Bangkok's wide Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, Thailand.

Thailand Bangkok - touring Bangkok Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaeo and Wat Arun - with photos.

Wat Phra Kaeo Prang The various locations mentioned below can be reached in a variety of ways - depending on whereabouts you are staying whilst on holiday in Bangkok. Generally the locations within the City mentioned below are situated close to the Chao Phraya River so we have indicated the nearest local ferry station. Entrance and other prices shown are for guidance and apply to when we visited Bangkok just over a year ago - so will probably increase as time goes by as is the way these days. Apart from the world famous beautiful Wat Arun there are several other temples which are easy to get too whilst in Bangkok - incidentally as far as Thailand is concerned a Wat means a Temple, Monastery or other religious centre i.e. not necessarily a Buddhist establishment.

Bot of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok

Touring Bangkok Grand Palace and Wat Prakeo - including a few descriptive photos.

(Wat Prakeo means The Temple of the Emerald Buddha). The nearest express ferry pier to the Grand Palace is Tha Chang - the complex is open daily 0830-1530 although it's closed during official ceremonies. The ticket office is located along Na Phra Lan Road - if you arrive by ferry go straight ahead through the market, cross the road and the entrance is just along on the right.
The entrance fee for foreign visitors is an excessive 350 Baht however the ticket does include some other minor sites. There is a strict rule about what can be worn inside the grounds (for both men and women) for instance no shorts, mini-skirts or sleeveless strappy tops are permitted - however it's possible to get suitable clothing just inside the entrance gate.
Phra Si Rattana Chedi Bangkok, Thailand Bangkok - Wat Phra Kaeo Wat Phra Kaeo Bangkok, Thailand Wat Phra Kaeo - Bangkok
Construction of the Grand Palace commenced in 1782 to mark the founding of the new capitol, provide a Palace for the King and perhaps most importantly a resting place for the Phra Kaeo - The Emerald Buddha. The complex was once a self sufficient city within a city and today Wat Prakeo is Thailand's holiest Temple. Ramakien Gallery surrounds the Temple Complex and contains 178 panels depicting the complete story of the Ramakien - the murals are divided by marble pillars inscribed with verses relating to the story.
Wihan Yot - Bangkok Ramakien Gallery Bangkok, Thailand Royal Palace in Bangkok - Ramakien Gallery Ramakien Gallery scenes Bangkok, Thailand
Starting at Wihan Yot you need to walk around the Gallery in a clockwise direction - each Gateway to the Gallery is guarded by a pair of Yakshas (demons) and each demon symbolises a different character from the story. The eight different coloured Prangs which are located on the edge of the temple are decorated with Chinese porcelain and represent the eight elements (or eightfold path) of Buddhist religion - which are Right view, Right intention, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness and Right concentration. The green chedi Phra Mondop is the library and the Golden Chedi - Phra Si Rattana.
The main Bot houses the Emerald Buddha - the area is always very busy and no photographs are allowed inside. The Buddha sits high above the golden altar and is carved from a single piece of jade - it is 26 inches tall and has a lap span of 19 inches.
Wat-Phra-Kaeo Garudas Bangkok, ThailandChakri Throne Hall Around the outside of the Bot are 112 garudas (mystical beasts - half man / half bird) which are shown holding nagas (serpents) and are typical of the Wat's garishly bright detail.

The Story of The Ramakien.

Rama, who was the heir to the throne of Ayodhya, is sent into exile (by his step-mother) accompanied by his wife Sita and brother Laksman. The Demon King Tosakan of Longka (Sri Lanka) abducts Sita. With the help of the white monkey god Hanuman, the two monkey kings Sikrip and Chompupan, together with their armies the brothers pursue Tosakan. On reaching the coast the monkeys build a stone bridge across the sea to Longka and after many victorious battles Rama fights Tosakan and kills him. Subsequently Toskan's brother Piphek is crowned King of Longka and Rama returns with his wife Sita to reign over Ayodhya. Since then the Chakri Kings have taken Rama as one of their names and the old capitol Ayutthaya was named after Ayodhya.
Grand Palace in Bangkok - Chakri Throne Hall Aphonphimok Pavilion in the Grand Palace Bangkok, Thailandk Grand Palace - Dusit Throne Hall Bangkok, Thailand Bangkok - The Grand Palace.
When visited it the Palace seemed to be closed to the public so you are restricted to wandering around admiring the beautiful buildings from the outside (i.e. particularly the Chakri Throne Hall and the Dusit Throne Hall).

Chinese Guards at Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand

Visiting Wat Arun (Wat Arun Ratchawararam or The Temple of Dawn) in Bangkok - with photos.

This lovely Wat is open daily 0700 to 1700 with an entrance fee of 50 Baht for foreigners. Situated on the river bank, the main ferry stop is Tha Rachini and then you need to get the local ferry across the river (3 Baht). Wat Arun is named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn - this Buddhist Temple is one of Bangkok's most visually striking landmarks especially when viewed from the river. Similarly the views of the river from the temple's second tier of the central Prang are excellent.
Dancers - Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand A nice freindly demon at Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand Wat Arun - there are demons everywhere Bangkok, Thailand Mondop - Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand
Mythical creature statue - Bangkok - Wat Arun The Prang (Khmer style tower) is built in the Ayutthayan style and like the temples at Angkor Thom in Cambodia represent Mount Meru (home of the devas -gods- in Hindu mythology). You can climb part of the way up the Prang but the steps are very steep and quite shallow in depth so you do need take care and not have a problem with vertigo - the steps represent the difficulties in reaching higher levels of existence...
The main Prang is encircled by four small Prang all of which are most beautifully covered in small colourful pieces of broken porcelain, ceramic and small bowls formed into flower shapes.
Prayer Hall - Wat Arun Bangkok, Thailand Wat Arun - you can get great river views Bangkok, Thailand Bangkok's Wat Arun - Bangkok, Thailand Wat Arun - one of several mythical creature statues, Bangkok, Thailand.
The smaller Prangs also have statues of Nayu - the God of Wind on Horseback. Some other main features of the Temple are the rows of demons decorated with pieces of porcelain lining the outside of the main Prang, the Chinese Guards at the temple entrances and various statues of mythical creatures.
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