On our first visit to Bangkok some years ago we purchased a beautiful little line drawing of Wat Arun.
We’ve had it hanging at home ever since, and still enjoy it as much now as the day we bought it from an art students exhibition.
We’ve chugged up and down past the real Wat Arun on the banks of the Chao Phraya river many times now but not made the effort to stop and have a closer look, today we did.
Also known as the “Temple of the Dawn” it’s on the “wrong” side of the river, opposite all the main palaces and other temples. Quite easy to get to though, stop 8 on the river ferry, then onto a local punt that will take you across.
The main feature is its central tower which is encrusted with colorful seashells and bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.
Using porcelain from China isn’t as extravagant as it might sound. In the early days of Bangkok, Chinese trading ships calling into the capital used tons of porcelain as ballast. The temple is just an early example of the Thai approach to “recycling.”
The central spire is around 80 meters high and possible to climb if you feel that way inclined, it’s very very steep but the views of the river are pretty good.
It’s a nice spot the while away a couple of hours, the grounds are beautiful, with well manicured gardens and a few coffee shops to fill in the time and do a spot of people watching.