Temple of the Emerald Buddha ( Wat Phra Kaew ) , is located on the Royal Palace grounds in Phra Nakhon District of Bangkok, Thailand. The Emerald Buddha carved out of a piece of jade stone is enshrined in the ordination hall of the main building. Seated in meditation, it is about 26 inches ( 66 cm ) tall. The temple is considered the most sacred of all temples in Thailand because the Emerald Buddha’s presence is a symbol of prosperity for Thailand. No one is allowed except for the Thai king or the crown prince to touch the Emerald Buddha. There is an important ritual of changing cloaks of the Buddha three times a year for change of seasons. This is done by the residing king himself.
In 1785, King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I) moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok after the Burmese attacked the city of Ayutthaya and started construction of the temple. It is believed that the Emerald Buddha was first found in Chiang Mai ( then Chiang Rai ) in the 15th century. After being moved several times, it was finally enshrined at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok. There are some conflicting theories about the origin of the Emerald Buddha and the truth will most likely remain a mystery; Some say it came from India or Sri Lanka.
Other notables in the temple are the Reclining Buddha and the model of Angkor Wat. The model of Angkor Wat was built during the period of time when Thailand ( then Siam ) controlled Cambodia by King Rama IV.
Dress appropriately; no short skirts / shorts/ sleeveless shirts!