Located in the Phra Nakhon district in Bangkok is the immensely popular and sacred Buddhist temple Wat Pho. This temple is primarily famous for the statue of the Reclining Buddha which is 46 meters in length and 15 meters tall.
It is also famous for its over 1000 fascinating images of Buddha which were found in the ruins of the former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, making it the largest collection in Thailand.
The Wat Pho temple dates back to 200 years in history and was built before the foundation of the current capital Bangkok.
Covering an area of over 20 acres of land, it is said to be the largest as well as the oldest temple in Bangkok. It has few similarities with the original structure since the temple was almost totally rebuilt by Rama I when the capital was moved to Bangkok.
This temple gives us a taste of ancient Buddhist culture and serves as a forbearer for the tradition of Buddhism. The august gathering of 1000 statues of Buddha in different yogic positions is remarkable in its own.
Attractions – what to see
Most people visit Wat Pho in order to have a glimpse of its main attraction, the statue of the Reclining Buddha, said to be one of the largest statues worldwide. Standing at 46 meters long and 15 meters high, beautifully gold plated, it illustrates the transition of Buddha into the stage of nirvana.
The statue has mother-of-pearl engravings at the feet and the eyes. The foot has another interesting feature: it portrays 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha in mother-of-pearls inlay, representing all auspicious things in Buddhist cosmology such as heavens, deities, mythical animals and royal regalia.
The other attraction is the main chapel, or ubosot in Thai. Originally constructed in the reign of King Rama I, the chapel was considerably enlarged by King Rama III. The structure is extended with a three-tiered roof down to meet the colonnade around the building.
Inside the ubosot houses an Ayutthaya-style bronze Buddha image, the Phra Putthadevapatimakorn, in the attitude of meditation. It contains Buddha relics and the ashes of King Rama I.
The temple and its premises are replete with different sizes and types of statues all over. Marble slabs with inscriptions, chapels, rock gardens, bell-towers, in-house library are some of the must-sees on a visit to the temple.
Visitors might get a taste of Thai culture, if they visit the temple on Sundays when students are taught dance and music in the temple itself.
Traditional Thai massage
Wat Pho is cited as the seat of traditional Thai massage and is probably the best place available to experience this unique way of relaxing your tired and tense muscles.
The temple offers various types of exotic Thai massages for a small fee of 150 to 350 Baht depending on the duration of the massage.
For those who want to practice this technique have the possibility to join a traditional Thai massage course. These are for 30 hours and cost 4,500 Baht. The courses can be spread over either 10 or 15 days. Contact the massage center at the back of the temple for more information.
Appropriate clothing is mandatory. No tank tops, shorts and sandals (unless with socks) are allowed within the compound. A clothing service booth is available for visitors that are improperly dressed.
It is advised to ignore people claiming the museum is closed for ‘Buddhist holiday’ or any other reasons, and asking if you would like to see another place instead. They are most probably part of the sophisticated gem and jewelry scam.
Opening Time: 8.00am – 5.00pm
Entrance Fee: 100 Baht per person
Location: Phra Nakhon
Phone Number: 02-225-9595
How to get to Wat Pho
Take the BTS skytrain (Silom Line) to Saphan Taksin. Take exit 1 and descend to Tha Sathon pier where you can take the Chao Phraya River Express to Tha Tien. When getting of the pier you can clearly see Wat Pho on your right.