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Exciting Bangkok

The Temple of Dawn, or the locals called it Wat Arun, is a Khmer-style Buddhist temple sitting at the Thonburi  of Chao Phraya River. The temple is also one of Thailand’s landmarks.

To reach the temple, we boarded the ferry and travel across the Chao Phraya River. The ferry runs every few minutes from Tha Tian (Tian Pier). Don’t expect the water of Chao Phraya River to be clear 😦  But sailing over this Bangkok major river was another very exciting experience.

wat arun

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Wat Arun sits gracefully next to Chao Praya River

The temple opens daily from 08.30 AM to 5.30 PM. The admission fee is 50 Baths. We don’t have to worry about the dress code here unless if you want to visit the Ordinary Hall.

Visitors can climb up the tower to see the view of Bangkok. I did not join my parents and my brother climbed up. Not because I’m a acrophobia or fear of heights, but because the stairs are very steep and the shoes I was wearing was slippery.

The special features of the temple is its 67m-tall grand pagoda or in Thai, called ‘prang’, decorated with broken multihued Chinese porcelains. It is surrounded by four smaller pagodas.

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How to go there:

By BTS Skytrain & Ferry:

– Take BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin (Silom Line), take exit #2 and go to Chao Phraya River Express Boat Pier. Then board a ferry heading to Tien Pier (#8). Ticket price for cross-river ferries is 3.50THB.

– Or, by public Bus No: 19 or 57 or 83, then take a cross-river ferry from Tha Tien on Thai Wang Road,

Opening Hours: 08.30-17.30 daily

Admission fee: 20THB

Website: www.watarun.org

After the Temple of Reclining Buddha or Wat Pho, our local tour brought us to the Temple of Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew. If Wat Pho is the oldest and the largest temple in the city, Wat Phra Kaew is the most sacred temple. The temple was located inside the Grand Palace in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok, also known as the Old City. They are must-go tourist destinations in Bangkok.

The place opens from 8.30AM – 3.30PM. If you are not together with a tour, it’s good to reach here early. Since it is a top tourist destination, it always crowded. The entrance fee is THB350 (this was in 2011). Personal audio guides in English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese or Mandarin, are also available for rent at THB100.

The crowd that visit the Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha are increasing every hour

The crowds that visit the Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha are increasing every hour

If you who were to visit temples and the Grand Palace, it’s better to wear a proper attire (no shorts, mini skirts, tights or sleeveless shirts). Visitors were not to expose any skin, including arms, lower legs and toes. Visitors who dressed inappropriately required to rent suitable clothing. My brother wore a shorts and had to rent a long pants before entering the palace.

Despite its function as a sacred place for people to pray, the number of tourists who payed a visit here is bigger. All I could hear here were the sounds of the microphone of the tour guides buzzing everywhere.

The architecture inside the compound was what amazed me. You could see Thailand everywhere. We saw the gold plated stupa roof which is also the trademark features of Thai building. Because of the crowd, it took sometime to move. Because of the distinct colourful stupas and building, people were busy taking pictures. I was not surprised that we had to take turns to take photos in some favourite spots.

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Inside the temple compound

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The main chamber where the Emerald Buddha was placed, was guarded. Visitors were to keep noise down to respect the people who came to pray. Unfortunately, no photo-taking were allowed here (if you are curious about how the Emerald Buddha looks like, I’m sure you can find it online)

Just like its name, Emerald Buddha was made of jade. It was believed to be originated from Sri Lanka and this Buddha image was so important that only the King himself is allowed to touch it. The King changed the image’s robes in three times a year in the hope for good fortune.

After our visit to the Temple of Emerald Buddha, we headed to the main part of the Grand Palace. It is the area where the most important residential and state buildings are located. The most recognisable building in the Grand Palace was, Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall. The architectural style is a blend of Thai and European style.

grand palace

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Notice my brother’s style-mylo rental pants?

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After touring the Grand Palace, we went out from the main entrance, the Wisetchaisri Gate. There, you can post with the stoic soldiers who guard the palace and stand rigidly with bayonets fixed, just as with the famous London Beefeaters!

How to go there:

– By public bus: No 8, No 12
– By boat: Chao Phraya River Express (disembark at Tha Chang)

Open: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Admission fee: 200THB for foreigners; Free admission for locals

This whole Bangkok trip was done in 2011. I know it’s 2014 and in 3 years times, the city would have done changes here and there. But sharing it here is always a better option than just keeping it as a storage in my drive.

It was my first time visiting the capital of Thailand and I did the trip with my close ones, my  parents and brother. It was a 4D3N trip… Considering we were strangers to the city, taking a one-day local tour was a good decision.

The tour started early in the morning. We were picked up from our hotel, Novotel at Siam Square, at around 7AM. Our tour guide was a local who is fluent in Indonesian language. Please be considerate  for me not being able to recall his name… It was 3 years ago and I’m not good in memorising names.

The famous site we visited was the Temple of Reclining Buddha, or Wat Pho, Wat Phra Chetuphon. It  is also the oldest and the largest temple in Bangkok. The statue is not the only Buddha image, in fact there are thousands of Buddha images in the temple. Walking into the compound of the temple, visitors will see stupas or chedis.

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Finally, we reached the Reclining Buddha. It was huge!  The statue is 150 ft long and 49 ft high. It is indeed the largest Buddha in Thailand. After struggling to find the best angle to fit into my camera screen, this is how it looks like.

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After struggling to get the best photo…

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The close-up of the Buddha’s head

Along the corridor, bronze bowls are placed. There are 108 bowls in total indicating the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. People usually drop coins in these bowls as it is believed to bring good fortune and also to help the monks maintain the temple.

Though there will be a lot visitors, but inside the Buddha statue hall is serene. It’s expected visitors to respect the people who come here to pray.

How to go there:

– Public Bus: 1, 3, 12, 25,44, 47, 53, 60, 82, 91, 501, 508

– Opening Hours: 8:30 am – 6:00 pm daily

Admission: 50THB for foreigners; Free admission for locals

– Websitewww.watpho.com

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