of the theaters restaurants—which offers buffet lines of local cuisine.
Aside from the show and dinner, the theater’s facilities also contains a number of other attractions as well, including outdoor performances, souvenir shops, a traditional Thai massage parlor and even an opportunity to enjoy a few rides.
- The Cave Temple is a must-see for those who want to travel off the beaten path.
- Guests generally spend about an hour exploring the cave system.
- Mischievous monkeys are known to reside in the area, so guard your belongings and any food you have with you.
- The only way to access the temple is via a small set of stairs, which makes it inaccessible to wheelchairs.