Wat Arun was built sometime in the early 1600’s, during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, predating both the Grand Palace and Wat Pho on the other side of the river. Before arriving in Bangkok, I had heard the name, but hadn’t really given it much thought as a place to visit. However, we signed up for an afternoon tour of the floating markets, so have the morning free to explore. Might as well check it out!
Due to a bit of a time crunch, we elect to take a tuk tuk across the river to the temple instead of waiting for the ferry. While extremely convenient and great for avoiding the terrible Bangkok traffic, the ferries are on a set time schedule, so if you’re short on time, sometimes it is quicker to take a taxi or tuk tuk.
Entry is 50 Bhat (around $1.50). We purchase our tickets and head in. It’s so elaborately decorated, I can’t imagine the level of detail that went into constructing this place.
The pedals of this flower look like they were made from pieces of china. While ubiquitous on European and American tea cups and saucers, this porcelain was actually made in China and used as ballast in boats that would dock here. It’s crazy to think of something so beautiful being used for something so mundane.
Yep, we’re going to climb those stairs. I’m not at all afraid of heights, but the steepness of these stairs does have me worried about my general klutziness (I fall while standing still) and potentially tripping and rolling all the way back down. Feet don’t fail me now!
Adrienne is smiling, but inside she’s thinking, “Seriously, stairs?!”.
But the views up here are totally worth it. We can see the Grand Palace we visited yesterday.
As well as Wat Pho.
This city seems to go on forever. I’ve been a lot of places in the world, but Bangkok seems like the biggest city I’ve ever seen.
Ok, time to head back down. I’m not sure if this is easier or harder than going up. I send up another prayer that I don’t trip and fall, and slowly make my way down.
Funny story. Right before I took the above picture, a couple kids were running up and down the stairs. My old lifeguard instincts kicked in and I almost yelled at them to WALK. I managed to restrain myself, but if there ever was a time to walk, this seems like it would be it!
Back on solid ground, we continue to wander around the site. It’s nice to travel with someone who loves to take pictures almost as much as I do. I don’t feel too much like I’m slowing her down!
Also located on the grounds is an Ordination Hall guarded by demons. It was designed by King Rama II.
We spend about 2 hours here, even though there isn’t a large number of things to see. It’s just so beautiful and the views from above are definitely worth the sketchy climb to the top. If you are feeling motivated and short on time, you could probably see Wat Arun as well as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho all in one day as they are located very close to each other. I’m glad we broke it up over two. We even have enough time to take the ferry back to our hotel to catch our tour to the markets this afternoon!