Wat Pho: Home of the Reclining Buddha


This past weekend we ventured out to see another sight that can’t be missed while in Bangkok and that is Wat Pho.  Wat Pho, home to the Reclining Buddha, is actually the oldest temple in all of Bangkok and was founded in the seventeenth century.  Since its inception, this temple has had a few name changes; first, when it was founded they called it Wat Photaram and then another name change in 1801 to Wat Phra Chetuphon.  In 1832, Rama III built the home for the Reclining Buddha and decided to turn the temple grounds into a public center of learning.  To teach everyone of their Thai history they covered the walls in murals.  This temple was known as Thailand’s first university and still a primary location for learning Thai massage.

The Reclining Buddha is 45 meters (148 feet) long and covered in gold leaf, with a smile 5 meters long.  This statue depicts the Buddha entering Nirvana (I guess that’s why he looks so happy).  The temple is just big enough for the huge statue.  That is why all of the pictures look the way that they do; it is very hard to get a good picture here.  The feet are decorated in very detailed scenes all done in mother of pearl.  The bowls (in one of the pictures) are for individuals to put a coin in each one and it is said to bring good luck and a long life, there are 108 bowls total.  (Rough Guide to Bangkok)

Traveler Tip:  Go first thing in the morning.  The wat opens at 8:30am and there is no one there at this time.  It was perfect, the weather was cool, we were actually able to take our time in the temple of the Reclining Buddha, look around and not feel so rushed, unlike the Grand Palace it can feel like a cattle call.  There is the ability to stop and have a Thai massage but I think since you are at the “place” for thai massage it is more expensive.  They were offering a 30 minute massage for (I think) 300 baht.  You can go out on the street and get a hour massage for 280/300 baht at most places.

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