Bangkok’s old quarter is home to the three biggest tourist attractions in the city, Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn, Wat pho, home to the famous reclining Buddha and the Royal Palace.All are a short walk or boat ride away. They all make for a great day of sightseeing. Tip arrive really early to fully enjoy and wear long pants if you want to enter the palace and its grounds.
Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn
Wat Arun located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river was our favourite place even though it is currently under restoration, there were fewer people which made it easier to walk around and look closely at the rising Phra Prang which is 80 metres high. The stairs are steep and would offer fantastic views over the river towards the palace and Wat Pho but because of the restoration you could only climb to The first tier.
Wat Arun at night
Facts about Wat Arun
What is interesting about the temple is that it is covered in broken porcelain which makes for an unusual surface. Wat Arun also known as the Temple of Dawn gets its name from the Hindhu deity Aruna, the God of Dawn.
Entrance to the temple is only 50 baht and when you are finished looking around you can cross the river for 5 baht from the river ferry docked at the pier outside to take you to the other side where Wat Pho and the Royal Palace are located.
Wat Pho and the reclining Buddha
For many Wat Pho and the 45 meter gold reclining Buddha is the highlight of their trip to Bangkok and this is what we were looking forward to the most. Maybe it was the time of the day which we were there but As I stood and watched people I wondered how anyone could ever get a photo of the length of the Buddha. I never tried.
I did think that this would be great to see without the people to look at the golden coils, the shimmering body and scripture written on the souls of its feet.
On the other side you can hear the clanging sounds as people drop coins in each of the 108 bowls which will give good luck and a long life to that person.
Feet of the Reclining Buddha
Facts about Wat Pho
What is interesting about the temple is that it is the oldest temple in Bangkok. It displays over 1000 Buddhist images mostly from Ayutthaya.
It also has the oldest and most famous traditional massage school in Bangkok with prices starting from 260 baht.
Wat Pho is open from 8:30-18:30 each day and costs 100 yen admission.
Next to Wat Pho, you will find the Royal Palace if anyone stops you to say that it is closed then this is a scam so they can get you on a tuktuk and take you around some shops that will rip you off. I had read this on the internet but did not actually witness this first hand.
The Royal Palace is open every day and the king visits every year. The revered Buddha temple of the small intricately carved jade Buddha head also has a place here.
Facts about the Royal Palace
Most Thai visit at least once in their life time. The Royal family is loved in Thailand and you can be jailed for disrespecting the king and the Royal family.
The Royal Palace has a strict dress code and if your shoulders are not covered or your pants are not longer than your knees then you will not be allowed entrance. We actually did not enter as Rei was wearing shorts as we had forgotten to pack long pants for him.
While it cost 500 baht for foreigners to enter it is free for Thai Nationals.The Royal Palace is open every day from 8:30-3:30.
From here be prepared to barter for a taxi back to your hotel as we did not find one that would use a meter. The first taxi we tried wanted us to pay 500 baht and wouldn’t budge his price. Of course we jumped out. In the end we got a taxi for 200 baht. We knew the price back to the hotel was 100 baht but since the taxi was much cheaper than what we would pay in Japan then we were satisfied to pay this price.
People often worry about being ripped off but really are you even though you are paying more than a local but much less than you would at home.That makes for an interesting post which I think we will blog about in the future.
Have you been to the old quarters of Bangkok? What do you think of this area?