Wat Pho, also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Built in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya period, it is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok.
The most economical and easiest way to get to the Wat is by water taxi. Let the boat conductor knows in advance where you are headed and he/she will alert you when the boat reaches the nearest dock. From there, walk for about 10 minutes. There is no signage pointing to the Wat. Head to the main road and let the groups of tourist be your GPS! The road leading to the Wat is plagued with scammers offering to bring unsuspecting tourist to “other” exciting destinations or cheap quality buys at no extra cost. It is a hoax, a scam! Ignore them and walk away.
Chedis of Wat Pho
Upon entering the temple’s compound, visitors are often wowed by the four large impressive Chedis that glitter under the sun. These four Chedis were built to commemorate the first three Chakri kings of Thailand (of which King Rama III has two Chedis).
Spread across the entire compound are another ninety-one smaller Chedis, which are equally stunning.
The northern part of the Wat houses the largest reclining Buddha that measures 46 metres long and 15 metres high. The Buddha statue was finished in gold leaf for the body and mother-of-pearl for the eyes.
Right behind the reclining Buddha lie a row of 108 bronze bowls where devotees and visitors could drop 1-satang coin into each of the bowls for good luck.
Being the largest temple in Bangkok, Wat Pho also holds the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. Each meticulously carved Buddha statue is itself an art piece to non-devotees.
Massage in a temple
Feeling the heat from the scorching sun and your energy being zapped away by the high humidity? Wat Pho is also the leading school for the famous Thai massage. The massage here is really cheap and supposedly good, but be prepared to lie in the open that to us resembled a make-shift first-aid zone. If you value your privacy as we do, then give it a miss. After all, you will be spoilt for choice back at the city centre.
Leaving Wat Pho
There are many gates at Wat Pho. If you intend to visit the Grand Palace from here, then exit from the South Gate. If you intend to go back to the dock for water taxi, then make sure you remember the gate that you came in from. Exiting from some gates may bring you into a labyrinth of narrow streets.