Few meters from the scammers we bumped into some locals.We played "charades" again. The Thai are generally nice people except for some scammers. It's just frustrating that as much as they would love to help they couldn't because of language barrier. Our acting skills were always put to the test whenever we talked to them. The locals we talked to this time could not tell us how to get to Wat Po so we just started walking again until we found the temple. The gate to the temple was actually wide open although I'm not sure if that was the right entrance for tourists because I've heard that some people had to pay an entrance fee and we didn't. We looked for the reclining Buddha right away. I had seen it a thousand times on pictures but I didn't expect it to be so stunning. It practically occupies the entire building. It's 46 meters long and 15 meters high, decorated with gold plating on his body. At the back of the statue we saw alm bowls lined against the wall of the temple.People were dropping coins into the bowls. We had no clue what they were doing but we had our picture taken pretending to be dropping coins as well.
From Wat Po we walked to the Tha Tien pier. When we reached the pier I was so thrilled to see Wat Arun standing on the west bank of the river . It was surprisingly greyish from afar. I had expected it to glisten under the sun,nevertheless it was still beautiful. We paid 3 baht for the ferry ride to the temple. We went up to the upper terrace of the central phrang (tower). When I looked down I realized how steep the steps were and I got worried about descending from the tower. The view of the metropolis from the top was spectacular. Up close you can see that the central phrang and the four smaller surrounding phrangs were decorated with seashells and porcelains which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. After almost an hour spent at Wat Arun we boarded the boat back to the other side of the river.
I was impressed that despite the construction of modern structures all over Bangkok they were able to preserve the old temples that are very much part of Bangkok's historical and cultural identity. I was glad that my first impressions of Bangkok were wrong.