Bangkok runs Hidden Temples tour while Deep South restores temples

PHOTO: Temples (like Wat Intharam, pictured) are being highlighted in tours in Bangkok and restored in the Deep South. (via Wikimedia)

With so much talk during the pandemic about closing nightlife and the effect on tourism, one might forget that millions of people flock to Thailand to enjoy other facets of the kingdom aside from beaches and parties, booze, and women. Now, various government agencies are coming together to highlight the beautiful architecture and culture of the temples of Thailand.

In Bangkok, a new “Hidden Temples” tour has been launched, while 17 temples in the Deep South have received funding for restoration.

As part of the ongoing “Unfolding Bangkok” event, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Creative Economy Agency, and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau in Asia have teamed up to highlight lesser-known temples in the capital city. It’s an oft-cited travel factoid that Bangkok is home to over 400 temples.

The Hidden Temples tour brings people to some of these unsung gems. Deputy Bangkok Governor Sanon Wangsrangboon joined visitors in touring five temples in Bangkok Noi on the Thon Buri side. The Faculty of Architecture at Silpakorn University and Urban Ally joined the CEA in hosting the tours including Wat Phumarin Ratchapaksi and Wat Dusitdaram.

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Previous tours visited Wat Intharam and Wat Chantaram-Wat Ratcha Khruet in the Talat Phlu last month, and on December 17 to 25, tours will be hosted in Bang Yi Khan showcasing Wat Phraya Siri Aisawan-Wat Suaansawan and Wat Kharuhabodi.

Organisers hope that the temple tours will stimulate the local economy while also teaching the visitors about Buddhism and local life and even traditional food, according to the National News Bureau of Thailand.


Meanwhile, in the Deep South, 17 Buddhist temples that have been crumbling over the past 100 years are slated for renovations. The government earmarked 80 million baht to restore the old temples. These first 17 will be rolled out in two stages, and represent a drop in the bucket of the 138 temples in the four Southern provinces that require repairs.

The temples in Thailand’s southernmost provinces of Yala, Pattani, Songkhla, and Narathiwat have had particularly poor upkeep because of decades of insurgents clashing as they fight for independence. Buddhism is a minority in the mostly-Muslim southern provinces. Authorities say that repairing these old temples will allow Buddhists to perform religious ceremonies and coexist peacefully amongst the majority of Muslims.

The 10 temples that have been deemed the most spiritually significant will be allocated a budget of around 63 million baht. Whatever money is left of the government grant will be used to rehabilitate an additional seven temples in more remote locations.

Thai PBS World reported that the government is also working on programs to preserve and restore ancient mosques in the region. They have set up a centre for studying the Koran and an Islamic cultural heritage museum in the south as well.

Bangkok NewsSouth Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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