Visiting Wat Pho is a must-see when you are in Bangkok and for good reason. Home to the reclining Buddha, this is a gorgeous temple complex with detailed, decorated structures and rows and rows of golden Buddhas. This is my favourite temple to visit in Bangkok so I wanted to share our tips on visiting Wat Pho and the reclining Buddha.
When to visit Wat Pho
Wat Pho open times vary, but generally, the temple is open from 8 am to 5 pm with the complex staying open until later. The best times to arrive are early or late – arrive before 10 am to beat the tour buses or head here around 4 pm to see the reclining Buddha without too many tourists around.
Obviously, weekdays are quieter than the weekends but check national holidays in Thailand but also national holidays in nearby countries – during Chinese New Year, for example, the temple gets very busy.
Avoid midday – the temple does offer some shade and is fairly cool compared to a visit to the Grand Palace but it is still worth avoiding the midday sun.
If you have the luxury to choose which month to visit, I would recommend the cool season; October to the start of December and the month of February (check holidays as well). April and May the temperature rises in Bangkok whilst June – September is rainy season so expect storms in the late afternoons.
What to wear in Wat Pho
Wat Pho does have a dress code but they are fairly relaxed with it. It is advised you cover your shoulders and legs; this is expected when entering the temple of the reclining Buddha. There are shawls available at the temple if needed.
If you are visiting the Grand Palace on the same day, make sure you cover your ankles as well and do not wear leggings; there is a strict no leggings rule in the Palace. Who doesn’t want to wear comfy, “only-in-Asia”, Harlem pants like this?
Shoes must cover your toes (so no flip flops) and you will be expected to remove your shoes before entering any of the temples.
Getting to Wat Pho
There are a few ways to get to Wat Pho but it is worth noting that the temple is very near Grand Palace, making them good places to visit on the same day.
Taxi – The easiest way to get to the temple, especially in the morning, is via taxi. It is worth downloading the GRAB app to avoid being overcharged by taxi drivers on the way back to your hotel; often drivers will refuse to put on the meter. GRAB is more expensive than a normal taxi but it does save the hassle of being charged a fortune. For example; our home to Wat Pho in a normally taxi would cost us 150B, a GRAB journey costs us 230B but an unmetered taxi driver would charge anything from 400 to 600B.
MRT/BTS Train – You can catch the BTS and MRT to Sanam Chai Station, with Wat Pho being a 5-minute walk from here. This is the perfect option for those travelling on a budget, especially if you are staying near the MRT or BTS lines.
Bus – If you would rather experience a Bangkok bus (hot and humid but very cheap), bus numbers 1, 3, 25, 44, 48, 91, 503, 508 and 512 all stop near Wat Pho.
Wat Pho entrance fee
The Wat Pho entrance fee costs 200B and includes a bottle of water from the water station near the reclining Buddha temple.
Massages at Wat Pho
Wat Pho is the birthplace of the Thai massage and you can experience a massage on your visit. It is worth noting that prices are more expensive inside the temple than they are in massage spots around the city but are comparable to the prices you would pay in tourist areas such as Khao San Road.
Traditional Thai Massage: 30-minute = 260B, 1 hour = 420B
Foot Massage: 30-minute = 280B, 1 hour = 420B
Wat Pho to the Grand Palace
Wat Pho to the Grand Palace is around a 13-minute walk and the Palace can be seen on exiting Wat Pho. Make sure you read up on tips for visiting the Grand Palace before you go.
There are a few different exits in Wat Pho but these are the two route options. The Palace is surrounded by a white brick wall, so once you have found that, follow it around to the entrance.
Option 1 – Take the exit further away from the reclining Buddha, near the massage school (you will see signs for the massage school). As you exit, you will find yourself at a roundabout with the Territorial Defense Command building opposite you. From here, turn left and cross the roundabout, moving away from the Defense building; and follow the Sanam Chai road for around 10 minutes, take the first left and you will find the Grand Palace entrance.
Option 2 – Take the exit near the reclining Buddha temple and turn left to get to the corner of the complex. From here, take a right and walk along Maha Rat road. Keep following the white brick wall around to the right and you will find yourself at the entrance to the palace.
Wat Pho to Wat Arun
Wat Pho is also near Wat Arun and again, make for a great day exploring the temples.
From Wat Pho, walk towards Tha Tien pier – exit the temple complex from the exit near the reclining Buddha, turn left then cross the road and you will find yourself in Tha Tien Market. Walk through the market and there is a pier with a ferry that takes you over to Wat Arun for 3B.
Short on time? If you don’t have long in Bangkok, book a tour to see the temples. You might not get as long as you want in each place but, these are great if you want a whistlestop tour of the major sights in Bangkok.
We hope you have an amazing time in Wat Pho and tell us about your experience in the comments below!