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Wat Arun, the temple of Dawn

What to do in Wat Arun?

Wat Arun, also known as the temple of Dawn, is a significant landmark of Bangkok, built before 1656. It’s much more modest than Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace or Wat Pho and the Giant Reclining Buddha, but its iconic shape is better known in many ways. Just look at the back of a 10 Baht coin, and you will recognise it instantly. The temple’s full name is Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawora Mahavihara, but chances are, you will never hear it.

Wat Arun Video

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The best-known part of Wat Arun is the central spire, or Prang, 66.8 to 80 metres high (depending on the sources), surrounded by four smaller towers. That iconic central building was added much later, in the 19th century. The shapes and architecture are beautiful, and while visiting, try to imagine how impressive and majestuous this monument must have been in the era they built it. Today, Bangkok is a fast-growing forest of immense towers competing in height and design, and it is good to remember there was a time when Was Arun was a jaw-dropping sight.

Wat Arun in Bangkok

The prangs are beautifully ornated with shells and pieces of colourful porcelain used as ballast in boats from China. The top is ornated with elephants, and animals and mythical soldiers surround the base.

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The Temple of Dawn was renovated in 2017 and somehow lost something. While it is still stunning and worth adding to your Must-Do in Bangkok list, it looks a little blank. This often happens with renovation, and locals mention it frequently: it’s not the same anymore. Besides, you can’t climb those famous steep stairs that were a little scary in the past!

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What’s around Wat Arun?

Like most visitors, you probably will be attracted to the leading group of stupas and get your photos and Instagram selfies done, but don’t stop your exploration yet! Walk around the entire grounds, and step into the temples on the side and behind The Temple of Dawn. The ordination hall, with its line of golden sitting Buddhas, is superb and witnessing chanting monks is a moment to appreciate, reminding you to slow down and take the time to enjoy those unique minutes.

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The group of souvenir shops by the river is where everyone goes next to the piers, but it’s very touristy and somehow old-fashioned. You can sit in the shade of the trees and buy freshly peeled mangoes with real coconut juice.

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The best way to visit the temple

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The Temple of Dawn is just opposite The Grand Palace and Wat Pho, so saving half a day to visit the three most important temples in Bangkok is a good idea. Besides, the yellow longtail boats often offer to see the temples in addition to a canal tour (Khlongs), which are also worth exploring.

More photos

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360 View of War Arun

Wat Arun Information

Location: Thonburi
Address: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600
Open: 8 am – 6 pm
Phone: 02 891 2185
Price: 50 Baht
Dress Code: No short skirts or short pants, no sleeveless t-shirts
Built: Before 1656

Wat Arun Map


Other Temples in Bangkok

FAQs about the Wat Arun

  1. Q: What is Wat Arun?

    A: Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is a significant landmark of Bangkok built before 1656. It is known for its iconic shape, including a central spire surrounded by four smaller towers.

  2. Q: When was Wat Arun built?

    A: Wat Arun was built before 1656 and last renovated in 2017. The height of Wat Arun’s central spire is 66.8 to 80 metres high.

  3. Q: What is the best time to visit Wat Arun?

    A: Wat Arun is best visited in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not too strong and the temple is less crowded.

  4. Q: Is it possible to climb the steep stairs of Wat Arun?

    A: No, It’s not possible to climb the steep stairs of Wat Arun anymore.

  5. Q: What are some things to see and do around Wat Arun?

    A: Some things to see and do around Wat Arun include exploring the temples on the side and behind the main temple, visiting the ordination hall with its line of golden sitting Buddhas, and witness chanting monks. Visitors can also sit in the shade of trees and buy freshly peeled mangoes with real coconut juice.

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Willy Thuan

Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early until I settled in Phuket in 1994. For the past 30 years, my passion for photography and my curiosity have taken me to every corner of Phuket, Bangkok and everywhere I could go in Thailand. My goal is to share my discoveries, photos and tips to help travellers plan their holidays by making Phuket 101 as easy as possible to use for everyone!