Meeting the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is definitely a must-do in Bangkok. It is a unique and stunning experience!
Wat Photharam, well known among foreigners and thais as Wat Pho is the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok and hosts the famous gold leaf covered Reclining Buddha. I planned to visit there with a friend travelling around Thailand because it is featured in every guidebooks but to be honest without really high expectations: I thought it would be just a touristic place with a big laying Buddha, that’s it. SHAME ON ME! I had seen pictures of the Reclining Buddha and checked its length before coming but you don’t really realize how huge it is until you see it! It is massive and really impressive!
This idol of 15 m high and 45 m long shows Buddha passing into Nirvana. Its feets are inlaid with mother-of-pearl and are divided into 108 arranged panels showing the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified (like flowers, dancers, animals and altar accessories).
In the main temple you will find as well mural fresques and 108 bronze bowls representing the 108 auspicious symbols of Buddha. Coins should be dropped in these bowls for bringing you good fortune and helping the monks. Change is available behind the feet of the Reclining Buddha.
But Wat Pho is not only about this! The complex hosts as well 4 cheddis dedicated to the four Chakri kings, a university and a Thai school for massage and medicine. Thai massages are available at 250 Bahts for 30 minutes. Thus, you can plan to spend a whole afternoon at Wat Pho for a relaxing thai experience.
How to get there?
There are two easy ways to get to Wat Pho. First, you can take the BTS (skytrain) to Saphan Taksin (Silom Line), follow the exit number 2 and go to the Chao Phraya River Express Boat Pier. From there, take a boat heading to Tien Pier. Once one the pier, just walk straight to Wat Pho. Also, you can take the bus 47 from Lumphini Park or MBK that will drop you in front of Tien Pier.
Some useful tips:
- Opening Hours : Daily from 08.00 hrs. – 18.00 hrs.
- Admission Fee : Free of charge for Thais and 100 baht for foreigners
- Robes are available if you are not dressed appropriately (shorts/skirst and sleeveless tops)
- Always remember to take off your shoes when entering a temple (bags are given at the entrace in which you put your shoes and carry it around with you)