The Magnificent Mekong Day 3

Our hotel room looked over the Chao Phraya River. This river flowed through Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand. It was important for the people of Thailand because of its importance for transportation.

Breakfast was included with our stay. The buffet was huge with so many choices!

We met our Viking guides, Pete and Julie (their American names because their Thai names were very long) in the hotel lobby as well as the others in our group for a long-tail boat ride to Wat Arun-“Temple of Dawn”.

You could see our hotel in the background as we boarded our boat.
Riding our long-tail boat to Wat Arun.

It was a Buddhist temple complex so appropriate dress was required, no knees showing and shoulders covered. The temple dress was not like the cathedrals in Europe where one could cover your shoulders with a shawl or scarf. It was not acceptable here. We were not aware of this so it made an impact in what we had packed, especially as the trip continued. Also it was too hot to wear a sweater over your shoulders. It was shared consistently by all of our guides that SE Asia has three seasons: hot, hotter, and hottest! We visited during the “hotter” rainy season!

Wat (a Buddhist monastery or temple) Arun (named for the Hindu god of the dawn, Arun) was located on the west ban of the Chao Phraya River. It was known for its central spire which was 250 feet high! Some considered it the Eiffel tower of Thailand! It was built in the mid 1800’s but a temple existed on this site since the 16th century. The spire was decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain with beautiful patterns.

After climbing as high as we were permitted and looking around we then went into the hall where a Buddhist monk was giving blessings. Shoes were left outside. We were blessed by the monk with holy water and he tied a simple string bracelet with some beads which was to bring us health and good luck!

After touring the temple complex we got back in our long-tail boat and toured through a Khlong, which was the word for canal. On our ride in one of the khlongs we saw a 300 foot Buddha at Wat Muang Temple! It was the biggest Buddha in Bangkok. It was made of cement and painted gold. It was started in 1990 and was finished in 2008.

From our boat we saw several Asian water monitors sunning themselves.

Asian Water Monitor

The canals had many large catfish! Pete gave us each a roll to break up and throw into the river so we could see them.

We saw homes along the canal and passed other boats with locals carrying their wares. There was a lot to observe as we slowly rode along the canal.

Back on the river we observed skyscrapers and buildings as we returned to our hotel.

After our morning tour we dropped some of our belongings in our hotel room. Our room had been cleaned and we had another fresh fruit with serving ware on our table. When we arrived yesterday or rather very early this morning we had some delicious grapes in our room. Today’s fruit was Dragon Fruit. There was a book with all the different fruits and a description of them. It was delicious!

After our snack we went to the hotel boat shuttle that would take us to Iconsiam, a beautiful shopping mall with luxury stores and on the first floor there were shops with food stalls. We explored many of the levels but not all because this mall had over 7,000 shops and 100 restaurants! Below are some pictures from the mall.

After walking around we went back to the hotel because we both were still tired from our lack of sleep and tomorrow would be another early morning!