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.