Monday, April 11, 2011

A Night at the Temple

" you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage parlours ..."
- Murray Head, in the song One Night in Bangkok

While I haven't been to any bars or massage parlours in Bangkok, I can now at least say I've been to a temple.

You could say I've been to THE temple: Wat Pho.

This Bangkok landmark is renowned for several reasons.
For one thing, it is home to Thailand's most renowned Thai massage school. It is home to more than 1,000 Buddha images.
But probably it's best known feature is its 46-metre long, reclining golden Buddha.
I visited there Monday, April 11, as part of an international celebration of Songkran, the Thai New Year, hosted by Tourism Thailand.

Members of the media from all over the world attended,  in conjunction with an ecotourism conference.

A boat ride down the Chao Phraya River, temple tours, cultural performances and great food - both in the temple grounds and at a nearby park - made the evening an occasion to remember for the visitors. Oh, and don't forget the jasmine leis and water blessings we received.

The temple itself is absolutely breath-taking. Sounds cliched, I know. But it really is an incredibly special place, just magnificent. Photos or word descriptions do not do it justice.
You really have to see it for yourself to appreciate it.
It's open seven days a week, 365 days of the year, and it only costs 50 baht to visit. That's about $1.50 Canadian.

If you do go, plan to spend the whole day there. Maybe get a Thai massage at the school while you're there (about $10 for an 60-minute massage - and you won't find that price anywhere in North America for a similar service!).

Even if you decide not to get a massage, you will definitely need more than a few hours to take it all in. I certainly wished I could have spent more time exploring all the beautiful architecture, and soak in all the atmosphere.

If you'd like to see more photos of the event, visit my Facebook photo album at!/album.php?fbid=1872820453174&id=1021036665&aid=105707

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