Ever since 2012, I have said that Wat Arun which is also known as the Temple of Dawn has been my favorite temple. There’s something intricately beautiful about this place and I know that I’ve written about it before. The way the designs are done all over the buildings is something to be admired. When we decided that we were going to skip Wat Pho which has the large gold Buddha, I was super excited to go across the river to see the Temple of Dawn again. It was my third visit across the river to that temple and it was just as beautiful the third time around.
We paid our 4 Baht to get across the river, took the water taxi the 3 minutes across the river and walked off the boat to get to the temple. We were prepared for the boys to end up having to wear the pants again but the rules at the Temple of Dawn are not as strict as the rules at the Grand Palace. So as long as the men are not wearing short shorts, then you can get away without long pants as a male. Females still have to cover up which is still rough so I had on my regular two layers in the the sweltering heat and we wandered around the Temple of Dawn grounds. One of the things is that the main temple is currently under restoration. When I went there back in 2012, you could climb the steps up to the middle section of the temple, but now all of that is covered in awnings and you aren’t able to walk up the steps anymore.
We took our obligatory photos and walked around the various pagodas on the grounds and then decided to sit and relax in the shade for a bit. While we were sitting in the shade, I looked up and realized that the Wat Arun was significantly brighter than I remember. I remember the first time I saw it, it was a gray ish color against the bright blue sky and on this particular day it was almost blinding how white it was. I couldn’t place my finger on it for the longest time and I sat and stared at the pagodas trying to wrap my head around what I was seeing.
I finally realized what it was. When I was there in 2012, they hadn’t restored the temple and the beautiful gray version that I had in my head was actually the dirty version of the temple with all the dust/dirt/pollution over the years. This new version I was seeing was the way the temple was supposed to be viewed. White structures so the colors of the designs actually appeared in contrast to the white background. I’m not sure which version I like better but I still adore this temple. If you ever get a chance to see the temple after it is restored, take a walk up the stairs and look out over the city. it’s absolutely beautiful and totally worth the fear as you climb the steep steps.