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Wat Arun

The high, Khmer-style tower of the “Temple of Dawn” is one of Bangkok’s most photographed landmarks... at sunset!

The historic significance, ornate design and beautiful views make Wat Arun worth the short ferry trip across the Chao Phraya River from the Grand Palace/Wat Pho. Position yourself on the opposite side of the river at sunset to get a striking photograph of its impressive silhouette against a reddening sky.

The original building was a modest shrine. King Taksin established the capital on the site in the 18th century and built an ornate temple for the sacred Emerald Buddha statue. When he saw it was the first building to catch the morning light, he named it “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 and took the statue with him. The temple’s Khmer-style towers were added by his two successors in the early 19th century.

The four-corner pagoda, or “prang,” is an architectural representation of mythical Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. Get up close to see the tiny pieces of porcelain and colored glass that give the roof its shine. Climb the stairs part way up the spire for a view across the city. On your way out, check out the statues of monkeys, demons and incarnations of Buddha. Head inside to see the golden Buddha with the ashes of King Rama II interred at its base. Also worth a look are the murals featuring depictions of the spiritual teacher Prince Siddhartha encountering the different stages of life.

Wat Arun is one of the few Bangkok highlights on the western side of the river. The temple is open daily and there is an admission fee. Take the cross-river ferry at Tha Tien pier from the Grand Palace; the ride takes a few minutes and is inexpensive. If you arrive later in the day, remember to stay on the eastern side of the river to watch the sun set behind the temple.

Popular Activities at Wat Arun

Give yourself heaps of time at Wat Arun. Below are the top activities:

Your next epic adventure is waiting for you! You may want to try an Art & Culture of Bangkok's Klong Tour or a Bangkok Waterways & Canals Tour.

If you'd like more activities, peruse our Bangkok things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Wat Arun


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lebua at State Tower (The World's First Vertical Destination)
lebua at State Tower (The World's First Vertical Destination)

lebua at State Tower (The World's First Vertical Destination)

State Tower 1055/111 Silom Road, Bangrak, Bangkok
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Bangkok hotel is located on a river, within 1 mi (2 km) of Sri Mariamman Temple and Iconsiam. Asiatique The Riverfront and Siam Paragon Mall are also within 3 mi (5 km). Surasak BTS Station is 10 minutes by foot and Saphan Taksin BTS Station is 12 minutes.

    Riva Arun Bangkok
    Riva Arun Bangkok

    Riva Arun Bangkok

    392/25-26 Maharaj Road, Phraborom Maharajawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wat Pho, Museum of Siam, and Grand Palace. Temple of the Emerald Buddha is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) away.

      sala rattanakosin NT$3,120
      sala rattanakosin

      sala rattanakosin

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

        Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps from Wat Pho and Bangkok Riverside. Wat Arun and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are also within 15 minutes.

        Shangri-la Bangkok NT$4,542
        Shangri-la Bangkok

        Shangri-la Bangkok

        89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road, Bangrak, Bangkok, Bangkok
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Bangkok hotel is located on a river, within 1 mi (2 km) of Bangkok Riverside and Iconsiam. King Power MahaNakhon and Patpong Night Market are also within 2 mi (3 km). Saphan Taksin BTS Station is 6 minutes by foot and Surasak BTS Station is 12 minutes.

          Inn A Day NT$2,777
          Inn A Day

          Inn A Day

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

            Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps from Wat Pho and Bangkok Riverside. Wat Arun and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are also within 15 minutes.

            Arun Residence NT$2,607
            Arun Residence

            Arun Residence

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

              Located in Bangkok City Centre, this boutique hotel is steps from Wat Pho and Bangkok Riverside. Wat Arun and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are also within 15 minutes.

              Sala Arun NT$2,408
              Sala Arun

              Sala Arun

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

                Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is steps from Wat Pho and Bangkok Riverside. Wat Arun and Temple of the Emerald Buddha are also within 15 minutes.

                Chetuphon Gate NT$1,032
                Chetuphon Gate

                Chetuphon Gate

                370-372 Soi Pratoo Nokyoong, Maharaj Road, Bangkok
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Wat Pho, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Grand Palace. Thammasat University and Khaosan Road are also within 2 mi (3 km).