Wat Pho

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple in central Bangkok, Thailand, near the Grand Palace. It is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, and is a home of more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the large Reclining Buddha measuring 50 ft in height and 160 ft in length. The temple complex is more than 250 years old, and at one point it was the site of center of education for Thai traditional medicine. The temple complex also includes 91 chedis (mounds or stupas) that commemorate members of the Royal Thai family. There are four large chedis in the middle that commemorate the first four Thai Kings.

We visited Wat Pho as the first stop on our full day in Bangkok during the Southeast Asia trip in 2010. Kristi had been there before, so she just waited outside while I went in to check out the large Reclining Buddha. To go in, you first need to purchase a ticket, then you go in line to walk in. You have to take your footwear off and put them in one of the open slots on the long shoe rack outside the temple, as you have to go barefooted inside the temple (it’s pretty much a Thai cultural practice to take footwear off before entering a temple or even a house — to keep the interior floor clean). You can then walk inside and spend as much time as you like going around the large Buddha statue. Most people would go in to take a photo of it (it’s allowed), and then leave. On one side of the temple, there are 108 bronze bowls that represents 108 characters of Buddha. It is said that dropping coins into every single one of the bowls would bring in good luck (the proceeds would help the monks maintain the temple).

After that, we spent some time in the temple complex admiring the colorful buildings and chedis. There are also some writings and pictures on stone wall that illustrates instructions for traditional Thai medicine — helpful for those who back then could not read.

One activity you could also do at Wat Pho if you like is to get a Thai massage. After all, this place is said to be the birthplace of traditional medical practice. I was considering that as an interesting activity to do, but we ended up skipping that and moved on to visit the nearby Grand Palace instead.

The photo below was taken inside the temple. I tried to get as much as I could of the Buddha, and took the photo quickly before other people came and get into the field of view.

Reclining Buddha

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