Of the many temples in Bangkok a special place goes to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Bangkok cruises on the River Chao Phraya such as those offered by Anantara Cruises are an excellent way to see the sights of the Thai capital, offering a remarkable vantage point whilst traversing the waterway in luxury and comfort.
The splendid Wat Arun is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent temples in Bangkok, its majestic architecture embellished by an amazing riverside position. However it is quite unlike other temples in the Thai capital in featuring Khmer-style spires. Of these the large central spire, more than 70 m in height, has become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, often seen in images of Bangkok. The exterior of this striking spire has been attractively decorated with minute pieces of porcelain and coloured glass, placed so as to form exquisite patterns.
Agile visitors may choose to climb the exceedingly steep steps on the exterior of the central spire. From the upper terraces you will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the winding river below as well as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho on the opposite side. Lining the lowest level of this principal spire are figures of animals and soldiers.
The splendid Ordination Hall is another attraction, featuring a Buddha figure which is reputed to have been designed by a Thai monarch. The elaborate murals that may be seen within the hall are later creations, decorating the walls of the hall with great effect. As you enter this hall you will encounter a pair of guardian figures in the form of demons.
Wat Arun was initially envisaged by the Thai monarch Taksin in the 18th century. The story goes that the king, after battling his way from a Burmese force besieging the city of Ayutthaya, came to this location in the hour of dawn. In the course of time the monarch refurbished and renamed the temple that existed here.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+