Wat Pho (Wat Phra Chetuphon)
Wat Pho is oldest and largest temple complex in Bangkok, and has the biggest collection of Buddha images. It's also called Temple of the Reclining Buddha, referring to its most remarkable feature, a huge golden Buddha lying on his side.
Tip: When you visit Wat Pho, kids will take their shoes on and off a lot, so wear convenient footwear.
|Chapel of the Reclining Buddha – The reclining Buddha is 150 feet (46 m) long, almost 50 ft (15m) high, made of stucco and covered with gold leaf – it's very impressive. The Buddha might look like he's sleeping, but he's reached nirvana. His feet are gigantic and inlaid with mother-of-pearl signs of the Buddha.
As you walk around the Buddha, murals decorate the walls and there are 108 black bowls, kids can put in coins for good fortune.
|Royal Pagodas (Chedis) – Check out the four big pagodas, in green, white, yellow and blue, each covered in flower design porcelain mosaics. The chedis hold sacred Buddhist relics or ashes of the Rama kings.
|Chinese rock giants – By doorways in the temple complex are striking stone statues, these are guardian figures. The stone statues were originally used as ballast, brought back from China on Thai sailing ships.
Some rock giants are fierce warriors, holding a weapon and wearing armor, others are peaceful philosopher figures with long beards. Four other statues wear western style hats and clothes: these are Marco Polo, the most famous western explorer to visit China.
|Main Chapel (Ubosot) – As you go in, check out the mother-of-pearl doors, decorated with scenes from the Ramayana (Ramakien). Inside the chapel, sacred relics are stored in the central figure of the Buddha, sitting with his hands in a gesture of meditation. Pillars of the hall are decorated in lovely birds and flowers patterns.
|Golden Buddhas – The galleries around the ubosot are filled with over 350 golden statues of the Buddha, collected from all over Thailand, and each is different. For many of the seated Buddha figures, the right hand points down, the gesture of "calling the earth to witness." Kids can look at all the different Buddhas, and decide which face is their favorite.
|Miniature stone mountains and grottoes – Throughout the complex are miniature stone mountains and grottoes, ornamented with trees, waterfalls, and mythical animal figures. These are especially fun for kids, just their size.
|Tip: Don't visit Grand Palace and Wat Pho in the same day. They are adjacent, but each complex is big and has lots to see. Too many Buddhas and garudas, it just blurs together for kids.