Visiting Temples And What You Need To Know

Beautiful temple
Credit: Wade Vandergraaf, Visiting a temple.

Respecting The Temple grounds You Walk On


When in Thailand you cannot miss going to at least one of the many amazing temples. Spread throughout Thailand, temples are a spiritual place that require high respect. Here is what you need to know when you visit a Buddhist temple in Thailand.

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When On Temple Grounds

When visiting temples it is extremely important to dress appropriately. Some temples may be stricter on exactly what is worn due to their status so the best thing to do is cover all basis and cover up. Most temples will have an area where you will be able to hire appropriate clothing if you forgot to bring you own. It is important that as a foreigner, if you are being refused entry into a temple due to your clothing, don’t be offended. This is their religion and as a visitor it needs to be respected.

What Not To Wear

No sportswear or active-wear – These types of clothes tend to be quite tight fitting and not appropriate to wear. Plus, you should only be wearing this at the gym.

No tank tops, short shorts or short dresses – Shoulders and below the knees need to be covered. It’s best to wear long pants or a dress below the knees and a shirt and Ladies, if you have a scarf or a pashmina this may be used to cover your shoulders.

No clothing that has holes – You do not want to expose bare skin between the neck and knees.

No flip flops – Some places allow flip flops but it would be best to wear either slip-on shoes or sandals as they cover the toes. Pointing your feet at the Buddha is disrespectful as the feet are the lowest status of the body.

How To Behave In A Temple

When in a temple, you will be amazed with the atmosphere and beauty of it all but don’t forget that this is a spiritual place.

Keep noise down and always be respectful – Watch what the locals are doing as an example of how you should behave. Don’t touch anything you are not meant to.

Taking photos – It’s fine to take photos but make sure that you don’t go sticking your camera into anyone’s face. Not only is it annoying, it’s disrespectful as the locals come to the temple to gain merit (good karma). If you see that there are signs around to not take a photo then please refrain from doing so.

Women, please do not touch a monk – In Buddhism, a monk may have not purified from desires. If they touch a female then it may provoke lust.

Take off your shoes/sandals – You will notice outside a temple that there are many shoes and sandals on the ground. These cannot be worn inside a temple as they are dirty and it’s important to preserve the purity of the temple.

Leave the head alone – Do not touch anyone’s head. The head is the highest status of the body and must be respected.

Step over the threshold – Don’t step on a threshold while at a temple. Most temples have a raised threshold as you enter that Buddhist spirits live inside.

Taking these tips should allow you to be prepared for your visit to some of the most beautiful temples in the world.

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