Reclining Buddha Bangkok
'One Of Thailand's Most Recognizable Landmarks'

The 46 metre long Reclining Buddha Bangkok (also called Wat Po), is one of the most recognizable and important cultural landmarks in Thailand.  Covered in stunning gold leaf, this statue which is housed undercover is located adjacent to the famous Grand Palace along the Chao Phraya River. 

This massive statue is also over 15 metres in height while the feet alone are said to be over 3 metres high and 4 metres long, being inlaid with beautiful mother-of-pearl (see image below).

BACKGROUND

Apart from the large Reclining Buddha statue there are also 108 individual bronze bowls and a large number of sitting Buddha statues (also covered in gold leaf) located here, and each of these sacred items look quite spectacular.  When combined, these Buddhist symbols help to set a mood conducive to both meditation and self-reflection. 

Situated within Bangkok's Grand Palace sub-district this site which is officially known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (or Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamanhawihan) is also said to be the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

WAT PHO

Wat Po is actually one of the oldest temple sites in Bangkok and covers an area approximately 80,000 square metres in size and contains over 1,000 Buddha images; many of these being collected by King Rama V.

I first visited this popular tourist destination in 2009 and suggest that this is a Bangkok landmark that every visitor to Thailand should see at least once.   

This site of the Reclining Buddha Bangkok is said to have been  founded in 1781 when a construction project commenced under the direction of King Rama 1, (1782-1809).  Indeed. Wat Po was actually constructed upon the site of an earlier temple (i.e. Wat Phodharam) which is said to have been a centre for Thai medicine and education; as evidenced by a number of statues which were made displaying numerous yoga poses (see image above). 

During the ensuing years the Temple of the Reclining Buddha  continued to expand (during the reign of King Rama III) to reach the size that it is today.   In 1982 under King Bhumibol Adulyadej  the site was restored again. 

However, Wat Po is divided into two large compounds, each of which are surrounded by high walls.  One compound is home to the Buddhist monastery where the Thai monks live, and this area also contains 91 decorative chedis (see image above) of various sizes. 

The other compound is where the large Reclining Buddha is located and the home of the Thai massage school which was established in 1962.  This is also the section of Wat Po which receives the majority of visitors and you can even get a traditional Thai massage here.

GETTING THERE

The Reclining Buddha Bangkok and Wat Po are located at 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Sub-district, Pranakorn District, Bangkok Thailand 10200. 

The best way to travel to Wat Po is by boat or taxi.  You can catch a ferry (i.e. the Chao Phraya River Express) to the Tha Thien Pier, then it's just a short walk.

There is a 100 Thai baht entrance fee for adults and remember to dress modestly as Thai people consider this to be a sacred site.

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