Wat Pho: Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Among the highlights of a visit to Thailand is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Known as Wat Chetuphon or simply Wat Pho, it is one of the oldest and most important temples in the nation’s capital, Bangkok.

Wat Pho is best-known to the rest of the world as the home of a huge statue of the Buddha in a reclining position, the one he is believed to have assumed in his passage into nirvana. This awe-inspiring statue is 15 meters tall and 46 meters from head to feet. While the body is made from brick and plaster and finished with gold, the soles of the feet are laden with mother-of-pearl designs that show “auspicious signs” of Buddhahood. More than just a tourist attraction, it is a holy image for Buddhists who come to pay homage to their spiritual lord.

Aside from housing the Reclining Buddha, the temple is home to about a thousand other sacred images, chedis, stone giants and over 1,300 inscriptions of Thai medicine theory, the latter now part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. In the rock garden are found statues depicting Thai yoga postures. One of Thailand’s great kings, Rama III, commissioned these writings and statues to preserve the remains of Thai medical knowledge after a costly war with Burma that destroyed much of Thailand’s cultural heritage.

As the oldest university in Thailand, the temple is the home of traditional Thai massage and yoga. There are massage services offered in the temple grounds. Outside the temple is the Wat Pho massage school where English-speaking teachers are ready to instruct foreigners who want to learn Thai massage or yoga for themselves. Because these are basically “crash courses,” even tourists on a short visit only can fit a class or two into their itinerary.

For the curious and open-minded, pay the fortune-tellers a visit. You will find astrologers and palm readers who can tell you a few things that might surprise you. Otherwise you can simply take a look at the souvenir shops.

Although relatively modest compared to such places as Wat Phra Kaew at the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is very much worth a visit. Set aside a few hours at least to explore it, and bring your camera.

10 Reasons to Travel by Train

The train can be a relaxing way to travel and see the countryside. Canadians find travel abroad via train is a stress free form of travel. Whether you are a Canadian travelling through your home country or a Canadian travelling in Europe or other foreign countries, travel by train is one of the most recommended ways to travel comfortably.

Canadian train travel is fairly easy. The train system is extensive in Canada. Currently, there are more than seven different train lines to facilitate Canadian travel to a variety of popular Canadian countries. Since Canadians are familiar with Canadian train travel, they prefer this mode of transportation in Europe and other locations as well.

Canadian travel, as well as, travel abroad in other countries is relaxing by rail. Some trains are equipped with WiFi to allow laptop use while aboard the train. The seats are typically comfortable and allow more leg room than most airline travel. Each tourist should consider train travel as a viable mode of transportation that is both economical and a green mode of travel.

Let us explore ten reasons why Canadians enjoy train travel:

1)    Stress Free Canadian Travel:
Train travel removes the stress from the travelling to multiple locations while on vacations. Whether traveling from country to country in Europe or province to province in Canada, train travel allows tourists to enjoy the view without navigating a vehicle in a foreign location.

2)    Save More with Train Travel
Train travel is more economical than driving. Fuel in some European countries is as much as $8 per gallon. Public transportation is a greener way to travel, because hundreds of people travel to the location for a fraction of the price of travel by vehicle or plane. In Europe, the passes are as little as $350 for all of the major European countries.

3)    Purchase Passes Whenever:
Passes may be purchased online 24 hours per day and seven days per week.

4)    Pet Care:
Pet care service is available for those who travel with their pets.

5)    Travel for Multiple Months:
Many people can travel for up to 3 months or more on one pass globally on all participating train rail lines. This may include Canadian train travel, as well as, European train travel.

6)    Unlimited Travel:
Unlimited train travel is offered on the global pass. Passengers may travel as often as they would like in the time frame.

7)    Refreshments:
Some train services offer onboard snacks and meals for longer trips.

8)    Free Museum Passes:
Some museums will offer free passes along with the rail passes to make the tourist’s travels more affordable. In some instances, tourists may travel to as many as 400 museums.

9)    Choice of Service:
Customers may choose from first class service and second class service, just as in an airline. This allows travelers to vacation according to their budget level. The second class service typically has seating that is first come, first serve. Therefore, passengers should be aware that assigned seating may not always be available in budget seating.

10)   Discounts:
Several companies offer several discounts on hotels, tours, cable cars, theme parks and other travel services. These discounts may be as much as 50% in some instances. These perks saves families a tremendous amount. The Swiss railway is particularly good about providing these perks along with their railway tickets.

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