You may be wondering what there is to see so early in the morning. Actually, a lot as I found out today. I had a sleepless night and at half past 5 am I was craving for a Western-style breakfast. The solution? A quick taxi ride to On Lok Yun on Charoen Krung Road in the Old Town of Bangkok.
The old coffee house is barely noticeable from the street and you would expect everything but an American breakfast. On Lok Yun opened more than 80 years ago and seems to have withstood the change of time. However, there’s an English menu and I wonder how this place became so popular among foreign visitors. At any rate, I’m far from being the first customer at 6 in the morning. On Lok Yun opens every day at 5.30 am and seems to gather a loyal crowd from the very first hour.
Besides a Western-style breakfast, you should order On Lok Yun’s traditional sweet Thai bread. I try everything along with a coffee for a total price of 120 Baht.
While there are plenty of places for breakfast in Bangkok, On Lok Yun has a certain charm and reflects the atmosphere of the Old City. By the time I leave, it’s about 6.30 am and the restaurant is already half full.
I walk along Charoen Krung Road and hear loud music emanating from Rommaninat Park. The public park is located on the former site of a prison and was created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Sirikit’s birthday in 1992. I’m surely not an early bird and to my astonishment the park is very animated in the early morning with people doing all sorts of exercise.
As I continue my peregrination, I enter the premises of Wat Suthat, a first class royal temple. The construction of this Buddhist temple began in 1807 during the reign of Rama I and took 40 years to complete. The Buddha image in the Royal Viharn is called Phra Sri Sakyamuni and is one of the largest Buddha images cast in bronze in Thailand. It is 8 meters tall and originates from Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai.
Unfortunately, the Royal Viharn is under renovation at the time of my visit. But luckily, I can admire the ubosot (ordination hall) next door. It is considered one of the most beautiful in the country and houses another important Buddha image called Phra Buddha Trilokachet.
Before the fatigue finally sets in, I decide to finish my trip at Wat Saket or the Golden Mount. It is built on top of an artificial hill and features a large golden chedi which houses a Buddha relic. There’s a small entrance fee for foreign visitors, but no one has arrived at the ticket office yet… I walk up the 318 stairs and enjoy the panoramic view of Bangkok as the sun is rising on the horizon. It is literally the climax of my early morning trip.