Thailand is many experiences rolled into one fantastic destination. For most travellers, Thailand means good food and great nature vistas. One can just wander off in the busy street markets relishing on mouth-watering delicacies, take in the local sights and sounds, marvel at the dynamic metropolitan structures, experience the lush life at opulent resorts and bask in tropical sunny days on beaches or have an adventurous day in the hilly areas of Thailand. However, there is one experience which is rapidly gaining attention throughout the world – it is the spiritual side of Thailand that has allured many travellers seeking inner peace to places that exude divine solitude. Thailand is one of the world’s top spiritual destinations as it is brimming with a fusion of culture and religions. Among these, Buddhism is widely practiced throughout Thailand and its proof can be seen scattered throughout the country in form of Buddhist temples, relics and meditation retreats. Spiritual seekers will feel overwhelmed with the wide range of options to choose from. For those who are keen on discovering the spiritual side of Thailand, here are our top picks for spiritual destinations in Thailand.
Tiger Cave Temple
A Buddhist temple set in the north of Krabi is one among the most sacred Buddhist shrines in Thailand. Also known as Wat Tham Sua, Tiger Cave Temple is shrouded in dense forest and has a series of caves where monks live a simple peaceful life. As you approach the caves, you will be met with an astounding sight of a tall statue of Golden Buddha. To reach the main temple you need to hike up a hilly terrain consisting of 1237 steps. Those in quest of spiritual vibes amid soothing vistas are on the perfect path to attain an incredibly stunning panorama of the green rainforests and the Andaman Sea below.
Wat Pho – Temple of Reclining Buddha
Who would have thought of Bangkok being a quintessence of tranquility? Amid the fast-paced life of Bangkok lie many glorious temples and shrines that are ideal escapes to slow down, take the time to pause and get in touch with your spiritual senses. One of the most popular Thailand tourist attractions, the Temple of Reclining Buddha is set right in the heart of Bangkok. The glittering temple holds ornate idols and relics of Buddha, but that is not all it has to offer. Within the temple, you can try guided meditation and also learn something ethnic about ancient medicines and massages at the school of Thai medicines and traditional Thai massage which are open for visitors.
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
One of the sacred places worshiped by Thai locals among the spiritual places to visit in Thailand, Wat Phrathta Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai is a site that goes beyond its natural beauty. Set on the peak of Doi Suthep, the temple is surrounded by verdant rainforest and is part of Doi Suthep National Park. It is adorned with intricate Thai architectures, relics and various sculptures of Buddha. Travellers can pay their respects by offering lotus blooms and lighting incense at the shrine, and meditate in sublime silence at the Doi Suthep Vipassana Meditation Centre. The trek all the way to reach this temple is through the lush hilly terrain and the astounding panoramic vistas of Chiang Mai is another reason you would not want to miss this spiritual experience.
Doi Inthanon, Ban Luang
If you are an avid trekker, in search of spiritual rejuvenescence and confused as to where to go in Thailand to find such a fantastic fusion experience, then Doi Inthanon is the perfect excursion for you. The highest mountain in Thailand is home to two beautiful pagodas commemorated in honour of the last king of Chiang Mai which also enshrines remnants of Buddha. Surrounded by dense green woodlands, the trail to these temples is refreshing and offers astounding nature vistas. The climate here is refreshingly cool and pleasant year around and trekking through thick forests dotted by some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Chiang Mai is soul stirring – a unique way to spend some time away from daily chaos, in near-silence ambiances. Doi Ithanon is definitely worth to visit for an adventurous yet soothing experience.
Dragon Cave, Phang Nga
Initially used as an asylum for cancer and HIV patients, Dragon Cave offered assistance way before became a haven for meditation and spiritual wellness. Located in the mountains of Phang Nga, the caves provide utter stillness for deep meditation and soul relaxation. Converted into meditation chambers, you can interact with monks who will guide you through Buddhist meditation and give you a glimpse of their daily life away from the real world of hustle and bustle. The dramatic backdrop of archaic formations of stalagmites and stalactites provide a surreal aura that enhances the calmness and solitude of the spiritual experience.
Though Thailand portrays a vibrant fast paced lifestyle and stresses on leisure relaxation and is represented as a place for merriment, seeking solace in spiritualism is also another aspect of Thai living, where obtaining inner peace, spiritual cleansing and meditation stands prominently for a still and serene lifestyle. Many globetrotters visit Thailand to spend time at beaches and enjoy the nightlife. But it is also a great spot to let go of the real pace of life, stop, take a deep breath and feel your lungs expand with crisp fresh air slowly soothing your mind, body, and soul. Thailand is indeed an ideal affordable spot for relaxation as well as meditation. The fast emerging trend of spiritual tourism is captivating an overwhelming number of travellers as a way to take a sabbatical from real life to get in touch with inner self hence apart from Buddhist temples and mountain peak monasteries, Thailand offers a wide array of meditation sights and health resorts for spiritual wellness. The Sanctuary at Ko Pha-Ngan, Samui Dharma Healing Center, The Spa Samui, Ko Samui, Wat Suan Dok, Wat Kow Tahm are few wellness centers and meditation retreats in Thailand that lets you escape the earthly pleasures and immerse yourself in finding solace in peace.
To experience the best of both worlds, opt for a short stay package such as a Bangkok – Pattaya tour package where you can enjoy the vigorous lifestyle and splendor of Thailand and later balance out the holiday by finding bliss and serenity at spiritual regions where Thailand warmly welcomes you to discover the spiritual side of Thailand.