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February 13th, 2020

Discovering Wat’s what in Bangkok. Part 1

I decided at the outset of this unexpected 2 week trip to Bangkok, that I’d explore a different Wat (Buddhist temple) every day. Goodness knows how many Wats there actually are in this amazing city, but there are certainly enough to keep me busy for 2 weeks.

Oh, yes, you ask – why is my trip unexpected?

Good question.

Well, it’s all down to the corona virus, really.

Our son lives and works in Shanghai, but was (thank the good Lord) out of the country for the Chinese New Year holidays, so when all the quarantining started, he flew to Bangkok to join our daughter, who is based there.

I helicoptered in after them.

Obviously 😛

And so we as a family have managed to extract some pleasure from this dire situation, with an unplanned, impromptu get-together.

And I have had ample time to potter and explore a temple a day.

Care to join me, as I discover Wat’s what in Bangkok?

(Pause for applause at my brilliant pun.)

First up – Wat Yannawa.

The temple is on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, right by the main transport hub of Saphin Taksin (Taksin Bridge), so it is super easy to get to. As the overhead train pulls into the station, you can see the temple below you.

The entrance is from Charoen Krung road.

The most important thing you need to know about this Wat is that it is designed like a boat.

The “viharn” or assembly hall is in the shape of a Chinese junk.

Like so:

Firstly, how fabulous is this?

And secondly, the boat design is all part of the history of the temple. Here’s the explanation at the Wat itself:

I’ve visited this Wat 2 or 3 times over the years, and it is always uncrowded, and totally un-hassley. Actually, all temples are un-hassley, to be honest, it’s just that some of the more popular ones are full of tourists and then we create the hassle.

But if you go to a Wat like this one, you may well have it all to yourself, other than monks doing their tranquil stuff.

Just like my visit there this week. Just the odd monk walking around, and me.

Totally wonderful.

Walk through the temple complex, away from the road where you entered, go through the gate, and you have a great view of the river. Complete with boats, echoing the 19th century boat behind you:

Today’s boats, the colourful longtails

Entrance is free.

The Wat is open every day from 9-5, though I have pottered around there much later:

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