Wat Phailom

Outside Bangkok, on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River in Pathum Thaini Province, this old, wooden Mon wát is noted for the tens of thousands of open billed storks (Anastomus oscitans) that nest in bamboo groves opposite the temple area from December to June. Temple architecture buffs will note the Ayuthaya-style bòt, backed by a Mon chedi.

The temple is 51km from the centre of Bangkok in Pathum Thani's Sam Kok district. Take a Pathum Thani-bound bus (20B) from Bangkok's Northern bus terminal and cross the river by ferry to the wát grounds.

Bus No 33 from Sanam Luang goes all the way to Phailom and back. The Chao Phraya River Express tours from Tha Maharat to Bang Pa-In each Sunday also make a stop at Wat Phailom.

Wat Thammamongkhon

East of Bangkok on Soi 101, Th Sukhumvit, 95m-high Wat Thammamongkhon resulted from a monk's vision. While meditating in 1991, Phra Viriyang Sirintharo saw a giant jade boulder; at around the same time a 32 tonne block of solid jade was discovered in a Canadian riverbed. Viriyang raised over a half milion US dollars to purchase the block and commissioned a 14 tonne Buddha sculpture (carried out by Carrara sculptors) to go in a pavilion at Thammamongkhon. An image of this magnitude deserved a massive chedi.

The chedi, which contains a hair of the Buddha, was presented to Thailand by Bangladesh's Sangharaja (the head of a Theravada monastic order). It features an elevator so that you can ride to the top. The chedi's grand opening ceremony was held in 1993.

A leftover 10 tonne chunk of jade was carved into a figure of Kuanyin (the Chinese Buddhist Goddess of Mercy). Smaller left overs - a total of nearly eight tonnes - were made into amulets and sold to worshippers for US$20 each, to raise money for 5000 day care centres throughout Thailand.

Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat, begun by Rama I and completed by Rama II and Rama III, boasts a wihãan with gilded bronze Buddha images Including Phra Si Sakayamuni, one of the largest surviving Sukhothai bronzes) and colourful jataka murals depicting scenes from the Buddha's life. Wat Suthat Holds a special place in the Thai religion because of its association with Brahman priests who perform important annual ceremonies, such as the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in May. These priests perform rites at two Hindu shrines near the wát - the Thewa Sathaan (Deva Sthan) across the street to the north-west and the smaller Saan Jao Phitsanu (Vishnu Shrine) to the east. The former contains images of Shiva and Ganesh while the latter is dedicated to Vishnu. The wát holds the rank of Rachavoramahavihan, the highest royal temple grade; the ashes of Rama VIII (Ananda Mahidol, the current king's deceased older brother) are contained in the base of the main Buddha image in Suthat's wihãan.

At the nearby Sao Ching-Cha, the Giant Swing, a spectacular Brahman festival in honour of the Hindu god Shiva used to take place each year until it was stopped during the reign of Rama VII. Participants would swing in ever-heightening arcs in an effort to reach a bag of gold suspended from a 15m bamboo pole - many died trying. The Giant Swing is a block south of the Giant Swing is a block south of the Demo-cracy Monument.

Wat Rajanadda

Across Th Mahachai from Wat Saket, Wat Rajanadda (Ratchanatda) dates from the mid-19th century. It was built under Rama III and is an unusual specimen, possibly in fluenced by Burmese models.

The wát has a well known market selling Buddhist amulets or magic charms (phráphim) in all sizes, shapes and styles. The amulets not only feature images of the Buddha, but also famous Thai monks and Indian deities. Full Buddha images are also for sale. Wat Rajanadda is an expensive place to purchase a charm, but a good place to look.

Wat Traimit

The attraction at the Temple of the Golden Buddha is, of course, the impressive 3m tall, 5.5 tonne, solid-gold Buddha image, which gleams like noother gold artefact I've ever seen.

Sculpted in the graceful Sukhothai-style, the image was 'rediscovered' some 40 years ago beneath a stucco or plaster exterior when it fell from a crane while being moved to a new building within the temple compound. It has been theorised that the covering was added to protect it from 'marauding hordes', either during the late Sukhothai period or later in the Ayuthaya period when the city was under siege by the Burmese. The temple itself is said to date from the early 13th century.

The golden image can be seen every day from 8 am to 5 pm, and admission is 20B. Nowadays lots of camera-toting tour groups haunt the place (there's even a money-changer on the premises), so it pays to arrive in the early morning if you want a more traditional feel. Wat Traimit is near the intersection of Th Yaowarat and Th Charoen Krung, near Hualamphong station.

more detail : http://www.wattraimit.com/goldeng.asp

Wat Mahathat ,Bangkok

Founded in the 1700s, Wat Mahathat is a national centre for the Mahanikai monastic sect and houses one of Bangkok's two Buddhist universities, Mahathat Rajavidyalaya. The university is the most important place of Buddhist learning in mainland South-East Asia today.

Mahathat and the surrounding area have developed into an informal Thai cultural centre of sorts, though this may not be obvious at first glance. A daily open-air market features traditional Thai herbal medicine, and out on the street you'll find a string of shops selling herbal cures and of fering Thai massage. On weekends, a large produce market held on the temple grounds brings people from all over Bangkok and beyond. Opposite the main entrance on the other side of Th Maharat is a large religious amulet market.

The monastery's International Buddhist Meditation Centre offers meditation instruction in English on the second Saturday of every month from 2 to 6 pm in the Dhamma Vicaya Hall. Those interested in more intensive instruction should contact the monks in Section 5 of the temple.

The temple complex is officially open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm daily and on wan phrá, Buddhist holy days (the full and new moons every fortnight). Admission is free.

Wat Mahathat is right across the street from Wat Phra Kaew, on the west side of Sanam Luang. Air-con bus Nos 8 and 12 both pass by it, and the nearest Chao Phraya River Express pier is Tha Maharat.

Wat Benchamabophit

This wát of white Carrara marble (hence its tourist name, 'Marble Temple') was built at the turn of the century under Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The large cruciform bòt is a prime example of modern Thai wát architecture. The base of the central Buddha image, a copy of Phitsanulok's Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, contains the ashes of Rama V. The courtyard behind the bòt exhibits 53 Buddha images (33 originals and 20 copies) representing famous figures and styles from all over Thailand and other Buddhist countries - an education in itself if you are interested in Buddhist iconography.

Wat Ben is on the corner of Th si Ayuthaya and Th Rama V, diagonally opposite Chitlada Palace; it's open daily and admission is 10B. Bus Nos 2 (air-con) and 72 stop nearby.

For more detail: http://www.watbencha.com/index-e.html

Wat Saket

Wat Saket is an undistinguished temple except for the Golden Mount (Phu Khao Thong) on the western side of the grounds,which provides a good view out over Bangkok's rooftops. This artificial hill was created when a large chedi under construction by Rama III collapsed because the soft soil beneath would not support it. The resulting mud-and-brick hill was left to sprout weeds until Rama IV built a small chedi on its crest.

King Chulalongkorn later added to the structure and housed a Buddha relic from India (given to him by the British government) in the chedi.

The concrete walls were added during WWII to prevent the hill from eroding. Every year in November there is a big festival on the grounds of Wat Saket, which includes a candle-lit procession up the Golden Mount.

Admission to Wat Saket is free except for the final approach to the summit of the Golden Mount, which costs 5B. The temple is on Th Worachak within walking distance of the Democracy Monument; air-con bus Nos 37 pass nearby.