I think everyone who is visiting Bangkok would never miss this place, Wat Arun and Wat Pho, since it is so famous beyond tourist. It’s like if you haven’t go to Wat Arun, you haven’t go to Bangkok. I also feel the same. When I finally arrived in Bangkok, visiting Wat Arun and Wat Pho was on my list. To find Wat Arun by public transportation wasn’t a really good idea for me that time. I was a bit unwell and taxi was a good choice, so I take taxi to reaching Wat Arun. It wasn’t that expensive compared to taxi in Jakarta, only less cheaper. I paid around 120 bath (approximately 4 usd).
Then to enter Wat Arun (the highest building called as Central Prang), I need to pay 50 bath/person. There is no guide nor map provided. Some of the temples also had renovation but the main temple still open for public. First interesting places you see before going inside Wat Arun, is one temple that looking so beautifully. There are also some small temples surrounding where you can explore.
After finished wandering for a while, I went inside the Wat Arun area and try my guts to climb upstairs of the temple. Wat Arun is famous among the best known of another Thailand’s landmark. The step is so narrow and when I was arrived on the top, it was so windy so I feel so nervous and never want to remove my hands from the wall or the iron handle surround the temple. I saw many people also feel so nervous. Especially when we need to go down. Sweating comes from my hands and my feet shaking. The best advice I can tell you is to not see directly to the ground. It was really a nice view to see the view of the city from far sight. But if you see directly to the ground, your feet will be terrible shaking and you will feel that you are going down even you are still standing.
These narrow and steep stairs make the most of us so nervous and terrible shaking while going down.
I wonder why hundred years ago people build a narrow temple as Wat Arun, what is the purpose? Weren’t they worry they can slip the walk and falling down terribly? The temple itself called as Temple of the Dawn and named Wat (Temple in Thai) Arun because taken from the Indian God named Aruna. God of the dawn – that’s why also it called as temple of the dawn. Consider it’s name, maybe the best time to visit this temple is on early morning. Since when I was there already in a mid day, I couldn’t really take good pictures since it was always back light. The temple also very beautiful with multi coloured Chinese porcelain cover all the walls. Very impressive building and eye catching. Later on I learned, wat (temple) in Thailand mostly really eye catching style with the Khmer style tower.
For me, this statues really spooky…
After going down from the top of Wat Arun, I am walking around the area and find a lady who offered a photo shoot with Thailand traditional dress. It was looking so fun for me, also I love to collected me wearing traditional dress in places I visit. So I give it a try. It cost 100 bath, if you have more budget, it’s ok to do, I think. Only a bit ridiculous because they will help you to wear the dress like a robot, then the one who taking the pictures is a kid, which smaller than me so all the pictures look like I am fat in upper side. Haha. But it was ok, at least I have one pictures that I am looking acceptable.
There are so many places to see as well in Wat Arun that worth to visit. For instance a beautiful white building which is an Ordination Hall. I have a look inside and it was a beautiful wall inside, full cover with painting. Some people asked blessing from Monk there. After finished with Wat Arun, I am trying to find the public port, where I can take the public boat to cross the Chao Phraya river. It cost only 3 bath. So cheap! And you can experienced crossing the muddy Chao Phraya river. For private boat, you need to pay around 30 bath to every stop you make. I don’t know how much you need to pay in the beginning. 3 bath is really better option. Then from the port, I took a walk for a while until I arrive in Wat Pho.
It might be better to go to Wat Pho in weekdays rather than weekend. So many people in the temple! We need to pay 100 bath to enter the temple and take off our shoes/sandals and put that in a small bag and return it after we finished visiting the temple. Inside of Wat Pho is the huge golden reclining Buddha. Reclining is the symbol of achieving Nirvana. It was a bit difficult to get a beautiful pictures with such a giant Buddha is small place with lots of people. But it was interesting to see. On Buddha’s feet, you can see the painting which are different with ones I saw in Sri Lanka. It is a Buddhist enlightenment in Chinese and Indian style.
Welcome to Wat Pho on the weekend!
There is two category of Reclining Buddha figure. If he still open his eyes, means he is still teaching before entering Nirvana. Then if he close his eyes already, means Buddha already finished everything in life and entering Nirvana. Wat Pho also famous as Thailand’s first university and also the center of traditional Thai massage, that’s why you can see in certain walls, there are some human body drawing.
As I can see from the information, you can visit the 9 Wonders of Wat Pho :
- Phra Buddhasaiyas ; The Reclining Buddha
- Satellite Pavillions ; The Library of Thai massage
- Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn ; The group of 4 huge pagodas
- The Legend of Songkran
- The World Heritage Inscription
- Wat Pho Giants
- Sala Karn Parien ; Main chapel of Wat Phodharam
- Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn ; Another main chapel
- Contorted Hermit Mount ; Center of medical science and knowledge from Ayutthaya period
If you love old building, temple and history, definitely you have to visited this beautiful places. I enjoyed wandering around Wat Arun and Wat Pho rather than wandering to another mall in Bangkok. I mean, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, that’s just so Thailand!
Happy enjoying Bangkok!