February 5th, 2008, part 1
If Bangkok is my favourite city in the world (three days in Rome was more of a fling than a love affair...) than Wat Pho is a big reason why. It's the first place I've gone every single time I've returned to Bangkok (it was the second place I visited the first time).
Wat Pho is one of the first and biggest temples in Bangkok (Wat is Thai for temple), and its main attraction is the 15 meter long Parinirvana Buddha, reclining in the main hall. Its formed from brick then covered in a skin of gold. The soles of his massive feet are made from 108 panels, each with a mother-of-pearl inlays of auspicious symbols of a Buddha. Along the backside of the Buddha are a row of 108 metal bowls along the temple windows. For a small donation, you receive a dish full of coins that you go along dropping into the bowls as you head for the exit.
Once you get passed the Buddha, the temple grounds are a worthy setting for a scene in a Thai remake of Alice in Wonderland. I usually spend more time walking amongst the chedis, Thai pagodas, than I do admiring the Buddha, which is a long time!
In the back is a massage school, which is also known to be the first public university in Thailand.
Another nice thing about Wat Pho is that it's just a block in from the ferry dock, passed the little market. If you're coming from the Banglamphoo area, you get to pass Wat Arun and the Grand palace along the way.