Bangkok has numerous temples that you’d always find yourself going to ones you haven’t been yet even after a couple of visits in the city. One famous temple you can visit just behind Wat Phra Kaew is Wat Pho. It is home of the Giant Reclining Buddha that measures 46 meters long, and 15 meters tall.
Wat Pho is considered as the earliest center for public education in religion, science, and literature. Nowadays, it’s more well-known as the place for wellness, so this is a perfect venue to experience authentic Thai massage. The temple is also one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and is part of the first-class royal temples in Thailand.
Near Wat Pho is the ordination hall called Phra Ubosot, where Buddhist rituals are performed. Insisde, you will see a gorgeous altar of Buddha made in gold and copper. Beside the statue is the Royal Nine-Tiered Umbrella. The six levels represent the heaven according to Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. An eight level was added later on to symbolise the king as conqueror of the eight directions in the compass. Finally, the ninth tier represents the burden of the king as he leads the country.
Thai people really do have an eye for detail. The surrounding chedis of different colors and sizes are carefully crafted and well thought of just like the ones in Grand Palace.
The temple complex has a double cloister that contains 400 Buddha statues, all selected and brought by King Rama I. Outside these cloisters, smaller chedis called Phra Chedi Rai can be seen. Some of these contain the ashes of the royal family, and others contain Buddha relics.
Our visit to the Wat Pho isn’t complete without seeing the Giant Reclining Buddha. The impressive statue is not made of gold, but rather covered with gold leaf. Its feet are 3 meters high and 4.5 meters long, and are divided into panels that displays symbols of Buddha. Bronze bowls can be seen in the corridor, where visitors can place coins as offerings that can help maintain the temple.
HOW TO GET THERE
Wat Pho is located south of the Grand Palace. It’s an easy walking going to Wat Pho from Grand Palace.
Take the BTS Silom and alight at Saphan Taksin Station. Go to the Sathorn Pier and ride the public Chao Phraya Boat to Ta Thien Pier.
Alternatively, you can ride the tourist boat (has a separate queue with blue arrow, which will also be heading directly to the Grand Palace. The only difference here is the fare price. From there, walk to Wat Pho.
Visitors must pay THB 100 on the booth on north or south entrance. Prices for massage range from THB 250 for 30 minutes, and THB 400 for 1 hour.