Wat Pho or also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is located adjacent to the Grand Palace and is one of the largest and oldest wat in Bangkok with a collection of more than 1000 Buddha images including 788 Buddha images in one ordination hall alone. Besides this, Wat Pho also has the stupas where the ashes of the Thai kings are kept.These stupas are adorned with porcelein decorations and are very beautiful. It is also the center for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage.
The Reclining Buddha
Few of the many Buddha images in Wat Pho
The complex is divided by Sanamchai Road and one compound, the Tukgawee, is a functioning monastery where monks live and study. The other area is north of the road and is where the Viharn of the Reclining Buddha is located.
What most tourists come to see though is the famous reclining Buddha which is 45m long and 15m high. Equally impressive are the large feet of the Buddha, It has mother of pearl inlaid in his feet and eyes and the body is completely finished in gold leaf. The Buddha’s feet are particularly interesting as carved into the mother of pearl are 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
Mother of pearl inlaid in Buddha’s feet
As you enter the temple where the giant Buddha is kept, you’ll see a line up at the front of the building where visitors are funneled into an entrance, inspected for proper dress. Everyone is required to comply with proper dress codes and remove their shoes to enter. Based on my experience, shorts and t-shirt were fine as I was not refused to enter the temple. My slippers joined the hundreds of others that were left at the entranceway. The line files past the length of the revered Buddha and along the way there are donation boxes and bowls made of bronze where you drop coins. The line eventually goes past the feet and back around the other side and out the door where you can find your shoes again.
When you walk inside the reclining Buddha’s temple you will feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of it and you will be hard pressed to get a decent photo without feeling the need to stand back a bit to get the whole length in your shot! As the reclining Buddha is the main tourist attraction of Wat Pho you will most likely find yourself amongst throngs of other tourists all trying their best to get a good look.