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The temple’s official name is Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan. The visit is at the initiative of the US Embassy in Bangkok, which contacted the temple before the US presidential election on November 6. The monk quoted US Ambassador Kristie Kenney as saying that Wat Pho is the most beautiful temple in the world. “The temple and Thailand would like to thank the ambassador for helping to choose the temple, which has certainly helped bolster Thailand’s reputation.” Unesco listed Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, on its Memory of the World register in March 2008. The Thai traditional massage sculptures are known all over the world. The temple was the first public university in Thailand and a centre of knowledge for many subjects. Each day, about 10,000 tourists visit the temple, half of them foreigners, the monk said. After the temple visit, Obama will go to Siriraj Hospital at 5pm for an audience with His Majesty the King, before heading to Government House. A planned speech in English – which was to have been broadcast live – by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at an event at Government House during Obama’s visit on Sunday has been cancelled.
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