Wat Pho

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Wat Pho or “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” is definitely one of Bangkok’s most attractive temples. It is also one of Thailand’s most visited temples for its huge Reclining Buddha image it houses. Since it’s located south of the Grand Palace, it’s perfect for a day of temple hopping in Bangkok

The temple’s official name is called “Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangkhalaram”, and is one of the six first-class royal temples in Thailand. It is also one of the oldest and largest temples in the country, and we recommend every visitor to Thailand should visit this marvelous religious structure once they’re here. 

Wat Pho was built during the reign of King Rama I and experienced more construction in 1788 when the king decided he wanted to make it larger. King Rama I’s ashes are actually found in the ordination hall of Wat Pho. 

Much of the temple’s architecture is Ayutthaya-style. In fact, many of the structures in the temple grounds were brought from the former capital of Ayutthaya. For instance, the large Chinese statues around the temple’s 16 entrances were once a part of Chinese junk boats. Similar statues can also be found in Wat Suthat, located near the iconic Giant Swing.

Sure, Wat Pho is not just any other temple in Thailand, but it’s also the birthplace of the famed traditional Thai Massage. At a time when Thai massage was about to go extinct, King Rama I had the vision to set up what is now known as Thailand’s first public university where the traditions of Thai medicine and massage would be preserved and passed down to the future generations. 

Nowadays, Wat Pho a center for knowledge and study about traditional Thai medicine, with traditional Thai massage playing an integral part.

Perhaps the most obvious highlight of Wat Pho is, of course, the Reclining Buddha. Built in 1848. It is the largest Buddha statue in all of Thailand. The numbers speak for itself: 15 meters tall, and 46 meters long. It is in fact so large that it looks like it’s been squeezed into the ordination hall. Furthermore, the Buddha's feet are 5 meters long and are gracefully decorated with illustrations of laksanas, or the characteristics of the Buddha. 

Apart from the golden structures, marble interiors, and Buddha images, Wat Pho is also home to a sacred Bodhi tree that is believed to have been grown from part of the tree under which Lord Buddha became enlightened.

TakeMeTour's Review

You'll find slightly fewer tourists at Wat Pho than the neighboring Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace. However, Wat Pho is one of our favorites among the sights of Bangkok. In fact, Wat Pho has a whole host of superlatives: Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha, the most expansive collection of Buddha images in Thailand, and the country's oldest center for public education. No doubt one of the top places to visit in Bangkok, a visit to Wat Pho will surely open your eyes to Thailand’s unique culture!

Visit Wat Pho with a local