Thailand: Wat Pho

Wat Phra Chetuphon

Its full name is quite a mouthful, so everyone simply calls it Wat Pho.

Wat Pho Buddhas

Key Features:


    The city’s largest reclining Buddha, measuring 150 feet long.

  • The largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand—over a thousand.

  • The national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine—including Thai massage.

I recommend that if you are going to visit any temple in Bangkok, let this be the one.

It is its country’s first university. Keep an eye out for the stone tablets built into the columns engraved with early teachings, covering 8 general topics: history, medicine, health, customs, literature, proverbs, lexicography and the Buddhist religion.

Wat Pho Wall Mural

Map of Wat Pho

Wat Pho Map


To feel small amongst millions of tiny tiles built into something so incredibly large.

Getting Around


Wat Pho Map Index

1. Phra Ubosot
3. East Viharn
4.South Viharn
5. West Viharn
6. North Viharn
16. Viharn Phranorn
(Chapel of the Reclining Buddha)

Points of Interest
2. Kamphaeng Kaew
7. Phra Prang
8. 5 Chedis
9. Phra Chedi Rai
10. Phra Rabiang
11. Phra Viharn Kod
13. Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn
14. Phra Mondop
15. Pavilions
17.Sala Karn Parien
20. Belfry
23. Sala Rai

12. Khao Mor (Rock Gardens)
18. Missakawan Park
19. The Crocodile Pond

21. Gates
22. Massage Service

Wat Pho

Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, thought to have originally been constructed sometime around the beginning of the 1700s. It has been restored many times since, and in fact, one section or another is always undergoing some sort of restoration.

It is overwhelming to try to conceive of the amount of effort it takes to construct something so grand and so detailed. I could not truly fathom it until one day when I came across a man sitting quietly in one of the halls, restoring one of the small Buddha statues. A few pieces of mosaic were missing from the base, and he was replacing them. I watched him carefully, as he slowly, piece by piece, replaced the small tiles, using tweezers. He would take one small piece, dip it in glue, then carefully fit it exactly into place. I watched him for several minutes as he quietly did his work. His process was deliberate and painfully slow going.

Then it hit me. Like one of those fun childhood books where you see a small piece of an image, and then the next page a little more, and the next, a little more, until you have zoomed out completely. I saw this small 5-inch swatch he was carefully tending, and then the whole base of that statue, then the room, then the walls, then the grounds, gardens and outside walls, with all of its temples, and imagined floating above the 80,000 square meters within its confines. It is a sea of beautiful tiles. It is truly an amazing feat of human creation, and it was built with tweezers.

Wat Pho Tiles

Stay tuned for next week when we will talk about what you need to know to make the most of your visit to Wat Pho. Till then.

And remember, never stop exploring.

Interested in Southeast Asia?

Check out a beautiful map of the area!

One of the thousands of maps available from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *