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The Giant Swing at Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat Thep Wararam - วัดสุทัศนเทพวราราม  One of Bangkok's most iconic landmarks is the Giant Swing, a towering red monument looking something like a Japanese torii gate , but serving a very different purpose. Long ago used in a royal ceremony by the kingdom's secretive royal court Brahmins, the swing today serves as a symbol of the City of Angels. Wat Suthat Temple, the home of the Giant Swing, is a first-class temple of the royal grade, of which there are only ten in all of Bangkok. Wat Suthat Temple and the Giant Swing in Bangkok's old town Surrounding the temple sanctuary are twenty-eight miniature Chinese-style pagodas carved from stone. According to the Buddhist scriptures, there have been twenty-seven Buddhas before the enlightenment of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama. Each of these twenty-eight pagodas therefore correspond to one of the ancient enlightened lives of the Buddha. 28 Chinese pagodas surrounding Wat Suthat Temple, corresponding to the lives

Dos and Don’ts at a Thai Temple

Dos and Don’ts at a Thai Temple

Visiting a temple is an awesome way to really experience an important aspect of Thai life and culture. There are a few things you should know first. These are some of the major rules of behavior in a Thai temple.

Buddhist temple in Thailand via Pixabay

DO dress appropriately

Buddhist temples enforce a strict conservative dress code. No sleeveless shirts (for men or women), no shorts or short skirts (women). No visible tattoos. Shoulders and chest must be covered. If you are not dressed appropriately, the temple may be able to rent you a (used) silk scarf or shawl with which to cover up, or might turn you away. Temples are holy and sacred sites to the Buddhist faith, and proper dress is expected.

Do not bother the worshipers or monks

You are welcome to explore and take photographs at the temples, but don't bother or photograph local people or monks, especially while they are praying or meditating. It is also inappropriate to take a selfie or photograph with a monk.

DO participate

You will be more than welcome to light incense, pray, and participate in temple activities. Don’t worry if you don’t know what’s going on; someone will surely be happy to help you! You should feel free to take photographs (unless otherwise marked), however avoid taking pictures of other people, especially monks, without their express permission.

DO keep your voice down

It is important to remember to be respectful in a place of worship. A temple isn't a tourist site, it's a sacred place of worship, just like a church or cathedral. This isn't to say that tourists should feel unwelcome at a temple - quite the contrary! Visitors, even non-Buddhists are always welcome to visit and explore the beautiful temples in Thailand. Just be mindful of your actions.

DO NOT wear your shoes inside the temple

It is forbidden to wear shoes on holy temple ground. There will be a shoe rack or designated area outside the temple where you can safely leave your shoes.

DO NOT step on the doorjamb

In Thai culture, spirits are believed to live in the area of the door frame. Step over, not on it, and don’t stand in doorways in a temple.

DO NOT point your feet towards a monk or an image of the Buddha

feet are the most unholy part of the body in Buddhist tradition, and pointing the soles of your feet towards something holy would be insulting.

DO NOT touch monks (especially if you are a woman)

Women should not touch or get too close to a monk. You might not like or agree with this rule, but that is the culture, and one should respect the culture of others. However, many monks, especially younger ones, may be eager to practice their English and speak with a foreigner. Some temples even hold English-language “monk chats” where you can have the chance to talk to and get to know one of the monks.


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