Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Reclining Buddha is Wat Pho's Ultimate Treasure

Do you know the birthplace of traditional Thai massage? Have you seen a reclining Buddha?

My 2nd stop on my Asian tour was in Thailand. All I know about this country is the populous city of Bangkok, the Phi Phi Island where Leonardo Di Carpio filmed “The Beach” movie, the beautiful white sand beach of Phuket Island, friendly elephants, and good restaurants in  Khasosan Road.

Upon checking the Thailand map, I saw the picture of a big golden Buddha. The position of it is different from other Buddha, it’s actually lying or sleeping. No wonder why Wat Pho is dubbed as the temple of Reclining Buddha. The Buddha is the largest in Thailand measuring more than 150 feet in length (about 46 meters long and 15 meters high). It is decorated with gold leaf. The eyes and foot soles are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. According to Buddhist, the Reclining Buddha illustrates the passing of the Buddha into nirvana (ie the Buddha's death). Along the Wat Phra Chetuphon image you will find a matching 108 bronze bowls, where people donate coins believed to bring good fortune.

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, which is directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. The temple is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. At 20 acres large, it’s the largest and oldest wat (temple) complex in Bangkok. It has the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, most from the ruins of the former capitals Ayuthaya and Sukhothai.

Inside the temple, I saw a lot of impressive ubosot or ordination hall, viharns scripture hall and chedis. Just to give you trivia, the four largest chedis are dedicated to the first four Kings of the Chakri dynasty. They contain some of the ashes of King Rama I through King Rama IV.

What I'm wearing- short-sleeve polo from Lee, pants from bench, shoes and cap from Converse,  accessories from SM Accessories

Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand's first university, and is center for traditional Thai massage. The massage school has two massage pavilions located within the temple area and additional rooms within the training facility outside the temple, around it you will find stone statues showing various massage techniques. If you want to experience traditional Thai massage, this is probably the best place available and is highly recommended.

I recommend to go early, when is not too hot and crowded. Don’t buy souvenirs along the street outside the temple, it’s too expensive. You can buy cheap souvenirs near the pier.

How to get to Wat Po

The Wat Pho is located in the old Rattanakosin area on the East bank of the Chao Phraya river , just walking distance to Wat Phra Kaew / Grand Palace on Thanon Chetuphon. You can get there by metered taxi or by Chao Phraya express river boat. It's a just a short river crossing away from Wat Arun and a very short walk from Tha Tien Pier.

The temple complex is open daily from 8 am until 5 pm with the admission fee of 50 Thai Baht per person. The ticket comes along with free complimentary water and a hour for wifi. Guides can be hired at the entrance

Wat Pho is wonderful to visit, you won't be disappointed. It’s such a peaceful place.The reclining buddha is simply stunning which is excellent for photography. Enjoy the place and don't forget to get a soothing massage in the temple.

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