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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.

There are so many ways to enjoy this place. We've put together just some things you can do at Wat Arun:

Check out our Bangkok things to do page to find many more activities in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Wat Arun


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Wat Arun

See all 3,727 Properties near Wat Arun
Riva Arun Bangkok ¥7,679
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).

    ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai ¥5,264
    ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

    ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

    42 Rambuttri Rd., Banglampu Pranakorn, Bangkok, Bangkok
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Bangkok City Centre, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Khaosan Road and Bangkok Riverside. Thammasat University and Democracy Monument are also within 15 minutes.

      sala rattanakosin ¥11,428
      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.

        ARUN Riverside Bangkok ¥8,605
        ARUN Riverside Bangkok

        ARUN Riverside Bangkok

        87-89 Maharaj Road, Phrabarommaharachawaang, Bangkok, Phranakorn
           
          3.5 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. Khaosan Road and Wat Arun are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Inn A Day ¥9,500
          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.

            Arun Residence ¥8,238
            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, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Grand Palace are also within 15 minutes.

              Sala Arun
              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.

                OB-ARUN House ¥6,237
                OB-ARUN House

                OB-ARUN House

                295 Thanon Wang Doem Wat Arun, Bangkok-Yai, Bangkok, Bangkok
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Bangkok City Centre, this guesthouse is within 1 mi (2 km) of Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and Grand Palace. Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Museum of Siam are also within 2 mi (3 km). Wongwian Yai Station is 29 minutes by foot.