After visiting the Grand Palace, I continued my journey in the Thai capital to see more popular temples near where I was staying, one of which is Wat Pho where it houses the famous Reclining Buddha. It was still a hot afternoon when I took a 10 minute walk to the temple.
I paid 100 Baht in order to enter one of the gates, good thing the admission comes with a complementary water bottle.
Wat Pho is another temple rich in history situated in the district of Phra Nakhon together with the Wat Phra Kaew. It is the oldest temple in Bangkok and has 1,000 Buddha images displayed. It wasn’t a surprise to me when I saw a couple of tourists inside the temple complex but good thing it wasn’t that crowded compared to the Grand Palace.
The outside was overwhelming that it took me a hard time to choose where to start. There were several photo shoot worthy pavilions, gates, and shrines that were just waiting to be discovered by visitors.
The 80,000 square meter temple is divided in to two sections. The northern part is the ‘phutthawat’ where tourists can gain access in order to marvel at the beautiful architectures and well-crafted Buddha statues. The southern part on the other hand is the ‘sankhawat’ where the monks live and study.
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha
The highlight of Wat Po is the famous Reclining Buddha. This gigantic statue is coated in gold and is 46 meters long and 15 meters high! I found it a bit challenging to take a photo of the Reclining Buddha in one frame because of its long stature.
I was immediately surprised when I went in. The structure housing the Reclining Buddha was being supported by pillars with intricate designs and behind was the famous image that I only saw in photos and TV documentaries back then. It took me quite some time to get a good image from my camera since there were dozens of visitors who were taking turns just to snap a souvenir photo of this marvelous golden masterpiece.
In front of the enormous Buddha statue are 108 bronze bowls where you can drop coins for good fortune. Number 108 is a significant figure in Buddhism. It represents the 108 actions that helped Buddha attain perfection.
The 108 auspices of Buddha are also illustrated on its soles which is 5 meter long. These artworks are embedded with mother-of-pearl and can easily be seen from the outside through the pavilion’s window.
Phra Chedi Rai
Within the temple grounds is the popular Phra Chedi Rai. Most of these stupas were built by King Rama III. These 5 meter tall towers contain the ashes of the royal family. I was also astounded to find out that some of these structures contain the relics of Buddha.
Wat Pho is an amazing place to visit! The place has a mix of solemnity and touristy vibe to it and is an interesting combination. It is ideal to put this in number 2 of your Bangkok Itinerary next to the Grand Palace. Wat Pho is just 10 minutes away on foot if the weather and baggage weight permits.
With 1,000 Buddha Statues (including 1 gigantic reclining one.), colossal stupas, traditional massage therapists, and shrines ideal for meditation, Wat Pho is indeed a bucket list-worthy place to go to.
Admission: 100 Baht
Opening Hours: 06:00-18:00
Other things to do:
- Learn or experience authentic Thai massage.
- Get free water from their refilling station (Take advantage of this since it gets very hot especially during summer.)
- Buy some stuff for your family and friends back home in their souvenir shop.
- Consult with a fortune teller (Located inside the shop)
As always when it comes to visiting temples, a strict dress code policy applies:
- For men: Long pants and sleeved shirts are to be worn. No sleeveless or tank tops allowed.
- If you’re wearing sandals, you should wear socks as well.
- For women: See-through clothes and off-shoulder dresses are prohibited.
- Short shorts are also not allowed.
How to get there:
- From Suvarnabhumi Airport, go to the basement where the train station is located. Buy a token (30Baht) and head to Phaya Thai station. You can then get a taxi to drive you to the Grand Palace. (Always check if the driver is using a taxi meter.)
- If you’re coming from the other side of the city, you can take a boat ride to cross Chao Phraya river for 4 Baht. Take the ones bound to Tha Chank Wang Luang Pier.
Where to stay:
I booked a hotel reservation at the Royal Tha Tien Village. It’s just 5 to 10 minutes away from the temples and is an ideal place to stay when exploring Bangkok. Please contact them or visit www.agoda.com for some good deals: