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Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Bangkok Attractions | Bangkok temples
Wat Pho: Phra Maha Chedi Sri Rajakarn
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Also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon, the Wat Pho is a stunning temple renowned for its famous Reclining Buddha statue. It is located just south of the Grand Palace complex, in the Phra Nakhon district. The full name of the Wat Pho temple is "Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn." The Wat Pho is renown as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

It is the largest and oldest Temple in Bangkok, at 20 acres large half of which is still a working monastery. The sprawling grounds of the Wat Pho also house over a thousand Buddha images, the single largest collection in all of Thailand. Many of these were originally from temples in former Thai capitals of Sukhothai and Ayuthaya. They were moved to Bangkok while the Burmese sacked the capital. The Wat Pho was Thailand's first university, and remains the most prominent traditional medicine university in Thailand.

This resplendent statue of the Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas) is 46m long and 15m high. It was designed to symbolize the Buddha's passing into nirvana. The statue's body is gold-plated, while its feet and eyes bear delicate mother-of-pearl inlays. The Reclining Buddha's enormous feet have mother-of-pearl motifs that depict 108 auspicious laksanas (or characteristics) of the true Buddha. It was created during the temple's restoration during the reign of Rama III.

Wat Pho History

It was built over two centuries ago. Before the founding of the Wat Pho, the site of its location was a traditional Thai school of medicine. An earlier temple, the Wat Phodharam, had also stood at this site. In fact, the Wat Pho was the result of a major restoration of this earlier temple, which was undertaken by King Rama III in 1788.

In 1962, the Traditional Thai Medical Massage School was established. The walls of the What Pho bear inscriptions carved in stone that document everything that is known about Thai massage dating back to the reign of King Rama III.

The Wat Pho's temple complex is made up of two walled compounds, which are bisected by Chetuphon Road. The Reclining Buddha and Massage school are located in the northern compound; this is typically where most tourists will go. The southern compound serves as a working monastery complete with Buddhist monks.

Wat Pho Thai Massage

Be sure to experience traditional Thai massage when you visit the Wat Pho. You can get a 30-minute massage for 150 baht, an hour's massage at 250 baht and an hour-long herbal Thai massage at 350 baht. A foot reflexology massage may be had at 250 baht for 45 minutes. The Wat Pho also offers courses in traditional Thai massage.

The Wat Pho is open daily from 08.00am to 5.00pm, including a break from 12.00pm to 1.00pm.

Wat Pho Dress

Wat Pho dress etiquette is fairly straight forward and applies to all the Thai Temples and the Bangkok Grand Palace. Midriff, arms and legs must be covered. Clothes and designer Jeans cannot be torn. Hats or head wear are not necessary. Shoes should be respectful but his one is not so key. The key point is that Thai dress tradition is formal with a lot of dressing up for meetings with government officers, doctors and anything to do with religion. Thai cultures demands this respected. If you are taking a massage be sure to where loose fitting clothes.

Hotels near the Wat Pho

The main region for hotels near the Temple compound is Riverside and some remarkably beautiful and luxurious hotels are available for you to choose from. Hotelatm.com like the The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok, Sheraton Royal Orchid Bangkok as the hotels that personify all that is truly great about Thai hospitality.


Last Updated: 27 Feb 2012


Photos for Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

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Gallery Photos
Wat Pho: Chedi Galore
Wat Pho: Contorted Hermit
Wat Pho: Detail of the Door Panels
Wat Pho: Reclining Buddha