Results 1-5of 5 Reviews
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
May 2, 2007
From journal Bangkok Sightseeing
November 17, 2006
Wat Po is a magnificent temple complex made of dozens of buildings and 99 chedis (that's Thai for stupa: unlike Tibetan stupas, Thai chedis don't necessarily contain ashes; they might also have broken Buddha images in them). The Wat Po chedis are covered with gaudy porcelain mosaics. There are hundreds of Chinese stone statues, from two-foot-tall pigs to 12-foot demons and kings and Westerners in top hats; apparently these were brought back as ballast in trading ships. There is a pavilion full of instructional plaques, made out of marble, on Thai medicine and massage; King Rama II had these put up so that ordinary people could come to the temple and make rubbings of the plaques with rice paper, and thus acquire a medical and massage textbook. There are also statues demonstrating Thai massage techniques.
But the main point of the complex is the temple buildings. Of the many major shrines, two are especially amazing. Most important is the Golden Buddha, a magnificent altar dedicated to one of Thailand's most important Buddha statues, in a building covered by spectacular painted murals depicting the life of the Buddha. But perhaps more surprising to Western visitors is the Reclining Buddha: it's a vast, vast statue, which if it were standing up would be five or six stories tall. The statue is housed in an enormous building, and is visible only in segments because of the necessity of surrounding it with columns to hold up the roof. Particularly beautiful are the statue's feet, which are covered with gold leaf patterns.
All the buildings, though, are spectacular, covered with gold leaf and carving. On a sunny day, the effect is blinding. Wat Po and the Royal Palace next door are the two main sights of the city, and we saw more tourists there than during the rest of the entire trip combined. So if you're looking for a peaceful afternoon, this isn't the place to go. But it's an unmissable sight. Wat Po also houses one of the country's most respected massage schools. There's a 20 Baht entrance fee (about $0.50).
From journal Five Days in Bangkok
by Nicola Six
London, United Kingdom
August 5, 2005
But best were the big Buddas - unadorned (if you don't count the gold) with a simplicity of design that wouldn't look out of place in some minimalist heaven. And the poses were so appealing--one was 'Budda subduing mara', cross-legged, sole uppermost with the elongated hand, denying the spirit of temptation. There was also 'Budda at the death', lying gracefully on his side, one hand supporting the head, smiling as he slips into Nirvana.
Come with some change to buy yourself a couple of months of good karma, and cover your shoulders, knees, and everything in between. Avoid the midday sun unless you're a mad dog or an Englishman.
From journal Thai Life
Port Angeles, Washington
January 9, 2002
One area of the temple was surrounded by 300 gold Buddhas, all in a pose to dispell evil. So when you looked around, the identical images were in long rows. There were three rows facing inward. How powerful to have them all facing you. Another interesting part of the temple was the 95 pagodas all decorated with colored glass. They each contain ashes of the deceased. Traditionally only ashes of very important people were put in pagodas, but at this temple, someone can pay to have their ashes put in one of the pagodas. The money helps in the upkeep of the temple.
Guides can be hired at the entrances to Wat Po (and the same goes for the Royal Palace). It is always a risk when you hire a guide. Our Intrepid trip leader hired ours for us, but I’m not sure she had a better system then anyone else. You can first talk to a potential guide for a while to make sure that you can understand their English. Then you hope that they actually know what they are talking about. Ours was pretty good, but of course I don’t have anyone to compare him to. Our Intrepid leader Paula said that she once hired a guide for the group, only to find out later that he was quite drunk. If you find a good one, I imagine you can ask the same guide to accompany you to the Royal Palace as well. I believe that the guides need to be wearing an identification card around their neck to show that they are licensed to guide (but, of course, the drunk guy was wearing one, so don’t rely on this).
From journal Four weeks in Thailand
by Sarah Zimmerman
Terrace, British Columbia
August 10, 2000
From journal Bangkok By Bus and River Taxi