5 Tips For Your Thai Temple Visit


It’s very easy for visitors to make mistakes when it comes to courtesy – here are a few tips to avoid embarrassment and make your temple trip excellent!

Thailand is a laid back place, so it can be surprising to see so many rules posted or explained by your tour guide when you decide to take a temple tour.

Many tourists try to ignore the rules, only to be rebuked by the Buddhist Thais that take great pride and care of their religious places.

If you plan on visiting a temple – and why wouldn’t you, there are thousands in Thailand – you should do so as prepared as possible and head into your trip with your mind set on following the rules.

1. Dress appropriately!

Men - no shorts or tank tops, and if you are visiting especially important temples such as Wat Phra Kaew, you must wear long pants and no flip flops, though a sandal with a back strap is okay.

Women – no short allowed! If wear a skirt it should be at least knee length. Shirts must be modest, with no spaghetti straps or tank tops allowed. Most temples will have some cover ups in case you are not prepared with a proper shirt

2. Please leave shoes outside.

Every temple has a shoe rack where you can safely leave your shoes while you visit. Being barefoot shows respect to Buddha.

3. Inside the temple.

Be respectful and quite, and keep your head lower than the monks and the images of Buddha. Be mindful of your feet, and make sure you do not point your feet towards statues of Buddha. You’ll see the locals kneeling with their feet behind them.

Do not touch any images of Buddha, no matter how big or small they might be. Every image is sacred.  Also, be careful not to touch anything in the worship area, as it may be a sacred object.

The same goes for the Bo tree; it is sacred because Buddha found enlightenment while sitting under a Bo tree.  You’ll be able to recognize the Bo tree is because of its placement, its large size and its numerous branches. Many times, the trunk will be easy to spot as it is wrapped in a saffron cloth.

4. Photographs.

You can take photographs, as long as you don’t get in the way of those who are coming to worship or make donations to their temple.

5. Making Donations.

Almost every temple will have a few donation boxes.  You are definitely not required or expected to donate, but if you took pictures, enjoyed the serenity or just want to help keep the temple running, why not drop a few Baht into the donation box?

Thai temples are beautiful and tranquil places – and as long as you follow the rules you’ll be able to enjoy your visit without worry. And if you do make a mistake, a smile and an apology is all you need to be forgiven.