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Wat Phra Chetuphon

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Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokSignboard with opening hours of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon (GPS: 13.74657, 100.49315), better known simply as Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. Its full name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwara Mahaviharn. It covers an area of 50 rai, equivalent to some 80,000 square meters or twenty acres, immediately to the south of the Grand Palace. More than just a temple, it is the renowned birthplace of Thai message, and it continues to play a role as a center of education for traditional Thai medicine.

The history of Wat Pho predates that of Bangkok itself. Going back to the 16th century, there was already a Buddhist shrine here by the name of Wat Photaram. It is the short form of "Photaram" that the temple continues to be known in English as Wat Pho. King Rama I changed the name to Wat Chetuphon in 1801, and that's the name it is known in Thai.

The most popular part of Wat Pho is the Vihara of the Reclining Buddha, or Phra Buddhasaiyas. This is where the Great Reclining Buddha is located.

Within the ubosot (or bot, monks' ordination hall) of Wat Pho is a bronze Buddha image. It is called the Phra Tang Pha Thip, and is a Buddha in a meditative pose. It was in the Ayutthaya style, and was salvaged from Ayutthaya by King Rama I's brother. It is one of the many Buddha statues which the Thais managed to retrieved from Ayutthaya after it was destroyed by the Burmese.

Within the western courtyard of Wat Pho are a jungle of chedi, or Buddhist spires, of which there are four big ones, called the Phra Maha Chedi, stand out over the rest. They are each 41 meters tall, and arranged three in a row with one at the central back. That one at the central back is the most important. It contains the sacred Buddha image from Ayutthaya, the Phra Si Sanphet - which I believe, comes from Wat Si Sanphet in the former Royal Palace of Ayutthaya. The chedi to the north was built by King Rama III to enshrine the ashes of King Rama II. He also built the chedi to the south to shrine his own remains. The bright, blue-tile chedi was built by King Rama IV, although I am not sure of the purpose.

Getting to Wat Phra Chetuphon

As there are no Skytrains to Rattanakosin, the easiest way to reach Wat Pho is by taxi. I would stay away from tuk tuks as they cost as much as taxis, their seats block out views, and you have to eat dust all the way. Also, some tuk tuks do take their passengers for a ride, if you know what I mean, and you end up at a jewelry store offering a sales pitch. If you prefer a non-taxi approach, then I'd recommend taking the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin Station (S6). From there, catch an express boat at the Central Pier (Sathorn) to the Tha Tien Pier (N8) pier. From the pier, walk out to Thanon Maharat Road (also written Thanon Maharaj), turn right, walk down Thanon Maharat until the junction of Soi Chetuphon, turn left into Soi Chetuphon. The visitor entrance to Wat Pho along Soi Chetuphon, somewhere half-way down the lane. On the opposite side of the road is Wat Pho's administrative office and monastery for the monks.

As you enter Wat Pho, the ticket booth is to your left.

Location: Soi Chetuphon
Boat: Tha Tien Pier (N8)
Opening hours: 8:00am-5:00pm daily
Entrance fees: 50 baht per person
Official Website: https://www.watpho.com

Layout Map of Wat Phra Chetuphon


Sights within the Wat Phra Chetuphon complex

  1. Entrance Gate ซุ้มประตูทรงมงกุฎ และ ตุ๊กตาจีน
  2. Southern Viharn พระวิหารทิศใต้
  3. L-shaped Viharn พระวิหารคด and
  4. Sala Kan Parien (Preaching Hall) ศาลาการเปรียญ
  5. Crocodile Pond สระจระเข
  6. Phra Mondop (Library) พระมณฑป
  7. Phra Maha Chedi Si Ratchakarn (Great Stupas of the Four Kings) พระมหาเจดีย์สี่รัชกาล
  8. Misakawan (Bodhi Tree) Park สวนมิสกวัน
  9. Viharn of the Reclining Buddha พระวิหารพระพุทธไสยาส
  10. Belfry หอระฆัง
  11. Phra Rabieng (Gallery) พระระเบียง
  12. Western Viharn พระวิหารทิศตะวันตก
  13. Northern Viharn พระวิหารทิศเหนือ
  14. Eastern Viharn พระวิหารทิศตะวันออก
  15. Phra Ubosot พระอุโบสถ

A visit to Wat Phra Chetuphon

Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokSignboard with opening hours of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokMy girlfriend (now wife) Chooi Yoke and I at the entrance of Wat Phra Chetuphon before we entered. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokGate sentinels with Chinese features at Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe administrative office of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe whitewashed walls of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe outer courtyard of Wat Phra Chetuphon, looking towards the Phra Rabieng gallery, with chedis lining the wall. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokA cluster of five stupas in the outer courtyard of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokA row of chedis and the whitewashed gallery of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokLayout of Wat Phra Chetuphon, viewed from east looking to west. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe Crocodile Pond. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokPhra Mondop, the library where Buddhist scriptures are kept. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokPhra Mondop. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokWestern Viharn of Wat Phra Chetuphon, seen from its entrance looking east. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokInterior of the Western Viharn. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokCabinet in the Western Viharn with mother-of-pearl inlaid lacquered pedestal trays called talum (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokRock garden in front of the Western Viharn. (28 October, 2006)


Located in front of the Western Viharn, this is one of the 24 rock gardens within the Wat Phra Chetuphon complex. It has shrubs such as the ixora, and rocks of different sizes which were relocted from the rock garden of the Grand Palace. The rock gardens were created by King Rama III.

Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokGreat Stupas of the Four Kings. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokGateway to the Bodhi Tree courtyard, also called Misakawan Park (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokSide view of the gateway to Misakawan Park. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe belfry in front of Misakawan Park. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokViharn of the Reclining Buddha ระวิหารพระพุทธไสยาส (28 October, 2006)


This is possibly the most important building in the complex. It was built by King Rama III, who first built the reclining Buddha statue before having the hall constructed over it. The statue is 46 meters long, with the Buddha's head being 15 meters high. Visitors walking around the statue will note that the sole of the Buddha's feet hold intricate pattern created using mother-of-pearl. The pattern depicts the 108 auspicious signs in Buddhism.

On the inner wall of the viharn are murals depicting the 13 Savika Etadagga Disciples, the 10 Upasaka Etadagga Disciples and the 10 Upasika Etadagga Disciples.

Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe colossal Reclining Buddha statue. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokThe face of the Reclining Buddha. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokMother-of-pearl art on the Buddha's sole. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokGilded stenciling of the column and ceiling of the Viharn of the Reclining Buddha. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokStanding Buddhas line the cloister of the inner courtyard. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokAnother viharn or chapel at Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokChinese-style ornamental pagodas decorate the courtyard. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokSeated Buddha statues line the cloister. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokBrass guardian lion-dogs flanking an entrance. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokStanding Buddha in yet another viharn. (28 October, 2006)


Wat Phra Chetuphon, BangkokMain Buddha image in the Ubosot of Wat Phra Chetuphon. (28 October, 2006)

Wat Phra Chetuphon is on the map of Bangkok

List of Buddhist Temples in Bangkok and Buddhist Temples in Thailand

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