Wat Arun is one of the nicer temples in Bangkok
Granted I was having a bad day up until now. But things got better when I learned that the entry to Wat Arun was only about $1.50. Better yet, there was no one collecting tickets, so no charge.
Late afternoon also meant that the heaving tours had already left. I didn’t know where to, nor did I care. Wat Arun was virtually deserted. The only people around seemed to be a couple of locals. It doesn’t get any better than that for visiting a temple.
Some Wat Arun history
Nicknamed “temple of the dawn” due to the early morning light reflecting off the wat’s seashells and porcelain decoration I wondered if this is why it was so empty in the afternoon.
Built in 1809 the temple is made up of 5 pillars. Four smaller pillars squarely surrounding a 66 meter center pillar. All of which you can climb.
Apparently the porcelain that decorates Wat Arun came from old Chinese boats from the era of high trade between the two countries.
Wat Arun’s full name is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan.
The Thai photographer at Wat Arun
Put a group of tourists together and send them into a site, and they’ll come out just as they went in.
Go in alone, and there’s a good chance you’ll come out with something new.
In my case I met a Thai photographer precariously perched on one of the Wats pillars. I joked if it was really worth the effort to take a photo like that.
Turns out his wife studies masonry and he’d spotted something interesting. He showed me the photo. A small decorative piece. Then he laughed and said that if he was not married he wouldn’t have gone to the trouble.
Two cultures one bond
Right then and there was an old age virtue of two men from different cultures agreeing about the pain endured in trying to please a woman without her even knowing about it.
We laughed at this and climbed around the wat some more. Neither of us really caring what we photographed, so long as it looked good to us.
Bangkok is not Thailand yet both invade each other
I actually like talking with Thai people. So long as they are not apart of a service industry. Which is also true of just about any nationality.
So far, the reality is the only thing I don’t really like about Bangkok are the tourists here. It seems this prosperous industry has led Bangkok into a city of different worlds.
I see multi-culture here, but I see it more as a necessary evil rather than for the sake of culture.
And, I don’t get the feeling that I do in say Kuala Lumpur where there are serious race issues beneath the surface of multiculture (read more about multicultural problems in West Malaysia).
I do however think, that without money, Bangkok would not nearly be as nice a place to stay.
I wonder too about the rest of Thailand when it comes to tourism. Is it the same mentality. The same mad rush of tourists. And, are all these tourists quite happy taking tours and mini vans rather than make their own way.
Maybe I am just old school. Or maybe I have seen and experienced all this already, so nothing really is new to me here.
My Bangkok conclusion
I’ve been to enough countries and places to know not to judge a place by first impressions. But, I’m also experienced enough to know my gut feeling. Bangkok is not home. But, it can be a useful stepping stone.
I don’t like, nor dislike Bangkok
So I leave Bangkok knowing that I will be back. Only next time it will be on my terms. This is what happens when one door on this search closes and another opens.
Planes or trains? … rolling back some time …
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