Wat Pho is a must-visit on your upcoming trip to Thailand’s capital city! Otherwise known as Wat Phra Chetuphon, this Bangkok temple has such an interesting history and design that needs to be experienced up close. Here’s everything you need to know about Wat Pho, and why you’ll want to add the the Reclining Buddha to your Bangkok itinerary.
Getting to the Reclining Buddha Bangkok
Wat Pho is located in the city’s Phra Nakhon District on Rattanakosin Island. This historic area is known as Bangkok Old Town and stretches along the Chao Phraya River.
Here you will find the Grand Palace and the world famous Wat Pho! The massive Reclining Buddha statue is housed inside one of the buildings as a part of Wat Pho temple complex.
Old Town can easily be explored on your own. However, if you’re looking for a guided tour there are a few popular ones to choose from. Book a Temple and Market Tour, check out a Full Day Bangkok Tour, or opt for a more specific Wat Pho and Wat Arun Guided Walking Route.
Quick History of Wat Pho
Did you know Wat Pho is the oldest temple complex in Bangkok? In fact, it even existed in the 17th century before the city of Bangkok did! After the old capital was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, King Rama I would enlarge Wat Pho to add artifacts moved from Ayutthaya.
In the early 19th century, Rama III would again expand the temple to help grow Thailand’s first university. The Reclining Buddha now lies in a building that was constructed around the same time period.
The image of the Buddha lying down is meant to represent his final moments on earth when he enters the state of nirvana. Around this stunning gold statue you will find several other important relics, art, and architecture that make Wat Pho Bangkok special.
8 Tips For Wat Pho Bangkok
Go Early: Like many other attractions around Bangkok, you’ll want to be the first to arrive at Wat Pho! At the time of our visit it was open from 8:30am to 6:30pm every day.
Wat Pho Dress Code: It’s important to be respectful on your visit to Wat Phra Chetuphon. For men this means no tank tops or shorts. Women must have their shoulders covered, and any skirts or dresses must fall below the knees.
Avoid the Weekends: If possible, try and avoid Wat Pho on Saturday and Sunday. It is always a busy tourist attraction, but much less so on the weekdays.
Shoes Off: As you enter the building that houses the Reclining Buddha you will be given a bag for your shoes to carry them. This is different than the other temples as most of them you will just leave the shoes on a rack outside.
Taking Photos: Unlike other temples in Bangkok, you are allowed to take pictures of the Reclining Buddha and all around Wat Phra Chetuphon.
Save Your Entry Ticket: When you pay for your entry ticket make sure to save the receipt! Ours included a bottle of cold water that came through clutch on a hot day in the city.
Explore the Temple Complex: Although the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok is the star of the show, be sure to take a stroll around the entire temple grounds. We were amazed by the entire temple complex of Wat Pho.
Massage School: One thing we didn’t expect to find inside Wat Phra Chetuphon is a massage school. You can actually register and take classes at the temple to become licensed in traditional Thai massages!
Circling the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok
With its length extending to 46 meters, you’ll need more than few minutes to admire the Reclining Buddha. Slowly make your way around the figure from head to toe. The best place to see the full statue of the Buddha is near the head and also at the far end by the Buddha’s legs.
Behind the Reclining Buddha Bangkok there is a place where you can purchase a set of coins. These can be dropped in the 108 bowls lining the walls for good luck. The giant lying Buddha is covered in gold leaf and surely something you’ll never forget!
Go to the Grand Palace After Wat Pho
The great news for Bangkok sightseers is that Wat Pho is located just south of the Grand Palace! This means you can head there easily before or after your visit to the Reclining Buddha.
It’s definitely close enough to walk (under 10 minutes) or you can hire a quick tuk tuk ride over. Visiting these two complexes in the same morning was one of our favorite days in Bangkok.
Have any questions about Wat Pho Bangkok or want to share your own experience at the Reclining Buddha? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
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Where to Stay in Bangkok
Ultra Luxury – JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok – Enjoy all the best luxury amenities right in the heart of Bangkok! JW Marriott offers the 5 star experience with a spa, epic city views, and an award-winning steakhouse.
Central Location – Riva Surya Bangkok – Sitting along the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this boutique hotel puts you in the perfect spot to explore the capital. Enjoy a unique stay while still being close to all the action of Bangkok.
BTS Skytrain – Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam – Sitting in the center of Bangkok’s famous Siam shopping district, the Holiday Inn is a great place to lay your head after a day of exploring. Take in the views of the National Stadium from your room and its convenient location next to the BTS Skytrain station.
Chinatown – Ago Hotel – Charming Boutique hotel just a quick walk away from all the action of Chinatown! Enjoy a traditional breakfast and the lively lounge area with music on the weekends.
Budget Travel – VIX Bangkok at Victory Monument – Awesome and affordable option for travelers visiting Bangkok. Comfortable rooms and close to many great food options.
Hostel Stay – Once Again Hostel – Fun hostel in Bangkok’s bustling Old Town. Dorms of all sizes available and it’s walking distance to many of the famous temples. You can even make some new friends at the rooftop bar!
THAILAND TRAVEL PLANNING
Transportation: While traveling through Thailand 12Go is where we find all our ferries, trains, buses, and transfers! You can find everything from island hopping speed boats to the night train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over Phuket! You can find everything from a James Bond island luxury sunset cruise, to Phuket Old Town 15-taster food adventure, and 5-hour island tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.