Location: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Reason to visit: The largest temple in Thailand, a great place to get a traditional Thai massage
Entrance fee: 100 baht
Our ratings: ★★★★★
Opening Hours: Every day from 8am until 5pm (Massage available until 6pm)
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), located next to Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok, is the largest temple complex in Thailand with a history more than 220 years. It existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama I. It is renowned for its giant reclining Buddha which measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. The temple is considered the first public university of Thailand, teaching students in the fields of religion, science, and literature through murals and sculptures. A school for traditional medicine and massage was established at the temple in 1955, and now offers four courses in Thai medicine: Thai pharmacy, Thai medical practice, Thai midwifery, and Thai massage. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Thai massage here.
History of Wat Pho
It is said that the ancient temple left from the Ayutthaya era was loved by the emperor of Chakri Dynasty. In 1793, Rama I started the reconstruction project of the temple, which was completed in 1801. After 13 years, Rama III started the rebuilt again – the great buddha’s hall, the Azimuth Hall, and the lecture Hall were all demolished and rebuilt, and the two towers and the reclining Buddha Hall were added. The whole process took 17 years. Later, Rama IV built another tower, which lead to Wat Pho we can visit today.
Must-do in Wat Pho
1. See the reclining Buddha
Without a doubt, the main attraction of Wat Pho is the reclining Buddha. The statue is said to show the Buddha at his moment of death and ascension into Nirvana. Buddha's huge feet decorated with mother-of-pearl divided up into 108 panels. Around the reclining Buddha are 108 bronze bowls which indicate the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. You will often find monks and devotees dropping coins into the bowls which is supposed to give good fortune. Feel free to join in.
2. Enjoy a Traditional Thai massage in Thai traditional Medical School
Before Wat Pho and before Wat Phodoram this area was home to the very first Thai massage school. The traditional lives on today where Wat Pho is the national headquarters for the preservation and teaching of traditional Thai medicine and massage. Thai traditional medicine and massage school trains a large number of professional Thai medicine practitioners and massage technicians every year. You won't miss to do a massage once. The massage room is crowded, but the environment in the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is unparalleled. The massage technicians are really professional and the price will be more expensive than the store outside.
1.Please get off the shoes in the temple, the clothes should be neatly dressed. It is best not to wear shorts in the temple. Dress conservatively is all you need.
2. Although there is no photo prohibition in the temple, it is recommended not to take pictures due to the respect for the Buddha statue.
3. Ladies are not allowed to touch monks. It is a severe taboo!
4. After entering the temple, don't shout loudly.
5. No intimate behaviors allowed in the temple.
How to get to Wat Pho
1. Bus Nos. 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 25, 32, 44, 47, 48, 53, 82
2. Air-conditioned bus Nos. 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 44, 48
3. Chao phraya Express boat. Get off at Tha Chang pier, Tha Tien Pier or Pak Klong Talad Pier, then walk through Thai Wang Road entrance.
To find out more, please visit our Bangkok section.