Wat Arun#1 in Best Things To Do in Bangkok
Wat Arun, meaning "Temple of the Dawn," is named for the Hindu god Aruna, God of Dawn. And fittingly, this 270-foot temple is glorious to behold at dawn or sunset. The temple is covered from top to bottom with mosaics, pieced together by Chinese porcelain. To experience it, visitors can pay a small admission price to climb inside the temple's central prang, but keep in mind that the steps are steep and the stairway is very narrow.
Many travelers rave about Wat Arun for its beauty and tranquility – that is if you get there before the crowds. Recent visitors report crowds here aren't as bad as they are at the Grand Palace or Wat Pho but it's still best to get here early if you want to experience the attraction at its most peaceful. No matter what time you go, be sure your knees and shoulders are covered. And depending on where you go in Wat Arun, you may be required to take your shoes off.
If you want to climb the temple's steep steps, you'll be charged 50 baht ($1.50). You can find Wat Arun along the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Most visitors say if you're visiting Wat Pho or the Grand Palace, there is a boat service from Tha Tien Pier that can take you right across the river to Wat Arun. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. For more information, visit the Thailand tourism board's website.
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#2 Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, known as Wat Pho in Thai, is a Buddhist temple complex which is most known for its gold-plated "Reclining Buddha" sculpture. The Buddha measures 151 feet long and is 50 meters tall, making it the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand. The complex also houses the most Buddha's in all of Thailand. Along with the famous reclining Buddha, Wat Pho features a whopping 394 Buddhas that can be found spread out between four different chapels on-site.
In between all of the opulent statues, ornate pagodas and striking stonework spread throughout, you might be surprised to learn that you can get a massage here. In addition to being a place of worship, Wat Pho is also an education center that focuses on traditional medicine and massage therapy. You'll definitely be in for a cultural experience should you choose to do so, but make sure to research what a Thai massage is before you go (they're generally considered pretty painful by American standards).
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