Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha

While I was in Bangkok in April I wanted to visit as many important landmarks as I could in the short time I had. At the top of the list was Wat Pho, better know to the Thai’s as Wat Phra Chetuphon. Everyone else will know it as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Wat Pho is the largest and the oldest temple in Bangkok, sitting on 20 acres and predating Bangkok being named as the capital city of Thailand by 200 years. The temple not only holds the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand it also boasts the most Buddha images of any Wat in Thailand, having over 1000.

As a tourist attraction Wat Pho is among the most impressive in the world. The gold plated statue of the reclining Buddha represents the passing of Buddha into Nirvana and measures in at an amazing 15 meters tall and 46 meters long. Aside from the gold plating the Eyes of the Buddha and the bottom of the feet are made of mother of pearl. The soles of the feet are inlaid with intricate designs showcasing the 108 characteristics of the true Buddha.

While the main Wat complex is made up of two walled compounds,  the North compound is where you will find the temple of the reclining Buddha while the Southern compound is still a working monastery. You’ll know exactly where the North compound is when you see throngs of people gathering at the entrance. The entrance fee for western visitors is 350 baht while Thai’s are allowed in for free. Before entering the temple you will remove your shoes and store them in special shoe boxes outside the temple.

Once inside the temple you basically follow the flow leading down the front side of the Buddha and then back towards the exit from the rear of the Buddha. There is no time limit so you can wait out the crowds to get the best photos. While waiting for the best shot you can take in the beauty of the wall murals finished in gold leaf.

Once you round the feet of the reclining Buddha and move towards the rear of the statue you will see a line of brass pots against the wall leading to the exit. A small desk behind the feet  is where you will get a handful of prayer coins for a 20 baht note and as you exit you place one coin in each brass pot for blessings to be bestowed upon you. This really adds to the ambiance of the temple.

This is really the one attraction not to miss when visiting Bangkok. The temple grounds are very beautiful and the statue of the reclining  Buddha is amazing in all it’s splendor. More photos can bee seen in the gallery Wat Pho-Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

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    20 thoughts on “Change is inevitable: Thailand, Land of Smiles 3 Years on

    1. Congratulations on making the big move over to Thailand. After 3 years together it must be gut wrenching for you and Pookie to part and I wish you both all the best. Your visitor numbers are pretty impressive and I look forward to continue being one of those visitors and reading how you settle into life in Thailand. Let’s hope the welcome changes outweigh the unwelcome changes.


    2. Thank you for your straight-forwardness, and how you report things up front.

      I did get blocked out of your site a few times but am glad that issue is now behind us.

      I hope to have the pleasure to meet you for a beer in Pattaya near Thanksgiving, if you are in town.

      Best Wishes to you on your journey thru life via Thailand.

    3. Hi Talen, I only discovered your blog a couple of months ago, but I get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I understand how family can be the death of relationships between westerners and Thais. I have been so fortunate and have never really given anything to my in-laws. Luckily there is an older sister who has a bit of money.

      For a long time when I first came to Thailand I lived in my wife’s village near my in-laws; it was obvious to them from the start that I didn’t have a pot to pee in. I was also told in the beginning that my father-in-law isn’t to be given money because he is a drunk and my mother-in-law seems content with what she has; her main concern is that I take care of her daughter.

      I never had a problem with my in-laws until my son was born. There have been a few concerns since then. I once saw my mother-in-law try to give my son rain water to drink; she did this with her own children but she wasn’t gonig to be doing it with mine. She also wanted me to change my son’s English name because she didn’t think the local ghosts liked it. These problems all got sorted, and we get on well most of the time.

      I have seen a lot of other westerners have their relationship hit the rocks because of family. It is a shame.

    4. I don’t know a great deal about WordPress or PHP but I have been administering and developing internet based applications and servers for more than 18 years and never would I imagine putting a site the size of yours on its own server. A single processor Unix server is capable of handling 10 times the volume your site is likely to see, if it is designed, setup and configured correctly! I would look for a host with either higher bandwidth allowances or simply a better provider.

      Looking at the site through a web proxy will give you an idea of the files served, file sizes and bottlenecks. http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler2/

      FYI, less than 40% of the content from your ‘site’ actually comes from your server, of that content much of it could be ‘hosted’ on free services, like picassa et al for images.

      “This came down to one part of Thai culture that is still hard for many westerners to get a full grasp of; Family and Face.”

      What you have alluded to has little to do with ‘Thai’, or Asian, culture and face and more to do with individual wants, desires and greed. Wanting anything from a relationship always needs to be balanced with what both parties get out of it, it is actually healthy for any relationship for people to have wants and desires, especially financially, its what keeps people motivated to work and live a lifestyle they enjoy. Greed however is a different matter!

      I hope you are happy with your decision and life will move on happily for both of you.

    5. Talen, congrats on your imminent move to your own server! With all your guests and slideshows and such, I can see how you’d want a home of your own.

      As you know, back in May (Red Shirts) my site was getting megga hits for a short time and it did take it off line just the once. Thanks to your advice, I’m now using Hostgater. Same money, with HG better able to handle surges. But I have good long while before I’m anywhere near your number again.

      Sorry to hear that Pookie and you have parted ways. And you are right, a separation is best if her financial wants and yours do not mesh.

      So your life in Thailand really is going to be brand spanking shiny new. All over.

    6. Talen, I had a feeling something was imminent from a comment you made the other day.

      Your web traffic, compared to most of our circle is huge, but like said Lloyd I too am a little surprised you are heading to a dedicated server(if I understand you correctly). Perhaps you have other plans afoot

      Regarding your relationship with Pookie. Firstly let me say I hope that everything works out for both of you.

      I know that long distance relationships and their requirements are very different from day to day living together in Thailand.

      I am exceptionally lucky in that Duen’s family are not very demanding. Sure I help occasionally but on my terms. I also chose to live a good distance from them.

      Almost three years down the line we are now striking a good balance in our cultural mix. The journey so far has not always been easy but I believe it will continue to improve.

      If anyone ever asked for my advice on Thai/foreigner relationships(unlikely) then I would tell them that clear ground rules need to be set and that its a lot different living here 24/7 with someone(and possibly their family), just like it is back home.

      Good luck with all your coming ventures.

    7. So sorry to hear about you and Pookie, you have my sympathies.

      Nice to see the increase in traffic here though and sounds as if you have some pretty bright prospects coming up. Enjoy the move to the shiny new server as well

    8. I don’t want to sound condescending but you might want to use some of your budget and seek advice from a professional architect, DBA or developer (or all), or even through a reputable hosting company. Your site is not ‘that’ big, if you look at the content as simply text and images then 8Gb is rediculous, Buddha only knows how bad WordPress formats and stores data! (I just scraped all the text from every link on your domain and got less than 270Mb)

      My guys in Singapore manage a couple of sites that generate in excess of 3 million unique page view per month that are hosted on shared servers that we pay $16.95 per month for, through Crystaltech in the states (we use only Windows servers and .Net).

      Greed is probably what ruins most relationships in Thailand.

    9. The sites are what remains of Asia largest property portal and web based CRM systems that until late last years were used exclusively by 7 of Asias top 10 real estate and property development companies. The sites were used to persist and expose contact, lead and client data through HTML and XAML based data services, more than 120 real estate sites still receive content and access data and web services from the current shared service. The company was called OPS Asia (Incorporated in Malaysia), Overseas Property Systems Ltd. (OP-CRM.com and Overseas Property Systems) and is based in Bencoolen St, Singapore, two of our largest clients were Schroders Asia Pacific and CBRE Asia. At its peak more than 2000 users logged onto the CRM system via the web based UI per day, I sold the systems and ‘rights’ to the code in early 2009 and we have been reducing services since that time.

      “Plus why would anyone with that amount of traffic take a chance on a shared server”

      Do visits eat CPU power?

      Does serving files or cached data at high speed eat anything but bandwidth? There are no complex calculations or data manipulations being done on blog or comments systems just cache, persist and return data.

      Like I said, why try and manage 8000 images when you can pay for cloud storage and bandwidth, the same with cloud based or ‘shared’ database servers.

      There are so many factors that make using shared hosting favorable, especially when the host provides services in a mutually beneficial manner, ie; you work with the hosts as much as use the services they provide. But unless you seek professional advice you aren’t likely to get the right advice with expensive trial and error.

      Anyway good luck with whatever your plans I’m sure you will learn as you go along.

    10. Talen I am also sorry to read you and Pookie are going separate ways but if you feel it’s for the best then it’s better to be done now.

      I can guess the kind of strains mama and co might have put on your relationship because I’ve tasted a bit of that myself. Luckily I think I’ve drunk myself through that stage and Wi’s mama now understands that I’m not going to subsidise the family to any great lengths. I look after Wi and in turn if she wants to look after her family then so be it. It kind of works but we’re talking long distance. My troubles could start the day I arrive long term.

      I hope you find happiness in your new life and I’m sure you will. Being single in Pattaya isn’t a bad thing at all.

    11. OK you got me. I will stop lurking

      I really enjoy your blog. Nice short yet informative posts on Thailand. I am looking at moving to Thailand late next year after I get all moneyed up from working in the Alberta oilfields here in Canada. I spent a couple months in Thailand in 2006 exploring it and it was the one Asian country I knew in my heart that I would eventually return to, not to mention the friendly Thais that I met along the way. After receiving all my regular travelogue emails in 2006 my dad wants to move to Thailand as well for half the year.

      I am just starting to learn the Thai language with a few free sites online. How are your Thai lessons going so far? Are they starting you off with their writing and pronounciations first? Besides the free sites I was wondering if there was a better way to learn Thai that I could buy? Anything you have heard good things about as being a good program to learn Thai since I don’t mind paying for a good one since I don’t live in Thailand yet.

      I am sorry to hear about you and Pookie. As far as the cultural differences go it is something that I have wondered about for awhile now after looking through some of the Thai dating sites. I am interested in finding a Thai wife but don’t know if I would be willing to support her family if I am living in Thailand. I don’t mind supporting her and letting her quit her job etc.. but I have read where the youngest daughter takes care of the family and am unfamilar with their customs and culture and what would be expected from me since they would naturally assume I am rich. Similar to yourself if I live in Thailand I would be budgeting accordingly to have a decent lifestyle that can easily be maintained and I don’t mind giving out a bit of money here and there if I think her family needs it (IE like a few hundred bucks) but certainly wouldn’t want them to expect that every month like some residual income source. Is this something that many Thai women would expect from me or any farang from the west?



    12. Do read up and prepare, but nothing teaches you better than experience. I would suggest doing a few more trips to see you if you really like the place year-round.

    13. Do read up and prepare, but nothing teaches you better than experience. I would suggest doing a few more trips during the different seasons to see you if you really like the place year-round.

    14. Hi Talen,

      Sounds like you have some serious plans on the go, looking forward to hearing more about the empire.

      Sorry to hear your split with the lady, I can imagine it can be tricky to have a partner with children from a previous relationship but I’m sure it will work out for you. As Martyn said, being single in Pattaya has its benefits.

      “The one thing I’ have noticed about most of the successful relationships in Thailand is the fact that the family lives no where close to the couple.”

      I don’t think this is strictly true, I have a great relationships with my in-laws, it can be done. Though I think dating someone while living in Thailand will be more straight forward than your previous set-up. Good on you for following your conviction and laying down the law with Pookie – many a foreigner has gone in against his will and suffered the consequences.

      Let me know when you venture out of Pattaya, beers on me…or you when your super venture comes through!

    15. Hey Talen, don’t know where to start. Stuff happens . . .

      I commend you without qualification for putting your foot down (maybe both!) when you were given an ultimatum, which is what it sounds like. What’s the point of having principles when you give one or two of them up under external pressure? If the relationship was going to founder on the rocks of family greed, you’re better off moving on. I can say this as a detached observer. I would have done the same thing. I do mean that. I don’t doubt you bent here and there, but there were poisoned waters ahead and they would have been hard to avoid because of the momentum of family pressure. Then the price for the mistake would have become too high.

      I couldn’t understand most of what you and Lloyd were talking about but I do understand 50,000 to 80,000 PVs a month. Wow! Applause! And well deserved. I thought my quick run-up from 3,000 to 4,000 PVs/mo over a 6-week period was cool. Ah, well, like you said, the most valuable thing about churning out The Noodle Curtain is meeting fellow bloggers like yourself, virtually anyway.

      Happy 3rd anniversary! Will have to toast you personally next month. 17 more days to touchdown in LOS.

    16. This is a great site..i have only just found it but enjoy reading some of it…my bf will like this too as he is Farang who loves Thailand and wants to come here more….congratulations on your success..very inspiring…Ag

    17. Hi Talen,

      Finally caught up with your split with Pookie. Guess it’s for the better after having read your post.

      My in laws live 500 meters down the road. My luck is that they have money of their own but I can see and understand where this can become an issue if the situation is different.

      They helped me out on various occasions, also financially.

      Good luck with your server and sites, amazing amount of visits and page views.

      Even more good luck being single in Pattaya, what a horrible thought. Just tread careful my friend.

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