Wat Arun is a magnificent Buddhist temple located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River; it is one of the most visited monuments in Bangkok.
“Wat” means temple in Thai
Wat Arun (in Thai: วัดอรุณ) owes its name to the god of Hindu mythology: Aruna, a symbol of the dawn.
The temple includes an 82 m high central Prang, inlaid with colored porcelain, and surrounded by four small Prangs.
In Buddhist mythology, Mount Meru is a place that simultaneously represents the center of the universe and the uniqueness of the spirit sought by followers.
The Prang at four corners of Wat Arun, which houses images of the guardian gods of the four directions, reinforces this mystical symbolism.
The central Prang ends with a trident with seven branches, which would be Shiva’s.
History of Wat Arun
Before the passage of King Taksin in 1768, there was an old temple known as Wat Makok or Wat Makok Nok.
The king had the temple renovated and renamed it Wat Chaeng, the Temple of the Dawn.
Rama I will install the Emerald Buddha there before moving him, as well as the capital, on the other side of the river.
Rama II and Rama III will build the central Prang, 85 meters high, and 234 meters in circumference.
Rama IV will have the prang covered with fragments of Chinese porcelain donated by the city’s inhabitants.
The most significant restoration work on the Prang was carried out from 2013 to 2017, during which a significant number of broken tiles were replaced.
Although it is known as the Temple of the Dawn, it is absolutely beautiful at sunset, especially when it is lit at night.
There are several bars and restaurants on the other side of the river that will allow you to enjoy a magical show when this magnificent pyramid of Asia lights up at nightfall.
But the quietest time to visit it is still early in the morning, before the crowd.
How to get to Wat Arun
Wat Arun is almost in front of the Wat Pho, so easy to access.
From Saphan Taksin (Saphan = bridge), you can take a boat that stops at pier 8.
Small shuttle boats take you from one side of the river to the other for only 3 baht.
158 Wang Doem Road, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
Temple website: watarun.net
Price and Schedule
The entrance costs 50 baht.
The temple is open every day from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Video: Wat Arun
It’s a 2013 video, so it’s from before the restoration.
Maps of Wat Arun
Map showing the proximity to the Grand Palais and Wat Pho:
See the temple on a Google map
Sources: Wikipedia; bangkok.com; Photos: Wat Arun by night: Preecha.MJ; Wat Arun Ordination Hall: BerryJ: Wat Arun at night 2: Pattiveth. M: Wat Arun from above: Diego Delso; Statue of Buddha in front of the Wat Arun Pagoda, Statues of Buddha in Wat Arun and Wat Arun 2017: Z3144228; Wat rows: Diego Delso