The Reclining Golden Buddha Statue at Wat Pho in Bangkok

Bangkok Temple Tour: Chao Phraya River to Wat Pho



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Even if you’re too cool to be a tourist, a visit to Bangkok wouldn’t be the same without at least a quick stopover to see one of the many historic buddhist temples (wats). Wat Pho is my favorite because of the enormous Reclining Buddha housed there–it’s over 150 feet long and 50 feet tall and completely covered in gold leaf. Just remember to bring shoes and a pair of long pants, otherwise you will not be allowed inside the temples. There’s no dress code to visit this section of the website though, so come on in.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) has been on the Chao Phraya riverbank for a long, long time.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    All the buildings are intricately encrusted with gold leaf and mosaics of colored mirrors that cause them gleam in the afternoon sun (click here for a close up view of the the wats).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    The Vihara of the Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas (Viharn Phranorn) housed at Wat Pho is one of my favorite things we saw in Bangkok. This image of the Buddha is over 150 feet long and 50 feet tall and is entirely covered in gold leaf (click here for a close up view of the the Buddha).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    It is customary to drop coins in the metal pots lining the wall beside the Reclining Buddha. The room is filled with a constant metallic tinkling sound as people walking through the hall drop their coins in the containers.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Spotlights shining on the gold covered Buddha made it glow radiantly.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    The feet of the Reclining Buddha are inlaid with mother of pearl in a Thai-Chinese style, and depict 108 auspicious signs of Indian and Chinese influences.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Imagine standing at the 50 yard line of a football field and having a Buddha extend all the way to the end zone (click here for a close up view of the the Buddha).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    The grounds surrounding Wat Pho are well maintained with fastidiously pruned shrubs.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    I should have looked more closely to see how they got the flower to stay in the mouth of this statue.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Here's another shot from the grounds of Wat Pho(click here for a close up view of this photo).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Wat Pho even has a small koi pond.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    One of the easiest ways to get to the many wats (buddhist temples) lining the banks of the Chao Phraya River is to catch a water taxi powered by their distinctive long tailed engines. Usually the engine is just a car motor with a propeller welded to the end of the drive shaft.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    This fellow was feeding small bits of meat to the turtle in the pond with a bamboo stick while his little son watched curiously.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Many of the columns of the buildings at Wat Pho are covered with floral scenes on ceramic tiles.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    This is a photo of the information map for Wat Pho.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    This desert rose flower caught my eye, though in the background maybe you could imagine hearing Sting's song of the same name (thanks to Sukanya for the info on the desert rose flower).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    At night the wats around Bangkok are brightly lit so that they take on an otherworldly glow.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Wat Pho was my favorite of all that we visited in Bangkok.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Buddhist monks were always coming and going from the wats for their daily prayers.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Unlike the western churches that we're used to, the buddhist wats in Bangkok are brilliantly painted, with red, green and yellow tiled roofs like this one.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    The corners of each roof are adorned with these pointy projections aimed at the sky.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    Within the walls of Wat Pho we found this weathered statue and ornately decorated steeples towering above.

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    The spires of the buildings within Wat Pho project skyward like antennae (click here for a close up view of the the spires).

  • Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004

    Bangkok Buddhist Temples, Thailand - October 2004
    I need to read up a little more on buddhism to find out what this fellow is!