Places To See In Bangkok: The Temple Of The Reclining Buddha
About Wat Phra Chetuphon or Wat Pho
Wat Po, known to tourists simply as the Temple Of The Reclining Buddha, is one of the grandest Buddhist temples in all of southern Asia. This building is the largest and most majestic temple in Bangkok and it houses the largest single image of Buddha in the country; a giant gold statue of the Buddha, reposing 46 meters long. Wat Po temple also houses the greatest number of images of Buddha in Thailand including hundreds of gold statues that surround the Reclining Buddha.
The temple itself is large, grand and staked out in massive red pillars. It is sure to make an impression on anyone who visits.
Strangely, one of the major reasons that many tourists flock to see this Reclining Buddha daily are to look at the soles of his feet which contain the uniquely inscribed “108 auspicious signs.” These symbols are beautiful iconic representations of the Buddha’s teachings and ensure that visitors to Wat Po will return with something to contemplate.
As well as being a temple, the complex is divided in two parts. The second section houses the many saffron-robed monks who mill around the temple worshipping and maintaining this centuries-old Wat.
Brief History of Wat Po
As a testament to the sheer age of this building, the temple was restored and renamed in 1788 by The Great King Rama I. Despite being restored again in 1982, very little major work has been done on this monastery for centuries. In fact, the temple remains much the same as when it was first built.
The site of the temple has always been a shining example of Thai intellect and culture. Prior to its inauguration as a temple, the area was an old centre for study in Thai medicine. This area has been credited with the invention of Thai massage. To this day, plaques containing medical texts are positioned around the temple.
Tips for visitors to Wat Po
The temple is open to all visitors between 8 am and 5 pm local time with an admission fee of only 20 baht or approximately 60 American cents. Professional monks often offer massages to tourists until 6 pm. Wat Po is located near the river on Maharat Road, approximately ⅔ km south of The Grand Palace. The temple welcomes male and female visitors of all ages to come and enjoy the magnificent Buddhist art that is displayed.