Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho

Wat Pho is bigger than life and a place that will take your breath away. Located not far from the Grand Palace, it is one of the must-see sights in Thailand. This amazing temple is named after a wat where Buddha is believed to have resided. Although many people visit the temple, its environment still exudes a great feeling of peace.

Wat Pho is one of the most beautiful temples one can see when visiting Bangkok, Thailand. Its pillars and walls are covered with intricate designs of different colors and gold. Without a doubt, it will keep you in awe – wondering about the time, talent, and craftsmanship that were dedicated to the construction, renovation, and maintenance of this amazing and sacred structure.

In 1767, a massive statue of Buddha from Ayuthaya’s Wat Phra Si Sanphet was destroyed by the Burmese. King Rama had some of its fragments added to the mixture used to build the Wat Pho. The temple went through various renovations over a period of 260 years.

At some point in King Rama III’s rule, plaques with medical text inscriptions were set all over the temple, making Wat Pho the center of Thai Arts. This is also where the knowledge for traditional Thai Medicine is passed on from ancestors to future generations.

Before its construction, the Wat Pho’s site was the center of education for traditional Thai medicine. In 1955, Wat Pho opened its doors to the public and the Wat Pho Thai Traditional Medical and Massage School was established. It is the best place to experience and learn authentic Thai massage and one of the most popular relaxation techniques used worldwide, Yoga.


Wat Pho: Home of the Reclining Buddha

Those who enter the Wat Pho will be greeted by the impressive reclining Buddha statue. This famous temple is one of the oldest wats in Bangkok and home to more than a thousand Buddha images. But of course, Wat Pho’s “superstar” is the massive figure of the reclining golden Buddha. It stands, or in this case lies, 15 meters in height and 43 meters in length with its right arm bent, supporting its head.

Those who don’t know better would think that the only fascinating feature of the Reclining Buddha is its immense size. But, upon viewing the statue’s feet (measuring 3 meters in height and 4.5 meters in length), they will be surprised and amazed at what they will see. The Buddha’s feet are inlaid with mother of pearls that are intricately made to show 108 auspicious scenes, representing 108 positive actions and symbols which molded Buddha into perfection.

Interestingly, there are 108 bronze bowls lining the hall. And, if you wish, one can drop a coin in each bowl for good luck. Even if your wishes do not come true, this is a good way for you to help raise funds to keep this place in splendid condition.

Beside the structure that houses the reclining Buddha, there is also a modest garden. Its centerpiece is a Bodhi tree reproduced from the Indian tree where Buddha was sitting while waiting for enlightenment.


Wat Pho: Experience the Most Relaxing Massage You’ll Probably Get in Your Lifetime

After a long tour of the grounds, remember, you are in the best place to relax. Take time to get an authentic Thai massage and relieve those aching muscles that you got from a day of sightseeing and photography. As the center for traditional Thai massage, you can be assured of getting the best massage in your life. Many of the rich and famous from all over the world have visited and gotten a taste of the services provided.

If you wish to also to learn this amazing skill, you can opt to take courses here. The courses for learning traditional Thai massage in Wat Pho are for 30 hours which can last for 10-15 days.


Wat Pho: Dos and Don’ts

How can visitors make their Wat Pho visit as problem-free as possible? Like at every site one visits, there are a few things one must know, always keep in mind, and do to show admiration and respect for the Wat Pho and the people who run it.

If you have visited the Grand Palace not far from Wat Pho, the dos and don’ts are similar. No tank tops and no short shorts for both men and women. If you wish to wear shorts because of the hot weather, just remember that the length of your shorts should be below your knees. Tourists are required to remove their footwear before they enter, so be ready for that as well. The last reminder, but definitely not the least, is enjoy Wat Pho!