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3 magnificent temples to visit in Thailand

Thailand is a fascinating country for many reasons including vibrant food, breathtaking natural beauty and of course, its uniquely Buddhist nature. Buddhism plays a massive role in Thai culture with 93.6 per cent of the population abiding by the religion and with a history of Buddhism dating back to between the sixth and ninth centuries. Even if you're not interested in learning about Buddhism, a trip to Thailand wouldn't be complete with out visiting at least one of Thailand's stunning temples.

Here are three fantastic options to consider when deciding which of Thailand's many temples to visit.

Wat Arun

The breathtaking Wat Arun, located in Bangkok on the west side of the Chao Phraya river is unmissable, in part because it's so visible. The temple was thought up in 1768 by King Taksin who supposedly founded it after the fall of Ayuthaya as a new royal temple and palace to house the famous Emerald Buddha.

Also known as the temple of the dawn, Wat Arun is named after Aruna, the Indian god of dawn. While the Emerald Buddha has since been moved to the Grand Palace, Wat Arun is definitely worth visiting, especially for its colourful exterior, created from Chinese porcelain, and 82-metre spire or prang, which was constructed in the 19th century.

Wat Doi Suthep

If you plan on visiting northern Thailand, visiting the temples of Chiang Mai should be high on your list of things to do. Doi Suthep is one of Chiang Mai's most famous temples and it sits high on Doi Suthep hill - you can get a songthaew (red ute with benches common in Chiang Mai) to take you there for a good price.

The temple was built in 1383 and still operates as an active monastery. Notable sights include the magnificent naga (serpent) staircase, which you ascend to reach the main temple, as well as the shrine to the White Elephant. Don't forget to snap a few pictures of the stunning views of Chiang Mai below from the terrace.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

The ruin of Wat Chaiwatthanaram is one of the most visited religious sites in Thailand. The temple was commissioned in 1630 by King Prasat Thong in the ancient city of Authaya, which was once the capital of Siam. Ayuthaya fell in 1767 when the Burmese took over and the temple slowly became a ruin. Like Wat Arun, the temple features a central spire or prang and is surrounded by four smaller prang.

For a chance to visit Thailand's magnificent temples, take a look at Hoot Holidays Thailand vacations.