Wat Arun Or Temple Of Dawn

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Wat Arun Or Temple Of Dawn


Located on the western bank of the Chao Praya river, the Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn is one of the most viewed landmarks of Bangkok with its gleaming prang (tower) rising up to meet the sky. The temple consists of one huge prang and is surrounded by four smaller prangs and is built in the Khymer style. The height of the main Prang is a matter of dispute as some claim the height is 66 metres with others cite 86 metres. Whatever it maybe, there is no doubt that the central prang set against a setting sun is a very beautiful sight and one that is synonymous with Bangkok, the world over.

Construction of this magnificent temple was started by King Rama II and completed by King Rama III during his reign 1824-1851. Legend has it there was an existing monastery at the site and that when King Taksin and his army from Ayutthaya reached Thonburi, they arrived at dawn and hence the name.

The main Prang or tower, and four smaller towers surrounding it represent the cosmic representation of the thirty-three heavens. The steps leading up to the main prang are very steeply inclined and lead to the two terraces that form the base of the Prang. The different layers or heavens of the temple have half human forms and scary Yaksas, or demon guards guarding it. The terrace pavilions on the first platform contain invaluable statues of the Buddha depicting the important and different stages of his life. On the second level terrace a statue dedicated to the Hindu god Indra dominates and is surrounded by thirty-three headed elephant. The statutes all over the temple are decorated by bits of broken porcelain aesthetically put together to form a stunning and very creative way of embellishment, that is worth seeing. .

Getting there

Since the temple is located on the west bank of the river(Thonburi), the best way may be to get there by the river. There is pier called Tha Tien located at the south west corner of the Grand Palace on the opposite bank and from here there are regular ferry services across the river. From any other pier on the Chao Phraya river, it is possible to get a boat to Tha Tien and then cross by ferry to the temple complex.

Best time to visit

The Wat Arun, though known as the Temple of Dawn is actually best viewed at sunset and even if just viewed from distance, across the river it is an awe-inspiring experience.


The Wat Arun is embellished by small pieces of porcelain from China, which were used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from there. A very novel use of broken china!


The temple is open for visitors 9:00 am to 5:30 pm daily. The entrance fee for foreigners is Baht 30 per person.

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