Wat Pho


Welcome to the temple that is home for more than a thousand Buddha depictions! Wat Pho, or the Temple of Reclining Buddha is a Buddhist wat located next to the Grand Palace. The wat is also famous for being the cradle of traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho complex consists of two compounds: the northern is open for visits, while the southern houses monk's residential quarters and a school.

Wat Pho is the oldest temple in Bangkok that existed long before the country's capital was moved to this city. Rama I reconstructed the ancient monastery complex located on the site and became its active patron, while the proximity of the palace upgrades the temple's status to the royal wat title. Rama I ordered to collect Buddha depictions from the abandoned shrines of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and many other cities of Thailand and bring them to this temple. A group of four large stupas (chedi) symbolize first four Chakri dynasty kings (starting from Rama I), while the total number of chedis in the temple amounts to 95.

Next to the chedis there is a traditional medicine pavilion where today souvenirs are sold. Explanatory human anatomy sheets with acupuncture points are attached to its walls – this is how Thai massage was born. Even today there is a massage salon at Wat Pho.

However, the most famous aspect of this temple is of course its Reclining Buddha located in the wihan of the wat. This colossal depiction is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. This is the second largest Buddha statue in Thailand. Rama I built the wihan (also called the Viharn) around the statue which was later expanded. Under Rama III the Buddha statue was covered with gold leafs, and his giant feet with 108 mother-of-pearl panels, symbolizing 32 Buddha signs and 76 signs of physical perfection that define Buddha. Along the wall of the wihan there are 108 bronze bowls where one should throw coins, which will bring luck and a better reincarnation in the next life.

The ubosot is home to a part of the remnants of King Rama I. The outer balustrade round the ubosot features about 150 carved stone images of the Ramakien epic taken from a shrine in Ayutthaya.

At the monastery there are also several stone statues of guardians in cylinder hats brought from China in the 19th century. This is exactly how the Chinese imagined the foreigners.

Address: 2 Sanamchai Rd, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District
Opening hours: daily 8 am – 6.30 pm
How to reach: Tha Tien pier, buses 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 44, 48
Coordinates: 13.74657, 100.49272