Wat Pho - The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Visitor's Guide

Wat Pho, Bangkok

One of the several buildings of the Wat Pho complex

Next door to the Grand Palace is this vast temple (which was Thailand’s first university) with one of the city’s most famous images -- the magnificent Reclining Buddha, dating from 1848. Covered in gold leaf, it’s 46 meters long (150 ft), and nearly impossible to fit into one single photograph (although visitors make every effort to do it, as they observe it from every angle). It symbolizes the posture of the Buddha while entering nirvana, and on the soles of its feet (inlaid with mother-of-pearl) are over 100 signs of the Buddha.

The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok

The Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho

The temple is the oldest in the city, but was restored in 1788, giving it most of its current appearance. It’s said to have the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand (the magnificent central bot, or chapel, contains a bronze image salvaged from Ayutthaya, the country’s former capital), and is home to a massage school since 1955, which invites visitors to drop in for a full traditional Thai massage or to enroll in a course.

Visitors are requested to dress appropriately (no bare shoulders or legs). If you encounter a monk who starts chatting with you, don’t shake hands -- do a wai instead (the act of bowing your head as you cup your palms together at your chest).

Wat Pho, Bangkok

Buddhist monks are a common sight at Wat Pho

Insider Tip

Arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Visitor's Guide

Opening times: 8:30am - 6:30pm
Tickets: Buy Wat Pho Tickets with Hotel Pick-Up

How to get to Wat Pho

Take the Chao Phraya Express boat to Tha Tien pier or the MRT subway to Sanam Chai station.

Stay by Wat Pho

Despite the number of major attractions, there aren't many hotels in this part of town, but there are about a handful of highly-rated properties by the river, close to Wat Pho and facing Wat Arun. They are the romantic Arun Residence , Inn a Day , Riva Arun , and Sala Rattanakosin .

Wat Pho, Bangkok

The iconic architecture of Wat Pho