August 6, 2012

Sawadee Ka Bangkok! : Wat Pho

Continuation from here...

If you go to Thailand, you'll hear the word 'Wat' very often.
What's a Wat
They are actually temples. Temples are called Wat in Thailand ye adik-adik.

Located adjacent to the south of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan or better known as Wat Pho, attracts a lot of visitors alike. It is said to be the oldest temple in Bangkok, even older than the city itself. It was founded in the seventeenth century under the name Wat Photaram, hence the nickname Wat Pho.

Visitors usually come here only to gawp at the Reclining Buddha but actually there are a lot to explore within its compound. The complex is divided into two walled compounds; one side is where the temple of the Reclining Buddha and massage school are found, and the other side is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.

 The temple was under renovation during my visit but luckily, we could still enter it.

The temple is famous for its 160ft long Reclining Buddha. I wasn't able to capture its entire length so here is the head...

and this is the feet.

kuku kotor!

The feet are beautifully inlaid with mother of pearls, indicating 108 auspicious symbols of Buddha.  

Then along the corridor, you can see 108 bronze bowls, also indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha.

Visitors drop coins in each bowl for good luck and a long life.

Go get your free bottled water just outside the temple. Thank God for it cos it was so hot that day! 

 Then I walked around the courtyard. According to what I read, there are 99 chedis strewn around here. Didn't see that many but here are some of the stand out ones.

People usually enter the compound through the entrance near the Grand Palace but if you come in from the main entrance at the other end, you can see the series of gates with the stone giants.  

You'll also come across hundreds of Buddha images. Well.. this is a temple what do you expect right?

Wat Pho is open daily.
Visiting hours are from 8 am to 5 pm.
Entrance fee is 100 Baht.
Direction: Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat and alight at Tha Thien (N8)

As I said before, there is a massage school here. The wat is an important centre for traditional medicine, notably Thai massage, which is used against all kinds of illnesses, from backaches to viruses. I love going to spa, so I thought it was interesting if I was able to do the massage myself. But then I discovered that the basic course itself takes minimum 5 days to complete. Hmm.. next time la.

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