Asia for Visitors

Thailand For Visitors

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Temple Talk

Wat Po
The many chedis of Wat Po.

 
Thai temples seem to some in an infinite number of shapes and sizes, so it may be surprising to learn that they all have the same set of elements. Every temple must have a bot, surrounded by eight Sema boundary stones, and will often have one or more wiharn housing an important Buddha image.

Note that in rural Thailand, as well as Bangkok itself, temples often house schools, serve as meeting places for the community and even places where the departed are cremated.

Thai temples are places of worship. When visiting temples, you should abide by the acepted etiquette for visitors. Thais are very forgiving by nature, but its best not to give offence in the first place.

Glossary of Temple Terms

Wat
A temple, which may include not only congregation halls, but also a monastery, school rooms and sports grounds. Note that in Thai, the term wat may be applied to any religious center, so Christian churches and Muslim mosques may also be referred to as wats.
Bot or Ubosot