Wat Arun: Guide to the Temple of Dawn
Wat Arun in Bangkok, also known as the Temple of the Dawn, is located on the western side of the Chao Phraya River. Due to its amazingly beautiful architecture and the most iconic location right on the river, a visit is a must do on every Bangkok trip. Besides that, also the boat ride for getting there is overwhelmingly beautiful and a unique Bangkok experience. Particularly scenic are the approximately 70-meter-high pagodas that characterize the riverside, and which are beautifully lighted at night. Many consider Wat Arun as one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok and so a visit is highly recommended.
In this travel guide we give you all the important information about Wat Arun, how to get there, costs and opening hours. Of course, we share our experiences, give you useful tips and show you the most beautiful images of this temple jewel.
General information about Wat Arun
The full name of this temple is actually Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchaworamaha Wihan. Locals and tourists call him, however, always with his short name Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn. This beautiful temple complex is located on the western bank of the river Chao Phraya and can easily be reached by river ferry or cab. On the opposite side is the famous Wat Pho and also the Wat Phra Khaeo.
The history of Wat Arun goes back to the Ayutthaya era. But at that time this temple was called Wat Makok, translated the olive temple. The name of the today’s temple was named after Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn. Therefore also temple of the dawn. Architecturally the temple is based on a representation of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. In the first half of the 19th century, the temple was restored by King Rama II, and the towers, which were only 16 meters high at that time, were raised to about 70 meters.
Things to see at Wat Arun
For a perfect visit to Wat Arun you should plan some time, because the temple area is a quite large and so there are many beautiful buildings, pavilions and statues to discover. The best time for a visit is in the morning or late afternoon. At this time it is most quiet and idyllic.
The Entrance of the Ordination Hall
A particularly great place to take amazing Wat Arun images is the famous archway with the crown, which is the entrance to the Ubosot. The two huge statues, the Yakshas, are beautifully decorated and give access to the ordination hall of the monks. Go there early and you will have this scenic area to yourself.
The Main Temple
This area of the temple complex is considered the holiest part of Wat Arun. Especially the beautiful corridors with the Buddha statues made us fall in love with this lovely temple. Additionally, there are amazing photo opportunities – no wonder that it is considered to be one of the most instagrammable places in Bangkok! Another highlight of the temple is the marble-clad courtyard. Numerous Chinese stone sculptures show lions, dragons, warriors and other mystical figures.
Tower Phra Prang
Wat Arun is famous for its beautiful Phra Prang. This landmark of Wat Arun is a 70-meter-high temple tower, a stupa-like pagoda. Even from afar you can see it shining brightly in the midday sun. This white temple is decorated with beautiful mosaics of porcelain and shells, which make up thousands of floral patterns. Steep stairs lead up to the temples and it’s hard to believe that this dizzying ascent was once allowed to be climbed by visitors. Today, you can still visit the Phra Prang but climbing the temple is forbidden.
Sunset at Wat Arun
Wat Arun at sunset – you can hardly experience anything more magical than this temple. Opposite, on the other side of the river, you will find several rooftop bars from where you can admire the best view of the temple. The absolute best view of the Wat Arun for watching the sunset you will definitely have from the roof terrace Eagle Nest in the hotel Sala Arun, one of the best of the rooftop bars in Bangkok.
From up here one can take beautiful pictures of Wat Arun and enjoy the sunset from 6:00 pm. Wat Arun is really amazing to see at night when the temple is brightly illuminated.
Tip: Also not hotel guests can visit the bar Eagle Nest of the Hotel Sala Arun.
Opening Hours & Entrance Fee
The Wat Arun opens daily between 08:00 am to 5:30 pm. The best time for a visit is before 10:00 am, because at this time one can count on rather few visitors.
The entrance to Wat Arun is in principle free of charge, however, if one would like to visit the famous temple tower Phra Prang, then an entrance of 50,- Baht per person has to be paid at Wat Arun.
How to get to Wat Arun
This temple is located very centrally near the most important attractions of Bangkok and so the journey to Wat Arun is relatively uncomplicated. The best way is to organize a cab and to get to the Tha Tien Pier near Wat Pho.
Afterwards you best take the ferry from the Tha Tien Pier. This ferry takes you to Wat Arun for only 3 Baht. The boat trip does not take long, but it is still a wonderful experience.
Another option to visit Wat Arun is as part of a guided tour. Bangkok temple tours are becoming more and more popular. They are a great way to see a lot in only one day. Click here for the tours:
Conclusion: The Wat Arun in Bangkok is definitely one of the most beautiful temples in the city and one of the things for what is Thailand famous for. Its architecture, the pretty decorations and the unique location next to the river make this temple a Must-see Temple in Bangkok.
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