Wat Arun - Bangkok

The famous Wat Arun (วัดอรุณ), perhaps better known as the Temple of the Dawn, is one of the best known landmarks and one of the most published images of Bangkok. It consists of a massive elongated prang (Khmer-style tower), and is surrounded by four smaller prangs. The prang is described by the Tourism Authority of Thailand as 104m high, while most other sources quote figures around 80-85m. It is decorated by bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China, a hallmark of the reign of King Rama III. The Wat had a brief period as host of the celebrated Emerald Buddha, which now resides in nearby Wat Phra Kaew.

The Wat really looks better from a distance than close up, and you're not missing out too much even if you only view from across the river. The grounds are fairly pleasant and peaceful though, with good murals and a main Buddha image supposedly designed by King Rama II. The mythical guardians here are also quite impressive, though very similiar to those at Wat Phra Kaew.

It is possible to walk a limited way up the (very steep) stairs of the main prang, which gives a reasonable view of the Chao Phraya river.

Despite its name (coming from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn), the best views and photos of Wat Arun are in the evening with the sun setting behind it. There are some restaurants on the opposite side of the river that are good for watching this, though you'd be lucky to see the image of Wat Arun that's on all the postcards - that of the red sky sunset with the sun setting directly behind the temple. Sunset is around 6pm - 7pm all year round in Bangkok.

Details

Wat Arun is a little unusual as it's really the only major tourist attraction on the Thonburi side of the river. It is open every day from 8.30am to 5.30pm. Officially, entrance to the Wat is 20B and the ferry crossing is 2B. Sometimes if you walk around the Wat grounds, you will be requested for a donation (with a book showing how everyone else gave 100B/200B), and sometimes the staff at the pier will cite some excuse and charge another 10B or so to let you through.

Other attractions fairly easy to reach from here are Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, the National Museum, Chinatown the Ko Rattanakosin area, and the Banglamphu district.

Due to its location, by far the best and most common way to get to Wat Arun is on the river. The Tha Tien express boat pier, at the southwest corner of the Grand Palace / Wat Phra Kaew, is opposite Wat Arun and boats leave every few minutes. You can get to Tha Tien on the Chao Phraya River Express boats from any other pier, or take a taxi to it. Buses that go near Tha Tien are ordinary buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 62 and 91 which stop on Maharat road. There are also plenty of Thonburi canal tours that go here.
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Great sight in Bangkok, when you go make certain you leave high heels at home. If considering climbing the narrow steps make certain of having aspsparagus for lunch, it's tradition.
' richard
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Good information, re. transport, pricing and restaurant viewing from across the river. However I did not agree that it was the only tourist site across the river. I saw some beautiful temple across that side as well namely Wat Rakang Kositaram, Wat Kanlayanamit and Wat Upsornsawarn (perhaps spelt Aponsawan - I cannot find information on it). Also the guards let me stroll along and I did not leave until sunset. Can there be one evening that this is allowed? The choir also should be mentioned - I heard them rehearsing and their music was so beautiful. Perhaps they could sell some of their music. The little temple should be mentioned - it is modest but still - people should know that it exists, Perhaps it is time that tourists stop climbing all over the main prang - just as in many other monumental buildings as in Egypt, Greece and elsewhere - before they damage it irrevocably. Charge a climbing fee -that would sort it out!! thank you for giving me so much pleasure when I visited your beautiful temples and people. Miryana.
' Miryana Brault
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You say nothing about Wat Arun being the national symbol of Thailand to be found on its coin! - I was looking for info about the horses in the smaller prangs. No such luck! - I really rather liked climbing up the main prang! My picture of the smaller prang is delightful. Spelling error: Despite its name (not it"s) bo
' Brigitte Olson
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I went to the Wat Arun on the 23 Dec 2008; I was charged 50 Baht for the entrace. I guess 20 Baht was perhaps charges before.
' Por Seng Leong
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I thought Wat Arun was well worth the trip there as the intricacy of the embedded porcelain can not be appreciated from across the river. I took some really nice photos there of the chetis (sp).
' Bob
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I really like that place. I've been there because I live in Bangkok. I was born inside Wat Arun. It's a really cool place. I like your page on it. It really gives you detail on Wat Arun.
' Loser Ma
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