Wat Pho: A Mega Wat Day

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The day started in earnest when we emerged into the hot, humid, noisy world outside the Bangkok Metro. We were on our way to Wat Pho, home of the famous reclining Buddha, measuring an astounding 150 feet long and 50 feet high.

Leaving the Metro – a quiet, underground, air-conditioned environment – and surfacing in Chinatown takes a quick adjustment. As seasoned travelers, our “scam radar” is always on, and suddenly it went ping-ping-ping. A nice, normal-looking man (with a briefcase) started a conversation about where we were going, etc. He claimed to be a subway engineer, and his explanation for using the tuk-tuk idling nearby was that the King and his family just happened to be visiting Wat Pho, so we might want to consider his alternate suggestions for visits. We didn’t fall for it … but he got points for style and originality.


Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest wats (Buddhist Temples) in Bangkok, and in addition to the reclining Buddha, it’s home to more than 1,000 Buddha images. It’s a colorful, glimmering fantasyland of Thai Buddhist art and architecture.


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Contrary to  what many people think, Buddha is not a God, but a respected teacher. Buddhism is complex, and the symbolism of the Buddha’s position is important. Statues may show the Buddha seated, standing, or in a reclining position. A reclining Buddha may mean death and reaching Nirvana.




A Buddha in a sitting position means enlightenment.


And a standing Buddha gives blessings with his hands.


As we’ve said before, Buddhist Temples are an assault on the senses. This one was also serious eye-candy.

Happy Trails,

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Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

20 thoughts

    1. Thanks Curt. As a photographer, I’m sure that you recognize how hard this Buddha is to shoot. It is a long, narrow hall that’s crowded with tourists. And like me, they’re all trying to get the perfect shot. In the end, I just hoped for the best. ~James

    1. Thanks Jo. This one one of the first Buddhist temples we saw on our latest trip to Bangkok, and it’s one of my favorites. The combination of hundreds of golden Buddhas and the red and black ceilings were a beautiful combination. ~James

    1. Thanks Cathy. This temple is so photogenic, that it’s hard to get a bad shot. And the reclining Buddha is wonderful. I wonder if it’s the largest in the world?

  1. We are planning to visit Thailand next year. I wonder how we will adapt to the climate, especially coming from Scotland. Did you scurry from one A/C spot to another during your visit? How long were you there? Just curious how different it will be to visit as opposed to living in Thailand for several months. – Mike

    1. Mike, in addition to being very hot and humid, Bangkok has the city “heat island” effect, so it can be oppressive. And coming from Scotland, it will be a big adjustment. It will take some time, and you should follow all the tips for dealing with severe heat, ie thin cotton clothing, hat with circulation, drinks lots of water, etc. Even with all this effort, you’ll have times that make you wonder about your sanity. For all our outdoor stuff, we got out as early as possible, and found a cool spot for lunch. A siesta in the hotel AC also helps. Having said this, Bangkok is a fun, interesting and vibrant place, and is worth the effort. Don’t worry, you’ll adjust, and be very glad you visited. ~James

    1. I did see the massage school, but decided not to indulge. Massage is a big deal in Bangkok. Our hotel was in the Sukumvit neighborhood, and it seemed that every other shop was a massage shop. ~James

  2. Beautiful Photos! Wat Pho is incredibly beautiful. The detail on everything within the temple complex is truly outstanding… great way to capture the essence of Wat Pho!

    1. Thanks Claus, for dropping by the blog and for the comment. I really enjoyed Wat Pho, and it’s a photographer’s dream. Also, I liked your post on Seoul. I haven’t been there and have put it on my list. ~James

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog. We’ve been to Bangkok a couple of times, and really enjoyed both visits. It’s such a fun contrast of old and new, tradition and trendy, and so vibrant. In fact, on our last trip, we decided that it would be a good place to spend a month or so. ~James

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