Bangkok has an amazing number of wat (temples, or more generally places of worship) scattered across the city. For Westerners, they are fascinating for their bright colors, traditional architecture, the smell of incense burning and the constant flow of worshippers. Wat Pho, birthplace of traditional Thai massage and home to the imposing Reclining Buddha, Wat Traimit and its five-tons solid gold Buddha image, or Erawan Shrine, nested among Bangkok’s skyscrapers, were all busy with tourists and locals alike.
Wat can seem quite informal at first because unlike Christians or Jewish, Buddhists don’t have a specific day for worship. People come as they please and merit-makers try to get the best karma possible to have a good rebirth in the next life. Monks, dressed in saffron dresses, collect alms and it’s common to offer incense, fruits, flower garlands or even birds (to be release after praying).
Most wat welcome visitors, as long as you respect worshippers and a few simple rules. For instance, dress conservatively and cover your shoulders (a simple shawl will do), and never ever point your feet to an image of Buddha when sitting down.
You can see the complete set of pictures taken in Thailand on Flickr.