Wat Pho Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Open daily 08:00 - 17:00. Properly called Wat Phra Chetupon, Wat Pho is Bangkok's oldest and largest temple/monastery complex and, arguably, the single most fascinating.

It dates from the 16th century, although it was radically remodelled and enlarged in 1789 by King Rama I and further renovated in succeeding reigns.

Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

With a compound packed with chapels, pavilions, chedis, Buddha images and a profusion of other statuary, the temple's layout may at first seem confusing, but there is order. The bot lies ahead and slightly to the right of the main entrance, in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by cloisters containing row upon row of gilded Buddha images.

There are four small viharns on each side of the gallery, and a chedi and chapel stand at each of the four corners. The bot is most interesting for the marble bas-reliefs around its base depicting episodes from the Ramakien.

Other buildings of note on the left beyond the main gate are four large chedis (commemorating the first four Chakri Kings), numerous small chedis, and old manuscript library, a Chinese pavilion and a European-style pavilion.

In the far left-hand corner of the compound a large chapel enshrines the temple's main attraction, a giant 46m (150 ft) long statue of the Reclining Buddha. The image is made of brick covered with plaster and gold leaf. Note the soles of the feet, which are intricately inlaid in mother-of-pearl with the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha.

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