Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho-Temple of the reclining Buddha (4)

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.

Wat Pho-Temple of the reclining Buddha (6)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.

Wat Pho-Reclining Buddha (1)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.

Wat Pho-Temple of the reclining Buddha (20)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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9 Comment(s)

  1. Talen I agree a must visit place even if you are only in BKK for a short time.

    I remember throwing my coins when I first visited Thailand in 2000, never guessed I would end up living here!

    Mike | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  2. Mike, it would seem the coins did their thing and and got you living here despite yourself.

    Talen | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  3. Talen I hate to sound ignorant but I haven’t read about this before let alone seen it. You really are doing a good job of convincing me to take some time out in Bangkok. The Reclining Buddha is a true work of art and dedication, it must of taken years to construct. Wilai would absolutely love this and I’m sure I would too. When my Bangkok stay does arrive I promise I’ll visit Wat Pho.

    Martyn | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  4. Martyn, Pictures don’t do it justice. It is huge and very beautiful. The detail work that went in to the soles of the feat is mind bogglingly beautiful.

    Talen | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  5. Talen, you must have read my mind as I’ve just embarked on a new and improved Wat experience…

    I have a Thai teacher who is also a good friend. Whenever we can, we enjoy hanging out together. And since she’s a dedicated Buddhist (although she says not) we are always stopping off at Wats everywhere.

    She prays, while I wander around taking photos. But I mostly wander around blind.

    So, knowing that I’m going to be here a loooooooooooong time, I’ve decided to revamp my Wat watching.

    I’ve started a study on the painted murals and I’m glad I did. The books cover materials, composition, and story lines.

    The story elements that run through the murals are particularly interesting. They are only touched on in the mural books, so I’ve had to track down separate books to find out the details.

    So please expect pingbacks to your fantastic Wat posts in the future. Because I’m quite happy to cover the murals, while pointing my readers to you for the rest :-)
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners: Rikker Dockum =-.

    Catherine | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  6. Cat, The murals are gorgeous and I would love to find out more about the stories they tell. While I was at the Grand Palace they were re-painting the gold leaf on all the murals, which, as you can imagine, was a very tedious job.

    Talen | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  7. Talen, The Thais do seem to love detail! And I do too, so it’s a perfect fit.

    There is a starter type book on Murals that you might be interested in: Introduction to the Thai Mural, by K.I. Matics. I got my copy from DCO books.

    Apparently Wat Pho goes against the typical format due to its size and number of structures. I’ll have to read further, then check it out for myself and get back to you.
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners: Rikker Dockum =-.

    Catherine | Aug 18, 2009 | Reply

  8. This looks and sounds amazing, I might be stopping in Bangkok on my way to Oz and this looks like a must see while Im there.

    Cheers Carmel

    Carmel | Aug 19, 2009 | Reply

  9. Simply beautiful – Makes me want to leave for Bangkok right away!
    .-= tempo dulu´s last blog ..Seven amazing sex facts about Indonesia =-.

    tempo dulu | Jan 16, 2010 | Reply

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