With its many Buddhist temples Bangkok is spiritually, historically and architecturally rich, but there is no doubt that Wat Pho in Bangkok is one of the most famous Buddhist temples of all.
With a compound spanning 20 acres, Wat Pho is the largest temple in Bangkok, and it also has the distinction of being the oldest, since it was originally constructed around two centuries before Bangkok was made capital of Thailand. However the Wat as it stands today is a completely different creation having been constructed by King Rama I when Bangkok was made the Thai capital.
Gold plated Buddha
Wat Pho holds the honour of both containing Thailand's most massive image of the reclining Buddha as well as the most Buddha images in the country. The immense gold plated figure of the reclining Buddha has a length of 152 feet (46m) with a height of 50 feet (15m).
The statue is considered to illustrate the passage of the Buddha into the state of Nirvana. The eyes and feet of the statue are adorned with mother-of-pearl decorations with the feet being decorated with the 108 auspicious attributes of a true Buddha.
1,000 images of Buddha
The extensive grounds of the temple complex contain in excess of 1000 Buddha images, principally obtained from the ruins of Sukhothai and Ayuthaya, former Thai capitals. Many of these images are found in the vicinity of the large temple hall. Visitors will also see many pagodas, rock gardens, chapels, inscribed marble slabs and bell towers in the premises.
Wat Pho is also renowned as a recognised centre for authentic Thai massage, which is very invigorating and refreshing. Visitors are even offered instructional courses to learn the art of genuine Thai massage.