on September 10, 2010
Wat Arun is one of the most well know temples in Bangkok as well as a one of the most popular photographed and published images.Early in the morning, on my way along the Chao Praya River to the Grand Palace, an English tourist had made me realise that the image of this Wat is found on one of the locals coins (i believe its the 10BHT coin).The temple is located on the west bank side of the Chao Praya River opposite to the Tha Thien Pier that is within walking distance of Wat Pho.By 2 pm we had completed our visits to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho and were ready for our next stop: Wat Arun (also known as the Temple of Dawn).This 82 meter high pagoda will clearly stand out within the west bank of the river.I believe it took us 10 minutes to walk from Wat Pho to the Tha Thien Pier. Streets were very much crowded by this time, the rain had stopped and the heat was wearing us down a little. I was surprised by the intensity of food smell!At the Pier you will have some lovely stands decorated with an interesting variety of wooden craft pieces. Boat service is available for 3 BHT to cross you over to the west side bank of the river.Once you get off the boat the walk by the river to the entrance of the Wat is quite pleasant. Opening hours are from 830am to 5pm and there is an entrance fee of 50BHT.4 smaller towers are found standing around the tall central tower, and steep set of staircases are found on the sides of the central tower giving you access to the first 2 levels. I admit i was a little scared at first when i started climbing the first set of staircases, but once i saw the view from the temple across the river to the other side of the city i had no doubt about climbing to the second ring. BE CAREFUL! The steps are narrow and steep ... nothing to be scared about but hold on tight to the metal bar you will find on the sides and make you way up at an easy pace (dont feel rushed by other tourists).My instict proved me right! Views from the second balcony ring are breathtaking. Walk around the complete diameter of the balcony as the views range completely and you will have plenty of photo opportunities. You will be able to visualize the Grand Palace as well as Wat Pho from a completely different angle.Also take some time in admiring the decoration of the structure.The tower is surrounded by rows of demons and monkeys that give you the impression that they are supporting the same with their arms and legs.Thousands of multicoloured chinese porcelain pieces have been used for decoration, generating a unique and incredible style. It is said that this form of decoration was used to recycle broken ceramics that came from Chinese merchant ships.It is also said that the temple is an architectural representation of Mount Meru (center of the world in Buddhist cosmology).The climb down will seem more difficult that the climb up. I was able to walk down by gripping myself strongly from the metalic bar on the sides, but did see that other people found it more convenient to sit down and slide from one step to the other also gripping hard to the side bars. I was the only one in my family that decided to make the climb and am so happy i did ... Dont miss ... this is a definate MUST!
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