Buddha: " Whenever you see things, just see. Whenever you listen, just listen. Whenever you know, just know."
Wat Po (Pho), Reclining Buddha, Royal Buddhist Monastery, Bangkok, Thailand.
Wat Po (Pho), Reclining Buddha, Royal Buddhist Monastery is between the Maharaj, Thai Wang and Sanam Chai Roads, in Bangkok city.
Wat Po (Pho) - AKA Wat Chetupon
Open between 08.00 and 17.00
No entry between 12.00 and 13.00 but if you are already in the complex you do not have to leave.
Allow at least an hour in the Wat Po complex for your Wat Po tour, but you could spend considerably more time there.
Entrance fee applies (50Bht per person - 2007)
TIP: Freelance Wat Po / Wat Chetupon tour guides work outside the Reclining Buddha Temple. If you do feel you need one, wait until you have been into see the Reclining Buddha as they charge by the half hour and it can take that long to get through that temple alone!
We visited Wat Po in early October 2007 and found that you can easily spend a couple of hours (or more) wandering around inside the walled complex, taking in the atmosphere and sights. There were extensive reparation works being undertaken on a couple of the larger temples but that did not spoil the visit.
Wat Po is not only Bangkok's largest and oldest Buddhist Monastery but also houses the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. The complex is crammed with temples, stupas, chedis, pagodas and display buildings containing many Buddha images and religious artifacts.
The Reclining Buddha Temple or Viharn was our first point of call, just inside the Tai Wang entrance, after removing your shoes and following the huge numbers of visitors through the shoe storage rack lined verandah to the temple entrance proper.
To our surprise the head of the 45+ metres long Reclining Buddha is just inside the door, almost hidden by the first of a number of roof supporting pillars.
The Wat Po Reclining Buddha is a poetic title for the gold leaf covered plaster and brick image the Lord Buddha as he is dying and about to leave his earthly being to enter Nirvana.
The expression upon the Wat Po Buddha's face is that of a person at peace with the world, and on the soles of his feet are the symbols of Buddhist enlightenment, 108 in all, beautifully depicted in mother of pearl or nacre. The walls opposite the Reclining Buddha tell his life's story in fine paintings and Siamese script.
There is a small meditating Buddha image around about knee level to the Reclining Buddha where devout Buddhists make offerings and behind the Buddha's back there is an alms giving series of about 100 bowls for giving offerings to the temple monks for luck and a blessing. You can obtain a small bronze bowl of about 100 x 1 satang coins (1Bht) by donating 20Bht to the temple. Unless you have a lot of small change you want to get rid of, this is by far the best way to get your blessing and improve your luck. You can also donate 20Bht and sponsor a roof tile, writing your name on the unglazed side of the tile.
After leaving the Reclining Buddha Temple and reclaiming our shoes we headed off to explore the rest of the complex passing through the busy courtyard of tourists on whistle stop tours of Bangkok's highlights. Many were only 'allowed' thirty minutes in total in the complex! Just enough time to see the Reclining Buddha and probably get close to the Cheddi's. We wandered past the waterfall fountain in the courtyard to the gateway 'guarded' by two huge carved mythical 'top hatted' giants.
Finding another gateway to the right in an inner wall we were in the presence of the four pagodas, tall pinnacled towers covered in colourful ceramic tiles shaped to represent lotus flowers and other religious symbols commemorating the lives of the first Chakri dynasty kings. Each tower is of a different colour and slightly different design.
In other areas of the Wat Po, Bangkok complex we found cloisters containing Buddha images and artifacts, porcelain, bronze and ivory. There are many glass cases backing on to another inner courtyard walls containing well over a hundred gold leaf covered Buddha images in the typical Buddha poses of:
Ab-Haya Murdra: Standing or sitting holding the right hand (or both) palms facing forward, dispelling fear. If the palms are facing outwards, teaching or preaching.
Bhumin-Isparca Murdra: Seated, where the Buddha is harnessing the power from the earth, by pointing the tips of the fingers of the right hand at the ground
Dhyama Murdra: With both hands in the lap, a meditating position.
Vitarka Murdra: The fore-finger and thumb in the shape of a circle representing the teachings of Buddha.
Wat Po / Wat Chetupon Massage Thailand:
For your Wat Po Massage in Thailand -
At the southern side of the Wat Po complex is the Wat Po Massage School the main official training centre in Thailand for Thai massage.
No appointment is necessary.
The students are ready and willing give you a low cost (and lengthy) Thai massage which strangely enough can be carried out with your clothes on!
Items annotated (TAT)
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