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Wat Po

Bangkok Attractions | Wat Po Temple In Bangkok

Wat Pho: Phra Maha Chedi Sri Rajakarn
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The oldest and one of the most interesting temples in Thailand is Wat Po. This magnificent temple is home to the famous reclining Buddha. It is also the home of the Wat Po traditional Massage technique that is practiced in Bangkok and the south of Thailand.

The Wat Po was originally built in the 17th century and due to the serene face of Buddha enshrined there is known as the huge Reclining Buddha of the Wat Po. Wat Po takes it's name form the Temple in India where the Lord Buddha is supposed to have lived. The Temple was built by Rama III after the Authaya's Wat Si Sanaphet was sacked by the Burmese in 1767. Parts of this holy temple were then incorporated in Wat Po as it was built.

Wat Po Reclining Buddha

The huge Temple compound is half given over to a monastery. The other half are the grounds of the Reclining Buddha and the Thai Massage School.

Inside the main part of the Wat Po is the giant alter. The large statue of a Reclining Buddha is 15 m high and 43 m long with his right arm supporting the head. It is finished with pure gold and crystal. There are over ninety five chedis in the temple. Behind the courtyard contain the chedis of the four kings mondop and they are all holding sacred scriptures.

There are one hundred and fifty two stone plaques inscribed with Medical text in the Wat Po temple. These not only laid the foundation for the teaching and development of Thai Massage but also depict life in Thailand, the culture, the Chakri rulers and sacred writings.

The Wat Po is no longer an active university; but is known as the first community university but is revered as being one of the most sacred places in Bangkok.

There are places in the Wat Po temple you cannot get to. This is because of the way the temple was designed many years ago. Statues blocking small buildings believed to hold remains of kings or other important historical figures.

The Wat Po temple has overcome many battles that have come and gone through the years in Bangkok, however every time, special forces had always been assigned to the temple, and it was never destroyed.

The Wat Po is a temple that a lot of people say is a big representation of Bangkok and their respect of Buddha. To illustrate a bit more on the giant golden Buddha with the serene face in the front part of the Wat Po temple, I should note that the soles of this reclining Buddha are 150 feet away from his head. Not to mention the inlay of mother of pearl to display the 108 auspicious signs which lets everyone know this is a true Buddha.

A small building can be seen near these chedis but it is not open to tourists or to the public for that matter. It is a climate controlled building alongside the Wat Po temple courtyard. This building holds sacred writings that are literally written on delicate palm leaves and have been preserved in the climate controlled building for years.

The Wat Po temple sees many tourists every year, and some residents of Bangkok still come to the Wat Po temple to pray.

Wat Po Dress

Wat Po Dress sense takes it's lead from polite formal Thai society. Thai people love to dress up as a sign of respect to their elders and to formal institutions. The monks and lay people in the Wat Pho temple do not accept bare midriff, arms or legs. Designer torn clothes are not accepted either. There is no head wear protocol and open toe shoes are acceptable but it is appreciated if it is more than the simple flip flop.

Wat Po location

The Wat Po temple is down by the Chao Praya River near the Bangkok Grand Palace. You can get here by taking the river boat to the east bank ferry port of Wat Aron. The temple is 350 meters from the pier. If you take the metered taxi all the drivers will know Wat Po. The best luxury places to stay to enjoy these historical sights are at the river front hotels like the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok and the Sheraton Royal Orchid Bangkok

More information on the Wat Po here.


Last Updated: 27 Feb 2012


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