There are so many interesting things to see in Bangkok, one of which are the many different temples. Last weekend we decided we would go see Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. It took us over an hour to get there by using the BTS and a river boat. The river boat was a little scary because they crammed so many people on, it almost reminded me of the ferries you hear about in other countries that force so many people on they end up capsizing… Anyway back to the history lesson!
A “wat”, the thai term for a temple, is a religious building surrounded by a wall. I have read that there are over 31,000 Buddhist temples in Thailand! It’s like I am sort of in the Bible Belt, in the sense you can’t throw a stone without hitting another wat! Wat Arun can be seen from the river and it is amazing. This temple is the “architectural representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. In the mythology of Tibetan Buddhism, Mount Meru is a place that simultaneously represents the center of the universe and the single-pointedness of mind sought by adepts. Thousands of miles in height, Meru is located somewhere beyond the physical plane of reality, in a realm of perfection and transcendence. The four-corner prang of Wat Arun, which house images of the guardian gods of the four directions, reinforces this mystical symbolism.” Wat Arun Website
Once we arrive at Wat Arun we discover you can climb the temple! Luckily Pai wanted to go with us to see the temple so she stayed with Killian on the ground and Chris and I were both able to have the experience of climbing Wat Arun! It is hundreds of feet in the air and once at the top (or the farthest they will let tourists go) you have an amazing view of the Bangkok and the river. I love being in other countries because they allow you to explore at your own risk! In the United States they have ropes and warning signed everywhere and you can never really see up close what you have traveled so far to see but like in Ireland, who will let you hang off the side of the cliff with nothing to hold you back, Thailand allows you to get up close and personal with their temples and City!
Warning for the ladies: When visiting the smaller temples and it comes time for you to use the restroom look for the little lady that is near the door selling you individual squares of toilet paper. I kid you not. I found out the hard way and asked Pai when I came out “what’s up? Why is there no tissue in the bathroom?” She says “o so sorry! I forgot to tell you!” She pulls out her own tissue from her purse and said “you bring your own or you buy!” That’s when I see the little lady slowly taking apart the two ply paper and making it into one ply toilet paper and breaking off each square, one at a time, and placing them into a neat little stack to sell. (I wish I was making this up….)
Below are some pictures of Wat Arun (better pictures to come once I have my computer), I would definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in Bangkok but bring your own toilet paper!