The following day, we did a morning tour of some of the most popular temples in Bangkok. Our guide met us at our hotel and we were on our way to the first temple soon after. Our first stop was Wat Traimit, located near the entrance of Chinatown.
It was sunny and already fairly hot at this time. Out of respect, you are expected to wear proper clothing when visiting temples and royal properties. Shoulders should not be exposed and shorts, capris, and tank tops are not allowed. They suggest covered shoes as well. This dress code may be more strictly enforced at places like The Grand Palace, but we didn’t mind honoring it for all the temples. You also have to remove your shoes before entering, so it’s best to wear comfortable shoes that you can easily slip on and off.
In the past, artisans crafted the Buddhas in gold and disguised them from invading armies by covering it with stucco and plaster. The true nature of the Golden Buddha wasn’t even discovered until it was moved to its present location at Wat Traimit back in 1955. When the statue was being hoisted into its new home, the ropes broke, dropping the statue. Some of the plaster chipped off revealing the gold underneath.
Our next stop was Wat Pho, famous for the Reclining Buddha. It is one of the largest and oldest Buddhist temples in Bangkok.
Wat Pho was built as a restoration of an earlier temple on the same site, Wat Phodharam, with work beginning in 1788. Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.
Phra Ubosot or bot is the ordination hall, the main hall used for performing Buddhist rituals, and the most sacred building of the complex.
The highlight of this temple is the Reclining Buddha. I knew it was big, but seeing it in person was very impressive. The chapel and the reclining Buddha were built by King Rama III in 1832. The image of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations.
The figure is about 50 feet high and about 151 feet long, and it is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand.
The soles of the feet of the Buddha are about 10 feet high and about 15 feet long, and inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
The bottoms of the feet are intricately decorated with 108 auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified, such as flowers, dancers, white elephants, and tigers.
You can purchase a bowl of coins near the entrance of the hall. There are 108 bronze bowls lined along the entire length of the hall where you drop the coins for good luck. The money also goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve the temple.
The bowls represent the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha.
We couldn’t help but notice the intricately detailed murals that cover the walkways. The images seem to tell a plethora of stories.
Wat Pho was the first public university in Thailand, specializing in religion, science and literature. It is now more well-known as a center for traditional massage and medicine. It is a great place to get a traditional Thai massage because it’s often considered the leading school of massage in Thailand.
Wat Traimit (The Golden Buddha Temple)
661 Tri Mit Road, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong
Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand
Admission: Golden Buddha 40 baht; Museum 100 baht
Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm everyday, museum closed Mondays
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict
Pranakorn District, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
– Admission: 100 baht
– Hours: 8:00am – 5:00pm everyday