The river in Bangkok - sights en route
Grand Palace/Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The most visited
site in Thailand, the Grand Palace, with over 100 buildings on
a site of almost one square mile, covers the architectural and
cultural history of the country, since the time of the founding
of Bangkok in 1782. It remains the preeminent symbol of the monarchy
and is used for many royal ceremonies. The Emerald Buddha, revered
as a symbol of Buddhism, is believed to have originated in India
or Sri Lanka 2000 years ago and having followed a path through
Cambodia, Northern Thailand and Laos was taken in a convoy of 200
boats by King Taksin to the new capital at Thonburi, where it rested
in Wat Arun, prior to being transferred across river, upon the
establishment of Bangkok as the capital.
NOTE: If visiting the Grand Palace please beware of people posing as officials stating that the site is closed. They are agents of gem scam companies seeking to entice one to gem scam shops. For information go to Gem Scams.
Oriental Hotel. Regularly voted the "world's best
hotel", the premises have undergone radical expansion in the
past 20 years. There has been a hotel on this site since 1865.
The European style building was constructed by H.N. Andersen in
1884. The hotel has served as a temporary home for numerous famous
writers including Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad. The shadow
sometimes cast upon the hotel comes from its towering competitor
on the other side of the river - The Peninsula Hotel of Hong Kong
|Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn). There had been a Chinese temple on this site during the Ayuthaya period called Wat Cheng. The temple served as the royal chapel during the reign of KingTaksin. King Rama II designed the current wat, which was not finished, due to the problems of building on the soft soil until the time of King Rama III. It is named after the Indian god of dawn, Aruna, and represents Mount Neru - the center of the universe. The four smaller towers around its base symbolize the worlds oceans, and the four pavilions symbolize the four winds. The decoration, as with many of the older wats in Bangkok, comes from broken glass and ceramics used as ballast on Chinese merchant vessels coming to Thailand.|
|The Royal Barges. Used on special royal occasions, the boathouse has eight unique royal barges on display. Each boat is hand-crafted from a single piece of teak and decorated with gold, shimmering pieces of glass and creatures from mythology. Up to fifty oarsmen row each barge wearing period uniforms when the boats are in use, and this rare and spectacular event is televised nationally in Thailand.|