If you are in Bangkok and haven’t visited Wat Pho, or haven’t visited in a while, next week is a great time to do so. It’s one of my favorite wats in town, though I only bother stepping inside to see the Reclining Buddha when I have touri in tow. It is popular among locals too. Especially at the beginning of the new year. It’s one of the few times of the year when there are more Thai than Farang at the temple.
The courtyard up front is packed with the faithful. There’s usually a younger monk doing mass blessings and they set up extra areas for offerings; lots of candles and incense being lit, lots of Buddhist imagery that is somewhat neglected during the rest of the year getting smothered in gold leaf. The locals make use of a ‘Thai Only’ entrance on the side of the wiharn to take a look and say a prayer at the Reclining Buddha, and like the touri, many never make it back into the southern part of the compound. Though the wiharns dotting that area are a bit busier than normal, the long lines of Buddha statues running through the cloisters are still often tranquil spots where you can easily find yourself the sole visitor. But it is all the hubbub up front that makes a New Year’s visit to Wat Pho special. Take along a Thai friend and I’m sure he’ll want you to participate – and with a whole new year spread out before you, it can’t hurt.
These shots are not from that time of the year, but are a few of my favorites that I’ve taken there. The Reclining Buddha and those all in a row I’ve snapped dozens of times. Ditto for the huge penis statue that many touri fail to notice or it’d be a much more popular photo-op. Even more often I’ve raised my camera to take a shot of that always closed red window – that my mind insists on calling a door – high above the complex. I don’t know specifically what that building is. But that window, that screams door, intrigues me . . .
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