Wat Bo Pagoda is located just one kilometre from Pub Street area and is in an ideal location to go and explore on your own.
This 18th century temple is one of the oldest known Buddhist temples in Siem Reap. Inside the main temple, there are paintings which date back from the 19th century and are still in very good condition today.
A good time to visit the temple is around 4:30pm to 6:00pm when you’ll often hear the monks chanting. There is a small school here, living quarters for the monks, beautiful gardens, and some nice places to sit and relax.
- There is no entrance fee for Wat Bo. However, it’s suggested that you make a donation if you visit.
- You will only need around 30-45 minutes to explore Wat Bo.
- Although mostly quiet, Wat Bo can be very busy during Khmer holidays such as Pchum Ben and Khmer New Year.
- Wat Bo is a working pagoda. You will see people praying and monks working – be respectful.
- See the old paintings in the main building.
- Explore the large and quiet grounds.
Although Wat Bo is a Buddhist pagoda, some of the wall paintings depict famous Hindu stories. You’ll see the Cambodian version of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, called Reamker painted on one wall. This epic is the famous love story of Shita and Rama. Rama is the strongest man in the world and Shita is the most beautiful woman of the times.
You will also see paintings of daily life in Cambodia showing such mundane things as going to the market. One of the most surprising things is that it seems that going to the market is still very similar today as it was a few hundred years ago.
Most of the paintings are in very good condition. However, on some paintings, time has clearly taken its toll on them. Some of the paintings are very high up in a dark pagoda, so they’re not easy to see for some people. Especially the shorter ones of our species!
Wat Bo is located along Street 22 about 400 – 500m away from the Siem Reap River. If you’re coming from pub street, walk past the Old Market towards the river and turn left. When you get to the first junction, turn right and go over the bridge.
Keep walking along the river with King’s Road on the right side and Street 22 is the 6th turning on the right side. The roads here have street signs and are numbered, starting at Street 27 and counting downwards.
Turn right onto Street 22 and follow the road past Wat Bo school on the right side and you will then see the temple on the left side.
If you’re staying in town, it’s a short walk to get to Wat Bo. However, a tuk tuk ride will only cost a couple of dollars. Many guests also like to cycle here and take a small tour of the other pagodas in the area.
There are many tours of Siem Reap town which could incorporate this pagoda. If you’re taking a walking tour or exploring the other pagodas such as Wat Damnak or Wat Preah Prom Rath, then you should include Wat Bo on your list too.
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There many hotels near to Wat Bo Pagoda as it is located just a short distance from the Siem Reap River. You should check an online travel agent such as booking.com to see the current prices for hotels in Siem Reap. You have many choices for hotels whether or not you want to stay near Wat Bo.
Why Visit Wat Bo Pagoda?
If you’ve been the temples and want to explore Siem Reap town a little, then Wat Bo is a nice place to visit. You can get away from the busy centre of town and relax in the gardens and take a stroll around.
Moreover, if you’re visiting Siem Reap on a budget, then Wat Bo is free to enter. However, you should make a small donation when you visit.
Remember that you are visiting a religious site and you should remember the following points.
Be respectful of those around you. Don’t speak loudly. Instead, speak softly and be aware of the other people around you. Wat Bo is a working pagoda and there monks living there and people go there to pray to the shrines.
Cover up your body. Both women and men should cover their shoulders. Women should also cover their knees when going inside the grounds of a pagoda. Don’t wear your hat or shoes when you enter the inside of a pagoda. It’s OK to wear your hat when you’re outside.
Don’t touch the monks! Don’t touch monks, especially if you’re a woman. When greeting monks, you should do the traditional Cambodian greeting called the Sampeah. Place the palms of your hands together just in front of your chest with your fingers pointing upwards. Then bow your head slightly. Only shake hands with monks if they offer their hand first.
Don’t use your fingers or toes to point at people. It’s considered rude in Cambodian society to point at people, especially at monks or older people.
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