A visit to the 'City of Angels' is incomplete without beholding the divine awesomeness of Phra Buddhasaiyas, the huge Reclining Buddha at one of Bangkok's oldest and largest temple complex: Wat Pho (also officially called Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn--whew, that's a mouthful!).
A visit to the ‘City of Angels’ is incomplete without beholding the divine awesomeness of Phra Buddhasaiyas, the huge Reclining Buddha at one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple complex: Wat Pho (also officially called Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn—whew, that’s a mouthful!).
Made of plastered bricks as part of King Rama III’s restoration, the Reclining Buddha is forty-six metres long and fifteen metres high, decorated with gold leafing on his body and mother of pearl on his eyes and the soles of his feet, which are inlaid with 108 auspicious signs in Chinese and Indian styles.
Finding your way around this 80,000 square meter temple complex can be daunting. Simply get lost amongst the maze of rock giants, thousand Buddhas, shrines, chedis, prangs and stupas… (and eventually learn how to tell one type of tower from another.)
Traditionally, temples were the schools as there was no formal education system, with monks providing basic lesson in both spiritual and secular subjects. King Rama III turned Wat Pho into a major centre for learning in botany, geography and history. In more modern times, Wat Pho has gained international recognition as a meditation centre and for the traditional Thai massage that is both practiced and taught here.
As in other temples, visitors must practice etiquette: wear tops with sleeves, long pants and remove footwear when treading on sacred ground. To capture the grandeur of the place, use a wide angle lens or panoramic camera (e.g. Horizon Perfekt). Photography of certain holy areas is prohibited. Do observe signs and instructions from local guides.
Wat Pho is located at the heart of Old Bangkok in Ko Rattanakosin, nearby other famous landmarks like Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Place and Wat Arun. For more information, visit http://www.tourismthailand.org/attraction/bangkok-10-3133-1.html