Wat Pho or “Temple of the Reclining Buddha” holds the highest status of Thai temples by being one of six first class temples of Royal Temple Members in Thailand. Thai people believe Wat Pho is the oldest temple in Bangkok, although with unclear evidence of when this temple was established. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images from temples in two former Siamese capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. It holds the prestigious title of “Memorial of the World” by the UNESCO since 2009.
A little known fact about Wat Pho is that it is the birthplace of a traditional Thai practice: the art of Thai massage. The temple was a center for knowledge and study about traditional Thai medicine. It became the essence of Thailand’s first university and a center for traditional Thai massage. Many archives show evidence that the temple where the ancient Thai medicinal wisdom comes from. The temple was a medical teaching center in the mid-19th century and remains a center for traditional medicine today where a private school for Thai medicine still operates. Stone statues around temple illustrate various massage techniques; tourists can experience original Thai massage therapy at the temple.
Of course, Wat Pho is best known for the gigantic Reclining Buddha statue. It is the most popular statue on Thai postcards. The chapel and the reclining Buddha date back 1832 and the image of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. The posture of the image is referred to as sihasaiyas, the posture of a sleeping or reclining lion. The figure is 15 meter high and 46 meter long and it is one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand.
The temple complex is open daily from 8 am until 6.30 pm. Admission fee is THB 100.