About Temple of the Reclining Buddha
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho, is one of the oldest sacred temples in Bangkok, Thailand, and is a first grade royal monastery. Located on Rattanakosin Island south of the Grand Palace, the famous Wat Pho is home to over 1000 images of Buddha as well as one of the largest single images at 46 metres in length.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha history
Located next to the Grand Palace, the current Temple of the Reclining Buddha was built in 1788 by King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, whose ashes are kept in the temple. This was actually a reconstruction project to rebuild an original temple on the same site, believed to date back to the Ayudhya kingdom.
Wat Pho was also occupied by a French Star Fort, demolished by King Phetracha after the Siege of Bangkok in 1688. After the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, the capital was moved to Thomburi where King Taskin relocated his palace over the river from Wat Pho, elevating the status of the monastery.
Temple of the Reclining Buddha today
Today, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha as we see it has since undergone two further restorations: one during the reign of King Rama III and one in 1982. The temple is probably most famous for housing the Reclining Buddha which, with its gold-plated body measuring 46 metres long and 15 metres high, is the largest portrayal of Buddha in Thailand.
It is also the home of the Thai massage, an activity in which visitors can indulge at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Beyond the Reclining Buddha and the Thai massage, Wat Pho is made up of 20 acres where visitors can also view the existing monastery.
A great way to see Wat Pho can be by hiring a local guide.
Getting to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
The easiest way of reaching Wat Pho is by boat: take the Chao Phraya River Express to the Tha Thien Pier before walking through the market and up the short street. You will see Wat Po directly across the intersection on your right, with the Grand Palace on your left.
From the sumptuous Temple of the Reclining Buddha to the iconic Kwai River Bridge, explore the riches of Thailand's history through our guide to the 10 best historic Thai landmarks and monuments.