Wat Arun or the ‘Temple of the Dawn’ is one of the most spectacular visiting spots in Bangkok, Thailand. The sky-touching tower of the Wat Arun glitters every morning when the sun ray touches the apex of the tower and it happens for the inlaid porcelain fragments brought from China. This is a unique landmark in Thailand and is found in most advertising materials of Bangkok including brochures, film reels, postcards etc.
History of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is a wonderful temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Commoners have named the temple as the Temple of the Dawn since the first sun rays, in every morning, glitter on the temple 70 meters high tower which is covered with porcelain that reflects the sun lights. The temple is a unique landmark in Thailand and been already used in different advertisements. The name – Arun has been derived from a Hindu god Aruna who is often compared as the rays of a rising sun or the god of the dawn. The temple was built in the 17th century and the current idiosyncratic features were added in the beginning of 19th century when the King Rama the second was on throne. Earlier, there was a typical Buddhist temple on the site of the Wat Arun with the title of Wat Makok.
King Taksin renamed the temple was renamed after the fall of Ayutthaya- the former capital. It was placed to the river banks in 1785 and contained the image of Emerald Buddha before its moving to the river bank of Wat Phra Kaew. The temple experienced several movements during the reign of different kings and was also deserted for longer period. Later, the king Rama II restored it to the current location. An extended pagoda is also attached with the temple. The central prang is the most attractive feature of the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) which is covered with colorful porcelain and about 218 feet in height.
The Buddha image is told that was shaped by the King Rama II and his remaining is buried under the Buddha image base. Construction of the temple prangs began in the reign of King Rama II and was completed in 1851 by King Rama III.
Travel Guide information of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
Located at the West bank of Chao Phraya River, the Wat Arun is accessible from different routes and just opposite direction to Wat Pho. Hiring a boat (water taxi) from the Sappham Taksin boat pier is the best way to reach the temple as it is on river bank. Service boats are available to cross the river, and you are to cross the river from one side to the other for a small fare to reach the temple. Ferry service is also available on the Chao Phraya River. Besides, local shuttle boats with yellow or orange flags will also take you to the temple.
Some Tips when you visit on Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
During your ride on the water taxi, you can click some pictures. You can also take some pictures of the temple during the sun rise. Stay at least one hour at the temple to see the architecture and design of the Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). Early morning is the best time to avoid crowds. You can climb on prangs and handrails are attached for visitors’ safety.
Culture & Customs of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
The temple is opened every day. Its opening hour begins from 8.30 am and closes by 5.30 pm. A foreign visitor is to pay 100 baht for entrance at the temple and it is without charge for the Thais. This is a sacred place for the Buddhists and they come to pray here frequently. So, you should put the right attires (especially full length dresses) before you enter at the temple. The souvenir shop sells stuffs at a reasonable rate. Facilities inside the temple like restrooms are of world class and neat.
Transport/ Getting Around in Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
- Take BTS train and get off at Saphan Taksin station.
- Walk (about 1 min) to Central pier (or Sathorn pier) and take Chao Phraya Tourist Boat to No.8 Tha Tien pier.
- Get off at No. 8 Tha Tien pier and take the Wat Arun tourist boat to the opposite side of the river where the temple is located (the fare is 3 Baht).
Know Before You Go:
Wat Arun is open to the public daily between 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Entry is 50 THT for adults.
10 General Facts About Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok:
Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple and one of the most famous landmarks of Bangkok. So here are 10 general facts about the Temple of Dawn:
- The entrance fee to Wat Arun is 100THB (Baht, about 3 dollar or 2.2 euro). It’s free for Thai people.
- The temple is open to the public daily from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The quietest time to visit is early morning. But it’s beautiful lit at sunset. So don’t miss it!
- The temple is more than 300 years old, but it was not until the 19th century that Wat Arun got it’s current look with one central tower (prang) surrounded by 4 other smaller prang.
- The main tower rises 70 – 80 meters in height (there is some confusion about the real height). You can climb the steep stairs if you dare for beautiful views of Bangkok and the river.
- The design of the temple is Khmer style. A very steep stairway is a typical element of these style. From religious perspective a steep stairway can be interpreted as a “stairway to heaven”.
- The temple is named after Aruna, the Hindu God of dawn. He’s a personification of the reddish glow of the rising Sun, which is believed to have spiritual powers.
- The central tower symbolises Mount Meru of the Hindu cosmology. Mount Meru is home of the Gods and considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.
- The 4 smaller towers are devoted to the wind god, Phra Phai (also known as Vayu). He’s the deity of Life, extremely beautiful and carries a white banner. High up on the four smaller towers, you can see a statue of him, on his horse.
- The temple is beautifully decorated with tiny pieces of seashells, coloured glass and Chinese porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China. The use of ceramics and porcelain is intended to make the Temple glisten in the sun.
- Wat Arun is the final stop in Thailand’s Royal Barge Procession. It’s a ceremony of both religious and royal significance which has been taking place for nearly 700 years. The procession takes place rarely, typically coinciding with only the most significant cultural and religious events. The last one was in 2012.
Opening Hours & Entrance Fees of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok:
Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn, is open daily from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The entrance fee is 100 baht per person. Women should dress modestly and cover up from shoulders to knees. Sarongs to help you cover up can be rented.