Bangkok, Thailand




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Other Temples

Wat Arun
34 Arun-Amarin Rd, Bangkok Yai, Thonburi (take the cross-river ferry from Tha Tien Pier). Opening: daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wat Arun (also known as the Temple of Dawn) is located on the other side of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi. The temple is easily accessed by taking a 3 baht ferry trip from the Tha Tien Pier on the Rattanakosin side of the river (near Wat Pho). The temple has a distinctive large prang (tower like spire), intricately inlaid with Chinese white broken porcelain. At 88 metres, it was the tallest structure in Bangkok until the advent of the modern skyscraper and today one of Bangkok's best known landmarks.

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Wat Arun by Neitram

Wat Ratchabophit
2 Fuang Nakhon Rd (Tha Tien Pier). Opening: daily from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Built by King Rama V in 1869, it was constructed to keep up with the tradition that each newly-appointed monarch erect a temple to mark his reign. The temple is a mixture of local and Western styles, as the exterior of the chapel is in Thai style but interior copies the regal style of European monarchies. A major feature of this wat is the Royal Mausoleum on the west side of the temple grounds, which includes four white memorials in which the ashes of the four Queens of King Rama V are interred.

Wat Ratchanaddaram
2 Maha Chai Rd (Panfa Leelard Pier). Opening: daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wat Ratchanaddaram is a temple compound built by order of King Rama III in 1846. Its main structure called Loh Prasat (Thai for metal castle) is easily spotted as its spires are of black iron and not the usual glittery gold. The wat is a five-story gleaming white structure with rows of Buddha statues. The 37 metal spires signify the 37 virtues towards enlightenment and at night, the square around it is beautifully illuminated.

Wat Saket & the Golden Mount
Boriphat Rd (Panfa Leelard Pier). Opening: daily from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wat Saket was built outside of the former city walls in the late 18th century during the reign of King Rama I. It served as the capital's crematorium and throughout the next century became the dumping ground of over 60,000 plague victims who were too poor to afford a funeral. Wat Saket's major feature is the Golden Mount, built on artificial hill dating back to the early 19th century. A spiral staircase of 318 steps leads from the ground to a terrace and shrine room - the Buddha's relics are housed in a gold-leaf-covered shrine at the centre of the room. Note that while the shrine itself is an ancient structure that creates an atmosphere worthy of respect, the area just below is more akin to a tacky fairground than one that leads to one of the nation's most sacred sites.

Golden Mount by Globetrotter

Wat Ratchapradit
Rachini Rd (Tha Tien Pier, next to Saranrom Park). Opening: daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
This quiet and modest wat is a nice get-away from the busy street. The ground of the wat used to be a royal coffee plantation during the reign of King Rama III.  King Rama IV bought the plantation and had a small temple constructed here in 1864. There are mural paintings inside the Royal Image Hall (Phra Wihan Luang) depicting royal ceremonies. There are some interesting artifacts including some of King Rama IV's ashes interred at the base of the Buddha. There are also gifts King Rama IV received during his reigned including French floor and ceiling lamps, English street lamps and a German clock that is still ticking.

Wat Thep Thida Ram
Maha Chai Rd (Panfa Leelard Pier, south of Wat Ratchanaddaram). Opening: daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The temple was built in 1836, during the reign of King Rama III. Like other temples from the third reign, it has a Thai layout but combined with a mixture of Chinese architectural designs. The gables are decorated with Chinese porcelain pieces and there are Chinese statues all over the complex. Sunthon Phu, one of Thailand's greatest poets, resided in this temple during his monkhood in the early 1840s. The quarters where he spent three years of his life are preserved at the rear of the compound. In 1986, UNESCO declared Sunthon Phu one of the world's greatest poets.

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