ThailandBangkok $$$$$ All Year Mostly Outdoor
Religious

Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha)

Officially named Wat Phra Chetuphon but commonly known as Wat Pho, this grand temple is home to Bangkok's 46-meter (150-feet) long golden statue of reclining Buddha. Statues depicting Buddha reclining on his side are said to represent the figure's last days on earth, before entering nirvana. The giant masterpiece at What Pho was the first reclining Buddha statue constructed, and therefore considered especially sacred.

An operational monastery, the Wat Pho complex features several areas worth seeing. Don't miss exquisite pagodas known as the 4 kings temple, peaceful gardens filled with flowering trees and stone statues, and long hallways lined with intricate paintings of stories from Thai folklore.

In addition to housing one of Thailand's most important Buddhist relics, Wat Pho was also the first place to develop traditional Thai Massage. The Medical School of Massage is still located within the grounds and visitors are invited to receive a massage from students while visiting the temple.

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Price

Adult: ฿100 (USD$3.21), Children: Free

Time Spent

1-2hours

Fitness level: Easy

Hours

8:30am-6pm7 days

Look Around

bangkok_wat-phra-reclining-buddha-07228.jpg
Head of golden Reclining BuddhaHead of golden Reclining Buddha
Feet of golden Reclining BuddhaFeet of golden Reclining Buddha
Tourists getting close to the statueTourists getting close to the statue
Feet and rear side of statueFeet and rear side of statue
Reclining Buddha statue
Chinese statue and monkChinese statue and monk
Statue close-upStatue close-up
More statuesMore statues
Statue with chedis in the backgroundStatue with chedis in the background
Some of the 91 chedisSome of the 91 chedis
Statues and courtyard
Golden Buddha statueGolden Buddha statue
Line of Golden Buddha statuesLine of Golden Buddha statues
Golden Buddha statue surrounded by flowersGolden Buddha statue surrounded by flowers
bangkok_wat-phra-reclining-buddha-07198.jpg
Golden Buddha statues

Who Will Like Wat Pho

Culture Buff

Witness one of Thailand's most important Buddha relics, the statue of reclining Buddha. Feel the serenity of Thailand's national faith as you wander around the monastery, learning folklore stories from the intricate wall paintings.

Wellness Pursuer

Have a traditional Thai massage at the Medicinal School of Massage, located in the northeastern corner of the complex. You may notice stone statues depicting various massage techniques within the grounds, honoring Wat Pho as the birthplace of the restorative massage.

Bucketlist Bandit

Stand in front of Buddha, close to his feet for a selfie next to this gigantic statue.

Photography Whiz

Have your camera ready for the dozens of photo opportunities awaiting at Wat Pho. Bring a wide-angle lens to squeeze the giant statue of reclining Buddha into the frame, then capture traditional paintings, statues, and architecture as you stroll around the tranquil complex.

Insider Tips For Wat Pho

Free water tent
  • Visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and heat.
  • A strict dress code is enforced. Shoulders and knees must be covered.
  • A 1-hour massage at the Medicinal School of Massage costs around ฿480 (USD$15.39).
  • Placing coins in offering boxes surrounding the reclining Buddha statue is said to bring good luck.
  • The ฿100 (USD$3.21) entry fee includes a free bottle of water. Claim this at a station under a portable green tent.
  • Many tourists visit Wat Pho and Grand Palace on the same day as they are only a 10-minute walk apart.

Video

Where Is It

2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Open map...

How To Get There

Boat (Chao Phraya Express BoatTha Tien Pier)

Walk 4 minutes northeast from pier.

Walking directions from boat...

Subway (BlueSanam Chai)

Walk 5 minutes northwest from subway station.

Walking directions from subway...

Rideshare

Grab drivers may prefer to pick up and drop off away from the main entrance as Grab pick-ups are not allowed in some areas of Bangkok.

Taxi

Taxi drivers pick up and drop off at main entrance. Insist drivers use the meter before getting in.

Bus (25, 32, 44, 91Soi Thai Wang Bus stop)

Bus stop located opposite main entrance.

Walking directions from bus...

What To Bring

Do:
  • Modest clothing or sarong to cover shoulders and knees.
  • Coins to place in offering boxes.
  • Cash for massage.
  • Shoes that are easy to slip on and off as shoes must be removed before entering several buildings.
  • Camera.
Don't:
  • Food and drink other than water.

Tech & Photography

Wifi

Public wifi access: None

Photography

Photography allowed: Yes

Tripod allowed: Yes

Best time to shoot: Early Morning & Late Afternoon

Tips: Use a wide-angle lens to fit the very long Buddha statue in the frame. If you visit with someone willing to model, make use of the grounds' elaborate doorways and archways perfect for portraits.

Bags

Backpacks allowed: Yes

Secured bag lockers available: No

Food & Drink

Small shop selling snacks and drinks located within the grounds. A cluster of restaurants (mostly Thai) is located along the waterfront, a 2-minute walk west from Wat Pho.

Backstory

A Buddhist temple has stood on the grounds of Wat Pho since before Bangkok was established as Thailand's capital, making it one of the city's oldest temples. The original temple dates back to the late 1600s and was named Wat Photaram after the Bodhi tree under which Buddha is said to have obtained enlightenment. This is why the current temple is commonly called Wat Pho although its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon, meaning Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Following the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767, King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi, constructing a palace beside Wat Arun. When his son, King Rama I moved the palace across the river to the current Grand Palace, he ordered significant renovations to the neighboring Wat Pho. The majority of structures currently standing within Wat Pho, including the Chapel of the Reclining Buddha, were constructed between 1832 and1848, during the reign of King Rama III.

Wat Pho is said to be Thailand's first university and the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. It served as a medical teaching facility in the 19th century and still has an operational medicinal school specializing in Thai massage.

Etiquette

Do:
  • Remove shoes before entering chapels.
  • Wear modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees.
Don't:
  • Point toes at Buddha statues.
  • Touch monks or address them if you are female.
  • Hog the best photo spots with the reclining Buddha statue. Make room for other visitors.

Scorecard

Best Parts:
  • Awe-inspiring giant Buddha statue.
  • Low entry cost compared to the Grand Palace.
  • Peaceful gardens to rest between exploring the grounds.
  • Elaborate statues and paintings depicting folk-lore legends.
  • Opportunity to have a massage where Thai massage techniques originated.
Could Be Better:
  • Large crowds especially in the chapel of the Reclining Buddha.
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