Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand. Prior to the temple’s founding, the site was a centre of education for traditional Thai medicine, and statues were created showing yoga positions.
The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds, bisected north-south by Sanamchai Road running east-west. The northern walled compound is where the reclining Buddha and massage school are found.
The southern walled compound, Tukgawee, is a working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and a school.
Wat Pho is the largest and oldest wat in Bangkok and is home to more than 1,000 Buddha images, more than any other temple in the country.
It also shelters the largest Buddha image in Thailand: the Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas). Created as part of Rama III’s restoration (1824-51), the Reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high.
His body is covered in gold plating and he is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay on his eyes and the soles of his feet. The bottoms of the Buddha’s feet are intricately decorated with 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
Massage – Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand’s first university, and is center for traditional Thai masage – the rich, famous and powerful have all been known to come here. Inscribed on stone in the walls of Wat Pho are all that was known about Thai massage dating from the reign of King Rama III .
It is also possible to take courses to learn traditional Thai massage.