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Wat Pho

The “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” is the largest temple in the country and has more Buddha statues than any other Thai temple.

Wat Po is one of the top attractions in Bangkok for Thai people and tourists alike. The large temple is famous for its giant Reclining Buddha and has more Buddha statues than any other temple in the country. It is also one of the oldest public universities in the country and the official school of traditional Thai massage.

The temple is officially called Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, which explains why most non-Thai speakers refer to it as “The Temple of the Reclining Buddha.” The Thai abbreviation Wat Pho comes from Wat Phodharam, a lost monastery of the Ayutthaya period. King Rama I of the Chakri dynasty had the temple re-established, which took nearly eight years. King Rama III spent another 16 years restoring and extending it and King Rama IV gave it its present name.

When you enter the hall where the 150-foot (46-meter) long Reclining Buddha rests, drop a coin into one of the bronze bowls for good fortune. The 108 bowls represent the 108 different positive characters of the Buddha. The resting statue itself is covered in gold leaf and represents the Buddha passing into nirvana. Look for the mother-of-pearl inlays on the soles of his giant feet.

While this figure is the biggest attraction, you’ll find more than a thousand Buddha statues in the complex. The medical university on the temple’s grounds is a school for traditional medicine and, more famously, Thai massage. Bring extra baht to experience an invigorating rub. Visit the library, which is decorated with shards of porcelain, and don’t miss the ancient descriptions of massage techniques. Cross the road to visit the working monastery and talk with the monks; they love to practice their English.

Wat Pho is next to the Grand Palace and the same dress code applies: cover your arms legs and feet before you step inside. The easiest way to get there is by ferry or taxi. There is an admission fee and guided tours are available. The temple is open daily.

We know you really want to get the most out of your visit to Wat Pho. So, we've put together a list of some fun things you can do on your visit:

If you're after even more options, take a look at our Bangkok things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Wat Pho


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iSanook Bangkok ฿962
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    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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      392/25-26 Maharaj Road, Phraborom Maharajawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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        Shangri-la Bangkok ฿4,141
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          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Bangkok hotel is located on the riverfront, within 2 mi (3 km) of Bangkok Riverside, King Power MahaNakhon and Iconsiam. Patpong Night Market and Asiatique The Riverfront are also within 2 mi (3 km). Saphan Taksin BTS Station is 6 minutes by foot and Surasak BTS Station is 12 minutes.

          ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai ฿1,700
          ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

          ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

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            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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            sala rattanakosin ฿3,465
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            sala rattanakosin

            Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok, Bangkok
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              Chetuphon Gate ฿1,011
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              370-372 Soi Pratoo Nokyoong, Maharaj Road, Bangkok
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Grand Palace and Thammasat University are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                Sala Arun ฿2,744
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                Sala Arun

                47-49 Soi Phen Pi Marn, Tha Tien, Phrabarommaharajchawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.