More information  

Bangkok is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Bangkok as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Bangkok’s different areas.

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

Our rating:

The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, is arguably the grandest wat in Bangkok and the standard by which others are judged. The namesake Buddha image is Thailand’s most sacred, carved from solid jade and featuring in enough legends to fill several books. Yet it’s the temple’s ornate details that leave most visitors spellbound.

Travel better, travel smarter

Save money, receive our latest updates and get the most out of your travels.


Completed three years after King Rama I founded the still-existent Chakri dynasty and moved the Thai capital to Bangkok in 1782, Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, to use the temple’s official name, and the Phra Kaew (“Emerald Buddha”) image that it enshrines, continue to symbolise the unifying interplay between Buddhism and the monarchy in Thailand.

Lavish doesn’t quite cut it. Photo taken in or around Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Lavish doesn’t quite cut it. Photo: David Luekens

Phra Kaew can also be seen as the ultimate level of Thai superstition—the grandmaster of the many Buddha images and other objects, like talismans and amulets, believed to be imbued with a range of mysterious powers. It would not be an understatement to say that the unity of the Thai kingdom depends on Phra Kaew, a belief that was cemented by its arrival in Bangkok around the same time as the current royal lineage’s founding.

The deeply revered Thai king draws much of his moral and spiritual authority from a perceived connection to Phra Kaew, itself thought to encapsulate the kingly virtues. The term Rattanakosin, coined by Rama I as the name for his new capital and now used broadly to label centuries of Thai art and architecture, was originally a reference to this single Buddha image, translating as “Repository of the Gem Image”.

Where and when Phra Kaew was created remains a mystery. Legends claim it was conjured by the Hindu god Indra over 2,000 years ago in India, where the sage Nagasena is said to have predicted that Buddhism would flourish wherever it was enshrined. Some say it reached Thailand via Sri Lanka, ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,000 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to to read the rest of this article, or log in here.

Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


Popular hotels in Bangkok on Agoda

How to get there
Via the Chao Phraya River Express Boat, jump off at Tha Maharaj pier, walk out to the street and take a right, and the Grand Palace will appear in front of you. Buses servicing the area include 1, 3, 6, 25, 44, 47, 53, 82, 91, 508 and 512. Beware of touts telling you that the temple is closed.

Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Na Phra Lan Rd, Bangkok
Daily 08:30-15:30
Admission: 500 baht

Location map for Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)

Book a flight, train, bus, taxi or ferry in Thailand with 12Go Asia

Popular attractions in Bangkok

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Bangkok.

Best places to stay in Bangkok

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Bangkok.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Bangkok.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Bangkok.
 Read up on how to get to Bangkok, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Bangkok? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

Skip the queues!
Skip the queues!
Ad Book plane, train, bus & ferry tickets
with 12Go Asia.

Read more

See below for more sights and activities in Bangkok that are listed on

Top of page

Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Bangkok? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

Top of page