If you want to understand Thai Temples, here are some easily recognized features to get you started:

The Thai word for temple is wat. When you are giving or receiving directions, Thais usually refer to the nearest wat since the neighborhood wat’s location will be familiar to everyone. That’s how central they are to Thai life.

Temples usually consist of several buildings: large buildings, shrines (big and small) and monuments enclosed–all by a wall. There are thousands of temples in Thailand, and every town and village has at least one. In Chiang Mai, where I live, some city blocks have four!

The word “wat” (วัด) means school, as the temples were the only place where formal education took place for centuries. To this day, poorer families send their children to the temple school. Buddhist wats usually consists of:

Now, here’s a video about understanding local, Chiang Mai Thailand temples:

http://youtu.be/2DDEel8pwfs

And Some More Reading to Help Your Understanding of Thai Temples

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