A Visit to Bangkok, Part 3: Wat Pho Temple

If I had to choose the one place in Bangkok that I found most inspiring and alluring, it would have to be Wat Pho.

The head of an immense reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

The head of an immense reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex in the same neighborhood as the Grand Palace. As a tourist, I was directed to take the SkyTrain to the pier where the tourist boats go up the river. I took the tourist boat twice.

Travel Tip 1: You can either purchase an all-day pass on the river boat for 150 baht, or if you are really heading to one destination and plan to get off the river once you arrive, ask for the one-stop ticket. Then you’ll only pay 40 baht.

Travel Tip 2: Women are not permitted into temples unless they’re covered. You can’t wear anything above the ankle. A pair of light weight slacks and a tee shirt that covers your shoulders and the top of your arm, is fine. If you aren’t wearing the right clothing, you’ll have to “rent” a wrap which you’ll tie around your waist and will cover you to your ankles.

When you get off the tourist boat, you have to walk through a make-shift bazaar building that is on the pier. There are a bunch of vendors selling a variety of souvenirs. Once you exit the bazaar, you come out into an area where there are street vendors selling food and drinks.

A young man selling freshly made pomegranate juice near Wat Pho.

A young man selling freshly made pomegranate juice near Wat Pho.

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Good Good Good Papaya Salad. 40 baht is about $1 US dollar.

Good Good Good Papaya Salad. 40 baht is about $1 US dollar.

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A woman looks over her choices of grilled meats at a street vendor's stall

A woman looks over her choices of grilled meats at a street vendor’s stall

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But once inside the temple complex, your eye is drawn to the ornate and intricately tiled buildings that adorn the large tract of land that composes the complex.

The architecture of Wat Pho

The architecture of Wat Pho

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When you are not looking at the amazing architecture, there are many wonderful places where you can stop and rest.

The man made waterfall and koi pond is delightful

The man made waterfall and koi pond is delightful

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I only saw one monk while I was there, which surprised me

I only saw one monk while I was there, which surprised me

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For some reason, the majority of people I saw at Wat Pho were tourists and not monks. I only saw one monk while I was there, and he walked so quickly across the courtyard I could barely snap a photo of him as he passed me.

Within one of the courtyards, I found...

Within one of the courtyards, I found…

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You can take many hours to explore this wonderful site because there are so many nested courtyards, each with their own set of sculptures, or alters with flowers, or perhaps you’ll see a line of buddhas sitting and meditating. It’s all beautiful and peaceful.

A charming monk figure sits nestled in some greenery

A charming monk figure sits nestled in some greenery

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Beautiful handmade flower alter

Beautiful handmade flower alter

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Flower Alter detail

Flower Alter detail

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My advice to anyone visiting Wat Pho:

  • bring water
  • dress appropriately
  • don’t rush
  • allow the serene nature of this place to inspire you
  • investigate courtyards and other out of the way spots
A mythological creature stands watch over one of the temples

A mythological creature stands watch over one of the temples

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A moment of peaceful solitude

A moment of peaceful solitude

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