Always in pairs, huge Chinese dolls guard the gateways of many of Bangkok’s temples. However, none are as impressive as the examples found in the famous Wat Pho – home to the country’s largest reclining Buddha.
The statues are known as “Up Chao” in Thai, meaning ballast, and actually many were brought from China for this purpose. The main trade from Thailand to China was in heavy resources such as tin, lead, wood and rice, on the return however the lighter Chinese products weren’t enough to weigh the ship down in the water, so these cheap concrete statues were perfect for the job. However, many of the statues in Wat pho were believed to have been specially made by Chinese artisans in Bangkok as a thank you to the royal family of the time.