Entries in thai temple (3)


Thailand's Temples: The Ayutthaya Nine

Ayutthaya is all about ancient ruins – especially from a foreign tourist’s perspective. What you may not realize is that many of the newer-looking temples in this city are just as ancient as their crumbling counterparts. The difference is that they’ve been maintained, restored and rebuilt over the centuries, and they’re still in active use today. 

Now, if it’s your first time in Ayutthaya, or if you only have time for the highlights, then by all means focus on the ruins. They’re spectacular. But if you’re craving an authentic Thai experience, consider following the nine-temple pilgrimage route that Thai visitors embrace.

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Thailand’s temples: the Bangkok Nine

Every major city in Thailand has a specific set of nine temples that are officially recommended for a mad-dash, merit-making tour. Thai people have an affinity for the number nine, and there’s a sense of accomplishment (as well as utter fatigue) waiting at the end of a daylong nine-temple marathon.

Completing one of these lists is challenging enough in a typical Thai city. In Bangkok, where traffic jams and jam-packed public transport factors in, the only way you’re going to make it is with some careful planning. Map your route the night before from the air-con comfort of your Bangkok hotel, and plan on getting an early start.

These are the nine temples listed on Bangkok’s official circuit.

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The Chiang Mai Nine

In Thailand, the number nine is auspicious, and it permeates religious culture. Thai households often have a collection of nine pedestals on which they display their Buddha images and family heirlooms. Enormous alms-giving ceremonies may have thousands of monks, but you can be sure the advertised figure is going to be a multiple of nine. Thinking of hosting a housewarming or graduation party? Consider inviting nine monks to chant at the ceremony. The number nine is everywhere.

When Thai people want to make a day of temple-going, they visit nine temples. Every major city has its own official list of nine temples that must be included on any Thai itinerary. But you don’t have to be Thai or even Buddhist to join in. Locals are happy to see foreigners taking a respectful interest in Thailand’s temples and sacred sites.

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