Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of the most significant and oldest temples in Bangkok, located in the city's Old Town. Founded during the 16th century, it's renowned for its enormous reclining Buddha statue that measures 46 meters long and 15 meters high, covered in gold leaf and with mother-of-pearl inlaid on its feet. Besides this iconic figure, Wat Pho is also recognized as Thailand's first public university and is a center for traditional Thai massage and medicine.
Wat Pho's architectural and artistic grandeur is truly a sight to behold. Its complex consists of two walled compounds separated by Chetuphon Road. The northern compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found, while the southern compound, generally less visited, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school. The temple complex houses over 1,000 Buddha images, more than any other temple in Thailand, most of which originate from the ruins of the former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
The temple is not only a place of worship but also a place of learning. It's considered the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, a practice that has gained global recognition. The temple grounds contain 91 chedis (stupas or mounds), four viharas (halls), and a bot (central shrine). There are also numerous murals depicting various scenes, including the Indian epic Ramayana. Overall, Wat Pho offers an enriching experience that combines spiritual, historical, and cultural exploration, making it a must-visit destination in Bangkok's Old Town.