Wat Pho is an amazing piece of historical real estate, one that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Bangkok. As indicated in this Blog’s name, Wat Pho is the birthplace of Thai Massage. What this means is the area of the Temple was used to develop healthful massage techniques, kind of like a medical school of long ago. To continue this tradition, the temple maintains a massage school near the temple, teaching the local Thais to properly give “Thai Massage”.
Wat Pho has many names, the official name is “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn. The Temples original name was Wat Pho Tharam. “Wat Pho” is the common name and means “Temple of the Bodi Tree”. The temple is also one the nine Royal Temples of the Chakri Dynasty, being built during the reign of King Rama I of that Dynasty.
The Temple grounds is home to hundreds of ornate chedis (pagodas) and hundreds of Buddha images. All worth taking your time to discover.
Wat Pho is located conveniently adjacent and directly south of the Grand Palace Complex. The easiest way to get there is to take the express ferry to Pier 8. The temple is located directly out from the pier. There is an entrance charge of 100 baht for foreigners.
I caught the end of the Thot Kathin Ceremony, which marks the end of Buddhist Lent in Thailand. The end of lent also marks the end of the Thai rainy season, which is quite long. The ceremony is actually one month but i was able to attend final portion. This is just a brief video of the chants.
I recently went to the KFC in the Time Square Building in Downtown Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road and across from the Robinson’s Department Store (near Sukhumvit Soi 12). When I was ordering the person in front of me was asked to point out their order on the menu on the counter, unusual for a Thai speaking Thai to a Thai. When I looked around the KFC I realized that the store is called a “Special Serve Store”. The service was great and I thought I would recommend this store to any KFC frequenter. I am providing a Google Map link to the store to help you find the store and support this wonderful program.
This is an update to a previous blog to show more recent photos and includes a video tour of this awesome Temple.
Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram (Wat Phra Kaew) is also called "the Temple of the Emerald Buddha". This amazing temple is located adjacent to the Grand Palace and is filled with over a hundred ornate buildings and statues and sculptures most related to either Buddhism or Hindu. The grounds are ornate with many gardens and statues. These buildings are surrounded by walls on all sides, the entire wall is painted with scenes from Ramayana, which is a ancient Hindu Tail of the gods. Cameras are not allowed in this church so it is difficult to get a photo of the tiny (between 60 and 75 cm) Emerald Buddha. Not much is known for certain about the statue, except that it isn't actually made of emerald but rather of green jade or jasper. The tiny sacred Buddha is ceremoniously has a change of clothes with each change of season.
Some video of the Ramayana Wall surrounding the inside wall of the temple. I thought it facinating so I am showing you some video clips of the wall.
The updated photo set can be view by clicking below:
Some advice for your visit:
The Temple is open everyday at 8:30 a.m., be there early because it can get really hot and really crowded.
The easiest way to get to the temple is from the river. Take the express boats, they are only 15 baht.
Do not listen to anyone outside the area telling you you can not go in, They are likely trying to scam you in to buying something.
Wear long pants - the docents at the Temple will make you rent long pants if you are wearing shorts.
Klong Toey Fresh Market supplies fresh foods to a large portion of Bangkok. The market is not far from my place so I end up going there once in a while. The meat area of the market is quite shocking by Western standards, where the fresh meats are sitting in the open and unrefridgerated. And the items are likely not to be in the market long because half of Bangkok is there buying up the goods about as fast as it is brought in to the market. The Fresh Market is a great place to visit and you may get a great deal on many fresh goods that catch your eye.
Wat Asokaram is located Southeast of Bangkok in the Samut Prakan Province, and very close to the Gulf of Thailand. The temple's most prominent feature is a Chedi complex of white spires that is used for meditation and houses relics of a revered Monk.
Being located so close to the ocean, the grounds surrounding the temple area is quite marshy but has elevated paths leading to small huts where some monks stay and meditate.