|Discover Wat Po|
Wat Po, Bangkok's largest and oldest temple, offers various interesting things to discover: inscriptions, murals, images, and sculptures, not to mention the traditional massage and herbal medicine centers.
A Buddhist temple is supposed to be a place for quiet contemplation; a place where devotees can seek refuge from the hectic outside world and learn the profound teachings of the Lord Buddha amid a serene environment.
But this is not exactly the case with Wat Po. Located within a short walk from the Grand Palace, this much-visited temple is one of the busiest in the capital. Day in and day out tourists crowd the place, some in a form of a pilgrimage while most visitors gape at the marvelous structures on the temple premises.
Wat Po is over 200 years old, but most of the buildings still existing today were built about 150 years ago. The foremost attraction is the enormous Reclining Buddha, a 49-meter long gilded image protected inside a spacious viharn. This building is lavishly adorned with centuries-old murals.
Nearby, in one corner are souvenir stalls offering postcards, jewelry and Thai handicrafts. Here, you will also encounter interesting vendors like the one with large boas crawling over their shoulders. They are not trying to sell you their cumbersome pets though. Rather, they want you to pose with these constrictors on your shoulders instead!
The temple's main chapel, which lies within a double cloistered courtyard, is worth a see. It is covered on the inside with traditional Thai murals of great craftsmanship. Beneath the inner and outer cloisters of this courtyard are row upon row of Buddha images which look rather new because of restoration works.
Wat Po is also famous for its traditional Thai massage center and school. This school offers traditional therapeutic massage to all visitors at reasonable prices. Thai massage is said a very effective way to relieve muscle pain as well as certain muscular diseases and is most sought after by tourists. The special therapy using hot infusions of medicinal herbs is supposed to be the best.
While always considered second only to The Grand Palace as the most visited temple in Bangkok, Wat Po is worth a lengthy exploration in itself. Drop by for a discovery tour any day.