Bangkok

Wat Pho in Bangkok — The Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok

Wat Pho

Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining) is an absolute favorite among the largest attractions in the heart of Bangkok. The temple complex contains an excellent degree of everything related to Buddhism: it houses the largest Reclining Buddha in the city, the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and the very first public education center in the country's history.

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Wat Pho on map

Overview of Wat Pho

The Big Buddha Himself at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Thailand, Bangkok

The territory of Wat Pho covers 80 hectares. The temple complex is the national headquarters for the preservation of traditional Thai medicine, the world-famous school of which has two massage pavilions and a number of rooms in the training center outside the temple.

A common public ritual in the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is donations in a row of metal bowls located behind the Buddha statue.

Alms bowls at Wat Pho Temple: Visitors walk along a row of bowls, throwing small coins into them for good luck.

Wat Pho is open daily from 8:30 to 18:30. The entrance fee includes a bottle of drinking water, which can be obtained at a kiosk near the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok, Thailand

The Reclining Buddha

Located in the main viharna of the complex, the truly impressive Reclining Buddha statue, 46 m long and 15 m high, illustrates the Buddha's transition to nirvana. The feet are decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay depicting 108 different laksan (characteristics) of the Buddha. Behind the statue there are 108 bronze monastic bowls – coins are placed in bowls for good luck and as a donation.

Phra Ubosot

Although the Bot or Ubosot, the hall of dedication in Thai temples, was built during the reign of Rama I and was influenced by the Ayutthaya school of architecture, in its current form it is the result of extensive reconstruction carried out during the reign of Rama III. Inside there are impressive frescoes and a three-tiered pedestal supporting the Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn, the second most important Buddha statue of the Wat Pho complex, the ashes of Rama I rest here.

Statues of Buddha on the territory of Wat Pho

The Buddha statues displayed in the four vihanas surrounding Phra Ubosot deserve special attention from travelers. Especially beautiful are the Buddhas Phra Chinnarat and Phra Chinnasri in the western and southern chapels, both taken from Sukhothai by relatives of Rama I. The galleries, stretching between the four buildings, contain at least 394 gilded sculptures and images of the Buddha, covering almost all schools of traditional Thai craftsmanship.

Statues of Buddha at Wat Pho Temple – Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand

Ancient inscriptions

Phra Ubosot is surrounded by a low marble wall with 152 bas-reliefs depicting scenes from Ramakian, the Thai version of Ramayana. Some of these figures can be found in souvenirs at the exit of the Temple - most of them are made based on the bas-reliefs of Wat Pho.

Not far from Phra Ubosot, in a small pavilion there are UNESCO World Heritage-listed inscriptions detailing the principles of traditional Thai massage. These and about 2,000 other stone inscriptions covering various aspects of traditional Thai knowledge led to Wat Pho becoming Thailand's first public university.

Royal Chedi

On the western side of the Wat Pho Temple Complex there is a collection of four towering tiled chedis (stupas) dedicated to the first four Chakri rulers. The square shape of the bell with clear angles is a characteristic feature of the Rattanakosin architectural style. The middle chedi is dedicated to Rama I and includes Phra Si Sanphet Dayan, a sixteen–meter standing statue of the Buddha from Ayutthaya.

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March 27, 2024

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