Wat Arun was one of those temples I saw in the guide book and I knew that I had to visit. I was intrigued by the look of the temple, which I now know is done in the Khmer style (a la Angkor Wat), and I wanted to climb to the top to see the incredible views of Bangkok from the top.
I honestly was not impressed with Bangkok the first day we were there. The traffic was overwhelming, the city was huge and modern, and while the Grand Palace was gold and opulent it just was not what I was expecting. After a day though I was able to come to grips with the city more and was up for more exploring. Wat Arun was on the top of my list and it was the first thing we saw our third day in Bangkok after a dish of Pad Thai across the river. The view of the temple was imposing as we stepped onto the rickety dock which led us to the temple.
The first set of steps up Wat Arun are deceptively easy but as you look up you can see the increasing steepness of the steps to climb to the top of the temple of the rising sun. Wat Arun is named after the Hindu god Aruna who is represented as the rays of the rising sun. I like that Buddha was just serenely watching on as we sweated and hauled our asses up the temple. The temple was so high that Christopher, my best friend and terrified of heights, did not accompany Alex and I.
Once you reach the top of Wat Arun, the central prang, you can see the ladders that reach to the very top of the temple which symbolizes Mount Meru, the center of all physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes. We clearly were not on the right path to be able to reach the center of all universes.
Unfortunately once you go up you have to go back down and my skirt did not want to cooperate with allowing me to head back down easily. So beware if there is even a bit of a breeze and you are wearing a skirt it will not be easy to climb back down these insanely steep steps.
Wat Arun is a temple that was definitely worth the entrance fee and I am glad that we paid it. It helped change my view (literally) of the city and I learned a very important lesson, do not wear a loose wavy skirt when you decide to climb a very steep temple even if it does cover your knees.
Ahh the things you learn in Asia….. Have you been to Bangkok? What are your thoughts on the city and Wat Arun?