By Cacinda Maloney
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Bangkok is the Temple of Dawn, also known as Wat Arun. I would say this is a “don’t miss” stop along your ride down the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
It is a Buddhist temple that is personified as the radiation of the rising sun. It has a symmetrical design featuring a central prang or tower and four large prangs surrounding it.
The main feature is the central tower with its encrusted porcelain, which I personally find fascinating.
Take a look here at a close up of the porcelain:
As a child, my parents collected porcelain from the 1800’s England, so I saw a lot of different styles of porcelain. The mosaic patterns and the fact that they are still quite intact are a wonder within themselves.
You can climb the central tower, if you wish, however the steps are very steep, but there is a railing to balance yourself. Apparently, the stairs represent the challenge that Buddhists face reaching Nirvana in the Buddhist religion. Getting up there is as tricky as getting down! I went about half way up and took some photos, here is a shot looking up those stairs.
Guarding the temple from ground level are these stone Chinese warriors. These cute, proud and stern looking warriors have stood watch over Wat Arun for over 100 years.
To get here: Wat Arun is almost directly opposite Wat Pho, so it is very easy to get to. From Sapphan Taksin boat pier you can take a river boat that stops at pier 8. From here a small shuttle boat takes you from one side of the river to the other for only 3 baht. Entry to the temple is 100 baht. The temple is open daily from 08:30 to 17:30.
Disclosure: My trip to Bangkok, Thailand was provided by Thai Airways, in conjunction with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.