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Wat Arun

Watch the sun go down over the Khmer-style tower of the “Temple of Dawn”, one of Bangkok’s most photographed landmarks

Take the short ferry trip across the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace Wat Pho to Wat Arun. Its historic significance, intricate design and stunning views make the trip well worth the effort. To get some great photographs, the best time to visit is just as the sun starts to go down. Find a spot on the opposite side of the river and take some great shots of the silhouette of this impressive landmark against the backdrop of the slowly reddening sky.

The original building had humble origins as a simple shrine. In the 18th century, King Taksin declared the site to be the capital and marked this with the building of an ornate temple for the sacred Emerald Buddha statue. When he realised that it was the first building to catch the morning light, he named it the “Temple of Dawn”. “Aruna” is the Indian god of dawn and “wat” means temple. In 1782, King Rama I moved the capital to the other side of the river, taking the statue with him. The Khmer-style towers were added by his two successors in the early 19th century.

The four-cornered pagoda, or “prang” is an architectural representation of mythical Mount Meru, the centre of the world in Buddhist cosmology. Close up, you’ll see the tiny pieces of porcelain and coloured glass that give the roof its shine. Climb part way up the spire steps for a great view across the city. Outside, you’ll find statues of monkeys, demons and incarnations of Buddha. Inside, see the golden Buddha which has King Rama II’s ashes buried at its base.

Wat Arun is one of the few Bangkok highlights on the western side of the river. The temple is open every day and there’s a small charge to get in. Take the ferry from the Tha Tien pier from the Grand Palace. It’s a quick journey and doesn’t cost very much. If you arrive later in the day, stay on the eastern side of the river to watch the sun set behind the temple.


Guide to Exploring around Wat Arun


Lodging Near Wat Arun

See all 4,273 properties near Wat Arun
Riva Arun Bangkok

Riva Arun Bangkok

392/25-26 Maharaj Road, Phraborom Maharajawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok
    4.0 out of 5.0
     
     
    4.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

    Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museum of Siam and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within ...

    Riva Arun BangkokAU$78

    sala rattanakosin

    sala rattanakosin

    Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok, Bangkok
      4.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Pho, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace. Tha Maharaj and Khaosan ...

      sala rattanakosinAU$143

      ARUN Riverside Bangkok

      ARUN Riverside Bangkok

      87-89 Maharaj Road, Phrabarommaharachawaang, Bangkok, Phranakorn
        3.5 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Wat Pho, Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Khaosan Road and Wat Arun are also ...

        ARUN Riverside BangkokAU$107

        Inn A Day

        Inn A Day

        57-61 Maharat Road, Phra nakhon, Bangkok, Bangkok
          3.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace ...

          Inn A DayAU$119

          Sala Arun

          Sala Arun

          47-49 Soi Phen Pi Marn, Tha Tien, Phrabarommaharajchawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok
            3.5 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also ...

            Sala ArunAU$145

            Arun Residence

            Arun Residence

            36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok, Bangkok
              3.5 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace ...

              OB-ARUN House

              OB-ARUN House

              295 Thanon Wang Doem Wat Arun, Bangkok-Yai, Bangkok, Bangkok
                3.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Bangkok City Centre, this guesthouse is within 2 mi (3 km) of Wat Arun, Museum of Siam and Wat Pho. Iconsiam and Grand Palace are also within 3 mi ...

                OB-ARUN HouseAU$97

                The Royal ThaTien Village

                The Royal ThaTien Village

                392/29 Maharaj Road, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok, Bangkok
                  2.5 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Bangkok City Centre, this guesthouse is within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are ...

                  The Royal ThaTien VillageAU$32

                  *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
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