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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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Top Hotel Deals

See all 3,269 properties near Wat Arun
Mandarin Hotel Managed by Centre Point ฿2,173
Mandarin Hotel Managed by Centre Point

Mandarin Hotel Managed by Centre Point

662 Rama IV Road, Bangkok, Bangkok
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Bangkok City Centre, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Lumphini Park and MBK Center. Siam Center and Pratunam Market are also within 3 mi (5 km). Sam Yan Station is only a 3-minute walk and Silom Station is 14 minutes.

    Shangri-la Bangkok ฿4,400
    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 the riverfront, within 2 mi (3 km) of Bangkok Riverside, King Power MahaNakhon and Iconsiam. Patpong Night Market and Asiatique The Riverfront are also within 2 mi (3 km). Saphan Taksin BTS Station is 6 minutes by foot and Surasak BTS Station is 12 minutes.

      Riva Arun Bangkok ฿2,447
      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 Museum of Siam and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 1 mi (2 km).

        sala rattanakosin ฿3,465
        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 within a 10-minute walk of Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.

          Inn A Day ฿2,744
          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 within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.

            iSanook Bangkok ฿2,379
            iSanook Bangkok

            iSanook Bangkok

            118, Soi Songphra, Siphraya Road, Kwang Maha Pruttaram, Khet Bangrak, Bangkok, Bangkok
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of River City Shopping Complex, Si Phraya Pier and Patpong Night Market. Lumphini Park and MBK Center are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sam Yan Station is 12 minutes by foot and Hua Lamphong Station is 13 minutes.

              Sala Arun ฿2,672
              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 within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.

                Arun Residence ฿2,290
                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 within a 10-minute walk of Bangkok Riverside and Wat Pho. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.