Bangkok | Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

When you go to Bangkok, it is necessary that you see one of the large temples. It was my first time to visit the city, so I decided to go to Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn.

There is an entrance fee of THB 50 per person and the temple is open daily from 8:30am – 5:30pm. To enter a temple in Thailand, men and women must cover their shoulders and knees. I was very comfortable in my outfit and glad it went well with the style and architecture of the temple. Click here to read more about my outfit of the day.

Wat Arun is situated by Chao Phraya River. The tall structure was easy to walk around because it wasn’t very wide. You could go up one of the staircases and walk around the structure at a higher level. There were also stairs going up to the top of the temple, but sadly it was barred off during my visit. The stairs were steep which made the temple look more tall and narrow. Overall, Wat Arun was beautiful and uniquely made. I’d love to get up early one day before sunrise, sit across the river, and see why it’s called “Temple of Dawn”. I’m guessing it lights up beautifully by the sun. It is also nice to walk over to the Chao Phraya River, grab a boat to the other side, and have lunch or dinner at one of the restaurants with the beautiful view of Wat Arun.

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My boyfriend, Gui, thought we should look around to see what more we could find. We stumbled upon a smaller temple while walking through the grounds of Wat Arun. We were pleasantly surprised with rows of golden Buddha. The visual symmetry was pleasing and created a calm ambiance. There were Buddhist Monks walking around, cleaning, and taking care of the temple. The center of the temple had a large structure surrounded by statues of beasts and pillars with touches of gold everywhere.

I enjoyed our little discovery and our time at Wat Arun. I’ve always seen this temple on flight promotions and in photos of Thailand so I am happy to have visited it.

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Julia Quisumbing

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Palawan | The Crystal Clear Lakes in Coron

There is one place in the world that never ceases to amaze me – Palawan. It is the ultimate tropical escape. I love all areas of Palawan but Coron has always drawn my attention because of it’s two crystal clear fresh water lakes that hide behind tall rock formations, Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake.

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Barracuda Lake is every free-diver’s dream because it plummets from the surface following the beautiful walls of rock to dark depths. The fresh water allows your body to sink quickly like you were wearing weights. See my video below or click here to see how easily I sink in Barracuda Lake. The air in my lungs help me float but once I release air slowly I gradually sink faster and faster. The underwater video and photos were taken with my GoPro Hero 4.

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It’s great to snorkel in the area and even better to scuba dive. It feels as if you were exploring the moon. There are also these cute little flute fish that stroll past you when you’re in the water.

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After the underwater adventure, it’s nice to grab a life jacket and float out to the deeper end to get a 360 view of the entire lake. This is where I like to lay back and relax. It’s fun in a scary way not knowing exactly what is below you. Since they say there are Barracuda in the lake, don’t wear anything shiny because they might think you are the silvery fish that they prey on. Well, I’ve worn shiny things in that lake before but nothing has happened to me, yet!

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To get to Barracuda lake you take a short wooden staircase up and through the rock formations. Kayangan Lake is a higher hike, just a 5-10 minute walk up the steep mountain where you can take a beautiful shot of the view from the top, then climb down to the lake.

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Each lake has a wooden walkway for people to sit, hang out, or put their things while in the water. This site leaves you feeling relaxed and full of wonder. Even though you know many people come to this lake every day, it still seems like you have just discovered one of the most incredible places in the world.

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Coron Tour Tip:

Book a banka boat tour and make sure your package consists of Barracuda Lake, Kayangan Lake, Black Island, and one of the sunken shipwrecks. If you have to choose between lakes, I suggest making Barracuda Lake your top priority. It’s definitely worth it! Before getting on the boat, rent fins and masks with a snorkel because you’re going to want to see the beauty beneath the surface.

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Fresh Food from the Wet Market

During your day tour, you’ll need to take a break for lunch. There won’t be any restaurants on the islands so head to the wet market in Coron Town before boarding your boat. Buy fresh seafood, meat, fruits, and vegetables. I always like getting Crab, Prawns, Fish, Pork (Liempo), rice, squash, carrots, zucchini, and mango. Buy soy sauce and mix it with Calamansi for a delicious dipping sauce. The boatmen can grill your food at any island you wish to stop at. I usually look out for the white sand beaches with huts and tables. Freshly grilled seafood on a tropical island is the most satisfying way to eat!

Coron Shipwrecks

Once you’re done eating, it’s time for more exploring! I usually head to one of the Coron shipwrecks. There is a shipwreck near Barracuda Lake that is shallow enough for snorkelers to see. If you’d like to go scuba diving, there are deeper and larger shipwrecks to explore in the area.

If you stop by Black Island, there’s a small cave that holds a little pond of water situated behind the beach.

All of the sights and experiences you can have in Coron are mesmerizing and thrilling. I’ve been there several times and it always seems like the photos I have taken or the memories I have never do justice. In my opinion, Palawan is one of the top destinations in the world and I plan to return many times.

Julia Quisumbing