Wat Bo – the famous monastery in Siem Reap

Wat Bo – the famous monastery in Siem Reap

Wat Bo Pagoda is located right in Siem Reap at the southern end of the river of the same name and is the namesake of the so-called Wat Bo area where it is located.

Tempel Wat Bo in Siem Reap

The beautiful temple Wat Bo in Siem Reap

The building is an active religious center where monks still live and pursue their religious life. However, visitors are welcome there as long as they do not disturb the praying people and abide by the clearly stated rules of the house. Early risers have the opportunity to listen to the monks’ prayer chants in the early morning hours. There is also a school on the premises, so tourists should not be surprised to see some children running around spending their breaks there.

What makes Wat Bo Pagoda so special for visitors is not only the breathtakingly beautiful architecture, but especially the opulent interior design. It contains many art-historically valuable murals from the 19th century, which are not only reasonably well preserved, but above all offer a very good insight into the stories of Hindu mythology (for example, about Rama and Shita, who according to legend were the strongest man and the most beautiful woman of their time, and which are one of the classic tales of the Cambodian cultural sphere or the entire Southeast Asian region). Especially for Western visitors, these representations are a welcome opportunity to immerse themselves in a world that is completely new to them, full of magnificent images and stories.

Wat Bo Schrein

A small shrine on the grounds of Wat Bo

Why researchers in particular are so interested in the wall drawings of the pagoda is because there are also representations of the everyday life of Cambodians in the 19th century: a rarity through which it is well possible to draw conclusions about the lifestyles of the people of that time.

The temple itself was built in the 18th century, making it one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Siem Reap. Since the pagoda is within walking distance of the city’s roads, it is an ideal destination for those on short notice and visitors who want to make their own way there to explore this beautiful building full of spirituality and culture. For this, tourists should plan about an hour.

Basically, Wat Bo is far from the crowds of visitors, however, it is quite true that on the high holidays the rush of worshippers is correspondingly higher. The entrance to the pagoda is free, but it is financed by donations, so visitors are strongly recommended to pay a small donation to preserve the beauty of the temple and the works of art inside for future generations.

Wat Bo Kantine

The canteen of Wat Bo