My Amazing Life-Chapter 13, Wat Arun Temple of Dawn

As we boarded the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok shuttle on the Chao Phraya river, my curiosity intensified. We were on our way to see the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun. It was our first day and we had a full schedule. Tour Wat Arun. Tour a portion of the backwater khlongs. Have lunch. Tour Bangkok Chinatown. Get a massage. Inspect a hotel and eat at one of the top 50 retsaurants in the world. This was on the back of a 27 hour three-legged flight for me and about three or four hours sleep. At first it appeared huge, but a drab grey in appearance and I wasn’t sure if it was going to really enjoy the tour.

 

Photo Approaching the Temple of Dawn

Photo Approaching the Temple of Dawn

 

As we disembarked and walked toward the Temple of Dawn, named from the morning light reflecting off the Temple, I began to change my impression. It’s a magnificent architectural structure in my humble opinion and one cannot visit Bangkok without devoting an hour or so to strolling through it’s grounds. It has so many various segments, stone statues and ornate trimmings that I couldn’t stop taking photos. I was simply shocked by the close up appeal, after viewing what I thought would be a drab Temple from far away. I was not prepared for what it contained.

 

Central Prang of Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

Central Prang of Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

 

As you enter the Ordination Hall is off to the side and is a remarkable structure in design and appearance. You can’t help but go that direction first and investigate what lies inside the gorgeous building.

 

Ordination Hall

Ordination Hall

 

Walking toward the Ordination Hall you pass this portrait of the King of Thailand and several more. I am curious though since the government overthrow has transpired, if any of these portaits remain, were defaced or if they were removed to avoid damage. If you have been since the coup please leave a comment below and let us know. Sawadee!

 

Before the Coup

Before the Coup

 

Rounding the corner and heading towards the Ordination Hall you are met with this rather imposing set of guardian figures, ornately decorated with vivid colors, unique accessories and elaborate adornments of a warrior genre. I was hypnotized by these majestic figures. They towered over the visitors attending and I took way too many photos trying to capture the demeanor of the imperial sentinels, as they watched over all that entered. I truly hope in some small way, I was successful.

 

Yaksha Guardian Figures at the Entrance of Ordination Hall

Yaksha Guardian Figures at the Entrance of Ordination Hall

 

As I grew closer and scanned the apex of the entry I again was mesmerized by the architecture and how detailed the design was. I will have to become more of a historian and be able to interpret the symbolism behind all the various trim and palatial work. Thailand has over 31,200 Temples and I was just beginning to realize the talent behind their construction.

 

Ornate Top of Entrance to the Ordination Hall

Ornate Top of Entrance to the Ordination Hall

 

Throughout the grounds I came across various and sundry stone statues, figurines and artistic structures that were stunning to view and diverse in design, purpose and placement. Again I took photos of what seemed hundreds of stone characters and had to limit my inclusion in this post to the more distinctive, at least in my opinion. I sincerely hope you enjoy the photos, but highly recommend a visit if given the chance. I would not want to tangle with this individual in real life.

 

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

 

Nor would I have any inkling to become combative around this individual in real life. Although he is immobile in his present form I am positive he would do severe damage to my body if we engaged in some type of duel or combat.

 

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

 

“A covered passageway, phra rabiengkote, lines the walls around the ubosot. The passage is lined with 120 Buddha statues in the sitting position. These statues were cast in the reign of King Rama II. The remains of deceased are kept in cubicles below the statues.”  This is a quote taken directly from a post on Tour Bangkok Legacies and explains the shrines below.

 

Buddhas Inside the Temple

Buddhas Inside the Temple

 

Additional stone figures are scattered throughout the grounds and some are regal in nature as compared with the warrior/guard figures at the entrance. They are both intricate and detailed in design. I was fascinated by the sheer numbers of figures and their various themes.

 

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

 

These ferocious stone carved guardians resembled dogs to me and were present right at the entrance to the Temple area. It would make sense that these sentries were positioned to announce wayward or stray people animals or evil trespassers.

 

Stone Sculptures in Wat Arun Complex

Stone Sculptures in Wat Arun Complex

 

As I approached the entry to the Temple I glanced down the side and caught this structure’s opening with two stone almost obeliscal formations. I thought it was cool the way the front structure framed the stone towers in the back of the area.

 

A Unique View On the Side of the Hall

A Unique View On the Side of the Hall

 

I removed my shoes and walked into the Temple and was completely caught off guard by the array of wall paintings, chandeliers and artwork present inside and displayed for all to view. It really was beautiful and I am afraid I didn’t capture the true essence of the shrine. I hope that you can at least partially comprehend its magnificent beauty!

 

Inside the Ordination Hall

Inside the Ordination Hall  

 

As one walks into the actual main Prang area this gentleman awaits you and the sign portrays what is acceptable dress and what is not acceptable for the ladies. It also had a directional sign for the restrooms. My bladder was about to burst, so Sammy our guide and I went and paid our $.10 to go. Ha!

 

Guardian Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

Guardian Stone Chinese Statue at Wat Arun

 

This cherubic Buddha waited outside the entrance to the large Prang greeting everyone and bringing great luck and prosperity. He gladly accepted donations to ensure your tour was favorable. The lady on the right thought it was funny that I was taking this photo and grinned at me. I would bet anything she or her boyfriend/husband took one also!

 

Laughing Buddha at Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

Laughing Buddha at Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

 

When you first see the porcelain tile applications it puzzles you, as you do not expect this decoration to be so beautiful or well defined. I was impressed at the mount of detail put into the overall structure and cannot begin to capture what it looked like in person. I am definitely not that good of a photographer. I do hope that a sampling is conveyed and you can realize the extreme work that went into the construction of this facility. The following photos are of various sections and appliques on the Prang and hopefully convey the quality of work involved.

 

Amazing Porcelain Tiles On Wat Arun

Amazing Porcelain Tiles On Wat Arun

 

 

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

 

 

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

 

 

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

Detail of the Porcelain Filled Wall of Wat Arun

 

As I turned around to leave I took this photo. I did not climb the steps past the first level and I have no idea how many steps there are, as every web site I viewed on Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn did not have this information. I Googled it and still could not find my answer. If you take a close look you can tell how steep the steps are by the way the people are holding on for dear life as the descend. I knew in that instant I was not going up to the top!

 

The Long Walk and Steps to the Top of Wat Arun

Part of The Long Walk and Steps to the Top of Wat Arun

 

At the bottom there is a traditional market filled with stalls selling every imaginable souvenir one could associate with the shrine, Thailand or its history. It was very interesting and slightly cooler than being out in the Bangkok heat and humidity!

 

Souvenir Stalls

Souvenir Stalls

 

A sample of local snacks that one could purchase. Not sure if they were healthy or not, but they were unfamiliar to me and I held back on testing anything new, as we had a wonderful dinner planned later that night At one of the to 50 restaurants in the world.

 

Snacks for Sale

Snacks for Sale

 

This stall had many wood carvings of elephants, Buddhas and other items we found at every shopping place we visited. I am not entirely sure, but I hope the “tusk carving” wasn’t real ivory. Elephants represent good luck throughout Thailand.

 

Various Souvenirs for Sale

Various Souvenirs for Sale

 

The mango stand was unique and I really wanted to buy a bag of mango to snack on, but against any concept of appetite I passed. I really, really wanted to sample it, as I love Mango. Fortunately I ate my fair share later.

 

Sliced Mangoes for Sale

Sliced Mangoes for Sale

 

This stand was selling coconut water and a few of the members our group tried it and stated that it was the best they had ever consumed.

 

Coconut Drinks for Sale; Some of Our Group Said It Was the Best Coconut Water They ever Had!

Coconut Drinks for Sale; Some of Our Group Said It Was the Best Coconut Water They ever Had!

 

 

My initial impression of Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, from a distance was so ill conceived I was embarrassed. I thought I would be bored to tears and not really interested in seeing this vast complex. It just goes to show you the best laid plans of men and mice go astray! I cannot stress enough how important it is, if you visit Bangkok you absolutely have to visit Wat Arun. The Temple of Dawn. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always, generated without any influence.

Photo of The Day #65, #NomadicTexan #Thailand #Travel #Temples

 

As you travel the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok and see Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn in the distance, you realize it is an imposing structure. The Temple has played a part of the history and culture of Thailand for centuries. As the boat docks and you disembark you have no idea what you will be exposed to when you see the Temple up close. It is am amazing feat of construction in my humble opinion and I was overcome with awe, when I saw the elements of its architecture in detail.

 

Mosaic Guardian Figures on Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

Mosaic Guardian Figures on Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

 

The exterior design is built with hundreds of thousands of mosaic tiles arranged to form themes and brings significant attention to the overall pattern and layout. I was astonished by the quantity of tiles and how they were put together to create the overall scheme. It had to take many, many years and a plethora of man-hours to complete the Temple.

 

 

If you find yourself in Bangkok and want to visit a Temple of renown significance, I highly recommend you visit Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Plan on allocating several hours, as the complex is not something you will want to rush through. More than likely it will mesmerize you and make you think about its origin and construction. In the end you will realize how absolutely beautiful the Temple is and be very glad you went!

 

 

Mosaic Trim on Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

Mosaic Trim on Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

 

 

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.

 

My Amazing Life-Chapter 9, Bangkok’s #1 Tour Guide

When we arrived in Bangkok we worn out and needed a place to sleep. We were met at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport by a smiling individual that welcomed us like old friends, even though it was midnight his time. His name is Mr. Sompol Kutapand, Tour Operation Manager for SBY Travel and he goes by Sammy.

 

He immediately made us all feel comfortable and I knew we were in good hands. Sammy gave us a brief overview of what to expect that evening and the next morning. He helped us all with our luggage and I was fortunate enough to have him in our van on the way to the hotel. He commented on sights, as we made our way and kept us awake just long enough to get to our rooms.

 

Sammy Talking About Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn

Sammy Talking About Thailand on the Way to The Amita Thai Cooking Class

 

I learned very quickly that Sammy was very organized and thorough. He was was genuinely interested in seeing us have a great time, along with receiving an education about his country. He incessantly discussed the history and facts in regard to each and every destination we were to visit.

 

I have never learned so much in my life on any other tour, in any other country. I am not sure, but I think that Sammy felt I was a kindred spirit or he was just sorry for the “Old Man” of the tour. Regardless we formed a great bond and talked alone many times.

 

Sammy talking about Wat Arun, The Yemple of Dawn on The Way

Sammy talking about Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn

 

Of course after we toured the Chao Phraya river and saw a few sites we landed at the dock for the Wat Arun tour and the morning coffee was coming through quickly. Sammy helped me locate a restroom, as the others began their tour. Always there to help me and he was always smiling and laughing about my very weak bladder! After three fabulous days in Bangkok with Temple tours, a cooking class and various shopping outings it was time to leave.

 

We caught a plane to Phuket and Sammy turned the tour over to his representative from the area. He still accompanied us and made sure we all had a great time and things were on schedule. He ensured we ate great food, took tours we would remember our entire lives and educated us on the attributes of his wonderful home country of Thailand.

 

Outside the Phuket Yacht Club Sammy poses for Me!

Outside the Phuket Yacht Club Sammy poses for Me

 

As we toured Phuket late at night after we celebrated Loy Katrong, I told Sammy I wanted a souvenir T-Shirt for my two youngest sons. It was late at night, yet Sammy was moving very fast and checking with locals. He asked everyone it seemed, where we could buy the shirts. It turned out to be too late at night.

 

Of course I had to use the restroom. I think I have the world’s smallest bladder. He quickly located one and we used the facility down some back alley. Had to pay the guy at the door roughly a dime, but it was much better than messing my jeans up!

 

Sammy Shows His US Patriotism

Sammy on The Way To James Bond Island

 

I was fortunate enough to catch an example of Sammy and his typical spiel on one of the bus rides. He was always educating us on the many facets of Thai life and his wonderful country. I really think there isn’t a better ambassador for Thailand. Thank you my friend, from the bottom of my heart. You made our trip wonderful. I learned so much from you and I want you to know that I appreciate your efforts.

 

 

 

If you find yourself heading toward Bangkok and are in need of a great tour guide, you have to look up Sammy and I guarantee he will treat you better than any other tour guide has ever treated you. His company SBY Travel is located at 402 Sukhumvit 63(EKAMAI24), Klongtonnua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. Their local number is 02-961-9160. Try them out and ask for Sammy!

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Amazing Life-Chapter 4, The Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok Review

We hit the ground at around 11:45 PM local time in Bangkok on November 13, 2013. This was after being in the air or airports for a whopping 27 hours and I was exhausted. There are times I can fall asleep quickly and there are times my body fights every effort to dose off on airplanes. I couldn’t manage more than about an hour or two’s sleep on the way to Asia. So I was eager to get to our hotel.

 

As I have written in a prior post our destination was the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Given the late hour I thought it might have been a little disorganized. I was very wrong. We arrived at the hotel and were given our keys. Our bags were taken separately and arrived approximately 5 minutes after I did. Score a 10 right off the bat! My room was awesome and was more than I anticipated.

 

King Size Bed (I loved It)

King Size Bed (I loved It) Comfy Slippers Also

 

Given it was 3:00 PM at home there was no way I could sleep, even though I gave it a valiant effort. I decided I would skip breakfast, as I knew if I slept it would only be minimal. The first morning was uneventful and I arrived slightly early and checked out the lobby. Much to my surprise there was a lobby full of beauty contestants for the Miss Grand International contest and I found out they would be there our entire stay.

 

It was kind of by coincidence, but I met Ms. Ecuador and had to have a selfie! Beautiful young lady from Quito and originally from Esmeralda on the coast. We headed out for the day and I learned our hotel inspection would be the following afternoon by Sommai Yocapajorn, the hotel’s PR Manager.

 

Ms. Ecuador with The Nomadic Texan

Ms. Ecuador with The Nomadic Texan

 

Ms Grand International Bus

Ms Grand International Bus

 

Malaysia Tourism Board Member Irni Nor with Ms. Malaysia

Malaysia Tourism Board Member Irni Nor with Ms. Malaysia

 

The hotel is a exquisite place to stay in a quiet neighborhood and far enough away from any freeways that one does not hear any traffic. I loved the fact I had my own balcony and it was very good size. The night time views were extraordinary.

 

View of the Chao Phraya River at Night from a Chatrium Balcony

View of the Chao Phraya River at Night from a Chatrium Balcony

 

The room we occupied was a Grand Suite One-Bedroom and comes equipped with a very nice bathroom with separate shower and bath, a small kitchenette with dining area and a large living and entertaining area. The room is 70 square meters. These rooms are above the 17th floor and cost around $100 a night US. That is a fantastic deal, given it is a 5 star hotel. This price requires a three night stay. Its slightly higher for a single night stay.

 

Living Area

Living Area

 

A Two-Bedroom Grand suite is 120 square meters and only runs about $185 Us Dollars. Both bedrooms have work desks and WiFi and all the benefits of the one bedroom are present. This includes the luxurious shower, tub and kitchenette, along with a dining and living area. Not to mention the large balcony. All rooms are equipped with safes, coffee, plates silverware, cups glasses, cooking ware and utensils if you are inclined to stay in and cook. Again the price requires a three night stay.

 

Kitchenette Area

Kitchenette Area

 

The top of the line rooms are the one, two and three bedroom suites located on the 31st through 34th floor with private dining quarters and business office. The One-Bedroom suite is 125 square meters and has access to all days snacks and evening cocktails. A full breakfast is also included. We toured all room examples and I was impressed with the pricing and size of the rooms. You would have to reserve specific dates for a quote on the Chatrium Club rooms as these are known.

 

#35th Floor Decoration

#35th Floor Decoration

 

Chatrium Club Dining Room with Abha Modeling

Chatrium Club Dining Room and Waiting Area

 

Business Office for Chatrium Club Members

Business Office for Chatrium Club Members

 

Breakfast at the hotel was a buffet style set up that includes every type of item one might want to eat early in the day. My friend from Thailand ate a bowl of noodles with vegetables almost every day and I ate plates of fruit, egg dishes, bread and tried various Asian dishes. The breads have an entire room dedicated to your choice or type of wheat, rice or corm flour based product. It was a challenge just to decide this, much less egg dishes or other healthy offerings as he main course.

 

External Photo of the Dining Area

External Photo of the Dining Area

 

The hotel has a wonderful pool area that is spacious and on the 6th floor away from all noise. It is a very nice facility and has a pool bar and changing rooms. If the weather had been nicer I probably would have jumped in.

 

Pool Was Huge

Pool Was Huge

 

Pool Bar

Pool Bar

 

Overall I have to rate the Chatrium Hotel Riverside as a top notch facility. I had no issues except learning how to turn the shower on. A funny story and as I must be thick between the ears I took a completely cold shower the first day before learning that the hot water was in the opposite direction of expectations. I can only say that I know for a fact that I wasn’t the only one and the names of the individuals involved shall remain nameless.

 

Shower for All Rooms (Push Back for Hot Water)

Shower for All Rooms (Push Back for Hot Water)

 

If you find yourself in Bangkok and are searching for a nice hotel with all the facilities of a 5 star complex I would recommend the Chatrium Hotel Riverside for its, service, cleanliness and its economic pricing. The fact that it has its own shuttle to make your way across the Cha0 Phraya River to Wat Arun, the Asiatique shopping center or numbers of other attractions also doesn’t hurt. Try it, you cannot go wrong in my opinion. A huge Thanks goes out to Adrian Brown the General Manager and our host at the hotel.

 

Chao Phraya Shuttle from Hotel

Chao Phraya Shuttle from Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

*** My trip to Thailand and Malaysia was sponsored by Thai Airways, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Tourism Malaysia USA. All opinions are solely mine and as always generated without any influence.

 

 

 

 

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