Friday, May 6, 2011

Exploring Wat Arun

My last day in Bangkok was a fantastic day.  It started out as one of the haziest days, but the sun burned off the morning haze and the sky became clear and blue, with dramatic white thunderclouds in the distance.  Of course it was still hot and humid, but being near the Chao Phraya river felt cooler than it usually does when one is walking around in the middle of the city.  We took the subway to the Skytrain and walked from there to the river.  There are tourist boats that will take you up the river, stopping at each major attraction, but we just rode the regular river taxi up the river to Wat Arun.  The "Temple of the Dawn", as it is also called, did not disappoint.  I won't spend too much time telling you about the Wat Arun, because there is already so much written about it on the web.  If you want to know a little more about it, you can visit wikipedia here

The thing that sticks out in my jet-lagged mind the most about Wat Arun are the steep stairs that you can climb up the main prang (tower).  If you have any kind of fear of heights, my advice is to forgo the stairs and simply look up.  Actually, the first tier of stairs is not as tinglingly steep as the second tier.  But that second tier...  watch out!  Not only are they incredibly steep, but also the risers are taller than most stairs.  Going up wasn't TOO bad, but coming down involved hanging on to the railing with both hands, for me.  (M had no such trouble, but then his legs are almost a foot longer than mine.)
Looking down from the first tier of stairs.
I swear it is steeper in person.
If you thought the stairs were spooky, your toes will tingle even MORE when you see the tiny ladder that starts above the second tier of stairs and continues up to the top of the prang.  I am not sure who climbs this ladder - if it is used to maintain the prang or as some kind of religious test or ritual, but there is no doubt that it would nerve to climb it.  A small part of me wanted to see if I could climb it. 

The other aspect of Wat Arun that sticks out in my memory is the mosaic.  The temple is covered in bits of Chinese porcelain.   Apparently, Chinese ships used porcelain as ballast, so this was a way to use the tons of porcelain that found its way to Bangkok from these ships.

Some other sights of the Wat:
I took so many photos on my last day - I had trouble choosing only a few for today's post.  I will try to write a few more times about my Bangkok visit.  It was a good trip, and of course leaving M there was not fun at all.  However, there was a certain fuzzy dog who was incredibly happy to see me, and I do have an art career to get back to.  I will be making my way slowly back to Joshua Tree, once I have recovered from this jet lag.  Have a great weekend, my dear blog readers.


Paula said...

Wonderful posts on your trip ...we will be glad to see you. Love, Paula

Marjorie said...

What great pictures! Interesting story about the china that makes up the mosaics.

Patty said...

Oh Karine! Your photos are amazing. Modern churches pale in comparison to this amazing temple. Stay well and rest up my friend.

formatie nunta said...

Wonderful pictures, seems that it was a great trip. I was in Bangkok 2 years ago and i was impressed, it is a grea city for sure.