Wat Pho: Reclining Buddha Temple in Bangkok
Wat Pho in Bangkok, or better known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of the most important Buddhist temple complexes in the Thai capital. On a temple tour you will discover many beautiful things: colorfuly decorated chedis, golden Buddha statues, a massage school, beautiful mural paintings, stone statues and many different temple buildings. In case you get tired, you will even have the opportunity to relax while having a temple massage. The ultimate attraction of the Wat Pho temple, however, is the approximately 46-meter-long sleeping Buddha, which attracts thousands of visitors every day and so a visit is one of the best things to do in Bangkok.
This post is a guide about what to expect when visiting Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. In addition, we give you all the important tips on tours, history and opening hours and prices.
General information about Wat Pho
The official name of the Wat Pho temple is actually Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchawaworamahawihan. But locals and tourists always call him by his short name Wat Pho. This beautiful temple is located directly in the historical center of Bangkok, not far away from the river Chao Phraya and the ferry station Tha Tian. The highlight and the most important attraction of the temple complex is the 45 meter long Reclining Buddha, but many more interesting things to see will await you during a visit to the temple.
The history of Wat Pho in Bangkok goes back to the 17th century. The temple was built 1688-1703 in the Ayutthaya period. At the end of the 18th century it was restored and extended under King Rama I for more than 10 years, between 1789 and 1801. In further consequence there were renovations for 16 years under King Rama III. Today it is a Royal Temple of the First Class.
Visiting the Wat Pho Temple
On a visit to Wat Pho in Bangkok, you will enjoy unbelievably beautiful highlights. In addition to the well-known main attraction, the resting Buddha, many more amazing things are waiting for you. About 100 chedis, beautiful belfries, a small museum, the massage pavilion, mystical stone statues and countless golden Buddha statues are just a few of the other interesting attractions of this famous temple complex.
Tip: The best time to visit Wat Pho is early morning from 8:00 am. At this time you can escape the crowd and take some really amazing pictures. From 10:00 am it gets really crowded.
Stupas & Chedis
Across the entire temple area, you can see various beautiful stupas and chedis. The 5 chedi Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn are with a height of 42 meters the largest ones. Beautifully decorated with different colored Chinese mosaics, they are one of the main attractions in Wat Pho. But also the 71 smaller 5 meter high stupas (Phra Chedi Rai) are remarkable. They contain the ashes of the royal family and are located around the monastery and temple buildings.
The Buddha Statues
Also, amazingly picturesque Buddha statues are located at Wat Pho. Very interesting is the Phra Buddha Lokanat, a standing Buddha in original Sukhothai style. But also the 150 statues inside the monastery and the 244 buddha statues on the outside are beautiful and offer magnificent photo opportunities. Another attraction is the Phra Buddha Chinnasri statue, which was brought by King Rama I from the city of Lopburi.
Main Temple of Wat Pho (Phra Ubosot)
The main temple of Wat Pho is not, as many believe the Viharn of the reclining Buddha, but it is the Phra Ubosot. This building is the holiest site in the temple complex and the place where the monks perform their most important ceremonies. Inside the Phra Ubosot you can see a beautiful seated Buddha statue, the Phra Buddha Theva Patimakorn, perched on a three-tiered golden pedestal decorated with crystals. With a little luck you can watch the monks praying there.
The Reclining Buddha
The main attraction and best thing to see of Wat Pho is the Reclining Buddha, the Phra Buddha Saiyas. Visitors are thrilled by this approximately 46 meters long and 15 meters high golden Buddha statue. The Reclining Buddha is the largest sleeping buddha Bangkok and the 3rd largest in Thailand. The recumbent position symbolizes the entry of the Buddha into Nirvana – the end of all rebirths. The Buddha consists of bricks, which were covered with plaster and then painted in gold. Especially beautiful are the 3 m high and 4.5 m long feet of the Buddha. The soles of the feet are ornately decorated with mother-of-pearl.
But not only the reclining Buddha is interesting, the entire temple hall with the impressive mural paintings and the many golden bowls is very lovely.
Another highlight in Wat Pho are the professional temple massages. Right in the temple area there is an excellent medical and massage school, which is even considered to be the cradle of traditional Thai massage. Perfect if you want to have a massage during a long sightseeing trip through Bangkok.
The prices are a bit higher than somewhere on the beach, but for that you get top quality. An hour Thai massage or foot massage at Wat Pho costs around 600 Baht. The reservation takes place directly on site.
How to get to Wat Pho
Wat Pho is located in the Old City of Bangkok, very close to the Royal Palace and Wat Arun. For a sightseeing tour, you can easily combine these 3 sights. Just remember for getting from Wat Arun to Wat Pho you will have to take the boat.
From the river, it is best to reach the temple by express boat at Tha Tien stop. From there it is only a few minutes’ walk to Wat Pho.
Of course, you can also reach the temple by taxi, but for a cheap price make sure the taximeter is switched on. The temple is not yet connected to MRT or BTS.
Opening Hours & Entrance Fee
Wat Pho is open daily from 08:00 am to 6:30 pm. The best time for visiting is either in the morning or just before the temple closes.
The entrance fee is 200 baht per person. With the admission ticket a small bottle of water is included.
Another great option is to visit this temple as a part of a guided tour. Such temple tours are really popular in Bangkok and a great way to see a lot in one day and to learn so much about the interesting facts. Here are the best tours in town:
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