Tuesday, 26 January 2010

WAT ARUN, THAILAND

I wanted to go to Wat Arun last year but was annoyed with our private driver. He took my traveling partner and me to the pier and said we could cross it with a private boat. Cost of a private boat was 2,500 Bath, which was roughly around US85. Duration to cross the Chao Phraya river - 3 minutes and another half hour to cruise along the banks. I didn't take up the offer as I found the price way too expensive. This year, we had our private driver as usual but I specifically told him that we wanted to travel like the locals, travel like the Thais as no locals will pay USD85 for a 3 minutes boat ride to Wat Arun or anywhere in Thailand - only foreigners paid such fees.

Our destination - Wat Arun or The Temple of Dawn, one of the most photographed temple in Bangkok, seen here before the crossing.


No private boat complete with tone down tasteless tomyum for lunch, because that was what I was offered last year. Fancy trappings come with huge price but I like traveling like a local.



No nice pier but the price of crossing the river - 3Bath, or about USD00.10!! Hello, 0.10 cents and 85 bucks is not small difference and you get across the river safely, I think. The boats were full all the time but we they came on time and frequently, so for 3Bath - I am not complaining. Maybe our driver wasn't so happy but he did what we wanted. Guides do take you to the most expensive places in Bangkok in return for commissions or fuel/food coupons. After going there so many times, I was very specific on every locations and NO meandering into alleys which lead to unwanted souvenirs or jewelery shops.


Upon arriving Wat Arun, my friend wanted to take some pictures of herself in a full Thai costume complete with headgear. Asking price 3,000 Bath, but she only paid 1,000 Bath...so everything can be bargained..if you are up to it. However, I don't think Pat can do this, the bargaining part. Take me Pat next time, you'll just need to feed me :) That said, I still could not bargain as good as my traveling partners, they seemed to be born to bargain at outrageous prices - and get away with it all the time.


At one of the entrance to Wat Arun.


Upon entering Wat Arun, we saw the elongated prang , which are well known in Thailand and Cambodia. 'Prang' signifies mount or towers, used widely in Hindu mythology. This temple was built as a representation of Mount Meru, the centre of the world in Buddhist cosmology.


In this picture (bottom right), people climbing the stairs.


The word Arun comes from Aruna, the Indian God of dawn, and this temple is a major attraction on the river side of Thonburi.



Many people climbed to the top but I skipped that. You practically had to climb cum crawl up and down. Very similar to climbing the temples in Cambodia. They are very steep and can be dangereous.


The temple is covered with bits of porcelain used as ballast from boats traveling between China and Thailand. It also signify the trademark of King Rama 111 architecture style.


Close up of the porcelain. I was amazed again at how they did it all by hand where building the Wat Arun started at year 1809.




Leaving Wat Arun, view from boat.


While walking back to our car, we saw plenty of street food. I am sure they would taste yummy though I often stay away from street food in Bangkok, always concern about what's inside and most hawkers speak very little or hardly English.



Dried fish, widely eaten here and Malaysia also - especially for porridge.


Finally, tuk tuks are not just for transporting people as seen here.


We saw the King Bhumidol Adulyadej pictures everywhere, offices, malls, shopping centres and here on the street. He has been King of Thailand since 9th June 1946, making him the world's longest reigning current monarch.


If you are here, you will see red everywhere. Chinese New Year is around the corner, loud and noisy Chinese New Year songs blasting everywhere. Everyone is on a shopping frenzy and I am going to Chinatown today. It's been ages since I have been there but after much persuasion from my mom, I promised I will take her. It would be interesting to see Chinatown during this time.

Let's blog about Bangkok's night life the next time :)


Have a fab week ahead everyone!