Having been built in the 17th century, the wat is older than the city itself, however the temple bears no resemblance to theoriginal construction as King Rama I had the wat rebuilt when the capital was moved what is now known as Bangkok.
In 1832, King Rama III enlarged the temple and turned it into Thailand’s first learning center, effectively making it the first University in the country. It has since become the center for traditional Thai massage.
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(most previous texts were lost when the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya).
Today, traditional Thai massage is the focus of many tourists’ visits to the temple. Here visitors can enjoy a variety ofrelaxing treatments, or enroll in one of the various study courses administering the teachings of traditional Thai massage.
Note: A traditional Thai massage is not gentle experience and will initially cause a certain amount of discomfort, afterwards however, you will feel more supple, relaxed and revitalized.
Within the temple grounds you can find more than 1000 images of Buddha, most from the ruins of the former capitalsAyutthaya and Sukhothai.
The grounds are split in two by Chetuphon road. The Northern section, which houses the large bot (temple hall) enclosed by 394 bronze Buddha images, is generally the most popular. Outside the bot, there are 152 marble slabs depicting the second half of the epic Ramakian story. Nearby are four chedis constructed in honor of the first three Chakri kings (two for King Rama 3).
There are another 91 Chedis of varying sizes scattered around the grounds, along with chapels, rock gardens, an array of different types of statues, inscriptions, bell towers and resident fortune tellers.
Wat Pho is located on Sanam Chai road and Maharaj road just a short walking distance from the Grand Palace. There are booths just inside the north, or south, entrances. The temple is open daily between 08:00 – 17:00 hrs and admission fee is 50 baht. Tourists must be in polite dress, no shorts.
Guides can be hired at the entrance for 150 baht for one person, 200 baht for two, 300 baht for three, but they’re not really needed. On Sundays, you can see students being taught traditional Thai dance and music. Tel: (662) 225-9595, 622-0100, 221-1375, Fax: (662) 222-9779
Regular Bus Nos. 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 25, 32, 43, 44, 47, 48, 51, 53, 82, 103, and Air-conditioned bus Nos. 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, 44 all stop at the temple. The Chao Phraya Express boat also stops near the complex. You can get off at Tha Chang pier, Tha Tien Pier orPak Klong Talad Pier, then walk through Thai Wang Road entrance.
The Thai Traditional Medical Science School and Body Massage is open daily from 08:00 to 17:00 hrs. Massage servicefee is 250 baht/hour, Herbal massage is 350 baht/hour and a foot massage is 250 baht/hour. It is also possible to takecourses to learn traditional Thai massage. These are for 30 hours and start from around 4,500B. Courses can be spread over either 10 or 15 days. Tel: (662) 221-2974, 221-3686, 622-3550-1, Fax: (662) 225-4771