Wat Arun or The Temple of Dawn is definitely a must-visit attraction in Bangkok. It’s more than just a religious site; it’s actually a piece of the country’s history.
This is where King Taksin landed after the fall of Ayutthaya during the Burmese invasion. Because he reached the place shortly before sunrise, the temple is often called the “Temple of Dawn”. And it was at this place that he built a shrine that would now become the famous Wat Arun.
Its location makes it more mesmerizing because it nestles on the side of the beautiful Chao Phraya River. And if you want to see more of this stunning landmark, here’s a detailed guide for you to know the beautiful sights of Wat Arun with pictures and also how to get there easily.
So, let’s begin this guide by knowing why you should visit this famous attraction in Bangkok.
Why Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn) Is So Popular in Bangkok
Wat Arun’s popularity is pretty impressive. It is dubbed as one of the most spectacular temples in Thailand with a very scenic location. Nestled on a riverbank, many tourists love the combination of the magnificent religious towers and the picturesque river views.
This Buddhist temple is definitely a perfect place to watch the sunrise or even the sunset. And because of the breath-taking sights surrounding the temple, Wat Arun has become a tourist-favourite since its public opening.
To give you an overview, here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t miss Wat Arun.
- It existed for many centuries, making it one of the oldest temples in the country.
- It houses not just sacred Buddha structures but also giant guardian statues and Chinese warrior sculptures.
- It is bounded by towering prangs with multi-coloured walls and refined mosaics.
- It is loaded with picturesque spots that perfect for photo shooting.
- It is right across another top-rated attractions, which are the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
Now, are you all set to know about the must-see attractions in Wat Arun? Here’s everything you need to about famous tourist spot in Bangkok.
Wat Arun’s Beautiful Attractions
The Main Prang (Khmer-style tower)
At Wat Arun, it’s difficult to miss these gigantic pagodas surrounding the entire complex. This is an eye-catching attraction that outlines the amazing craftsmanship of the Thai people.
Though the temple was established during the 17th century, it took 2 more centuries for it to be recognized.
The construction of the prangs (Khmer-style towers) started during the 19th century, under the leadership of Rama II. It was then completed by Rama III. After years of detailed artistry, the temple now showcases one main tower bounded by smaller towers and an ordination hall.
This is the entrance to the main prang of Wat Arun. Even from afar, you can already witness the spectacular beauty of this 70-meter grand prang. The impressive Khmer architectural style radiates all over the complex.
The main prang, in particular, is beautifully bounded with colourful Chinese porcelain tiles and vibrant spires. It’s truly a picturesque spot.
Continue your journey to the walkway of the tower that will give you a scenic view of the river and cityscape. And don’t forget to take a closer look at the decorated walls that carve the history of the temple.
All the multi-coloured mosaics illustrate one of the most popular beautifications during the Rattanakosin period. During the earlier centuries, broken and colourful porcelain tiles were casted-off by Chinese ships at Bangkok port.
After your tour above, there’s more to see and appreciate at the base of the main prang. Here, you can find more interesting sights that will make you fall in love with Wat Arun even more.
Take a moment to appreciate the unique figures scattered around the prang’s base. These are a remarkable representation of the early history and cultural charm of the country.
Because of its long-running history, the temple had to undergo an extensive renovation to restore its intricate designs and patterns. It was temporarily closed for 3 years to make sure that everything is secured and in place.
Carry on with your tour around the temple and enjoy all its amazing sceneries. Its surrounding designs are definitely worth the visit. No wonder it’s one of the most visited locations in the country.
Because of its towering beauty, the Wat Arun pagodas can be a great backdrop to your photos! The entire landscape is breath-taking from morning until evening. So, whatever time of the day you visit, you’ll have a chance to witness its beauty.
Aside from the intricate patterns of Chinese porcelain, there are also striking Chinese warrior sculptures within the complex. You can find these stone statues at the base of the grand pagoda.
Here’s a picture of an ancient Chinese sculpture that acts as a guardian of the temple. Aside from its religious representation, these statues were part of the history between Thailand and China. China was one of the active exporters of the country many centuries ago.
The main pagoda isn’t the only attraction in the temple complex. There are smaller pagodas that also deserve your attention. Even if these are smaller, you can still distinguish its cultural beauty because of the elaborate designs and patterns.
These smaller pagodas still feature the remarkable Khmer style and the spectacular Chinese porcelain patterns.
The Ordination Hall
Apart from the sky-high prangs, you’ll have the opportunity to see another religious site in this popular religious compound. And that is no other than the Ordination Hall, which is located next to the pyramid portion. This striking building shelters a golden Niramitr Buddha Statue, which was said to be designed by King Rama III himself.
As you enter the Ordination Hall entrance, you’ll see the temple giant guardian figures. These towering stone guards aren’t just simple statues. These are definitely a work of art filled with vibrant designs and colours.
The exterior of the Ordination Hall is simply a sight to marvel. The white columns perfectly blend with the classic gold and red roof.
Also, worth-mentioning are the unique sculptures and lush scenery that enclose the sacred building.
The Ordination Hall is considered the holiest place in the entire temple complex. This is where most rituals are performed in front of the golden Niramitr Buddha statue.
These beautiful mural paintings are not just for fancy decorations. The mural paintings are represented the life story of Buddha before founding Buddhism. It is said that the murals were created during the period of Rama V.
Other than this, there is another golden buddha statue located beside the Ordination Hall where you can visit as well. Apart from the buddha image, the inside of the temple is filled with marble illustrations and sophisticated murals.
After all the walking and touring around the temple, relax and simply enjoy the lush garden and pavilions. The green scenery effortlessly complements the scenic riverside and towering structures of this remarkable temple.
Wat Arun Entrance Fee and Opening Hours
8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
50 Baht per person
Dress Code at Wat Arun
Like most temples, it’s important that you wear the appropriate clothing so that you’re allowed to enter the Wat Arun complex.
Dress code for men:
- Should wear short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts
- Should wear long pants or short pants that cover the knees
- Can wear comfortable footwear like sandals, shoes, and flip-flops
- Shouldn’t wear sleeveless shirts
- Shouldn’t wear clothing with disrespectful slogans or images
- Shouldn’t wear torn clothes and pants
Dress code for women:
- Should wear long skirts or trousers that extend to the knee
- Can wear short-sleeved top or T-shirt
- Can wear long dresses that cover your shoulder
- Can wear comfortable footwear like sandals, shoes, and flip-flops
- Shouldn’t wear sleeveless shirts, tank tops, and see-through outfits
- Shouldn’t wear short dresses, miniskirts, short pants, and leggings
- Shouldn’t wear clothing with disrespectful slogans or images
If you prefer wearing short pants, make sure you bring a Sarong to cover your legs. In case you forget to bring one, don’t worry because there’s a stall near the ticket counter that rents Sarong. It’s priced at 20 Baht.
5 Important Tips for Visiting Wat Arun
1. How long do you need to spend at Wat Arun temple?
Normally, you can complete the tour around the temple for an hour. But if you have extra time, 2 hours would be enough. This will give you time not just to explore the entire complex but also to relax and have fun.
2. When is the best time to visit Wat Arun temple?
The best time to explore the temple is during early morning. At this time, there are still few visitors and the sun is not yet too hot. If you can’t visit in the morning, it’s advisable to go to the place around 4 PM which can also help you to avoid crowds.
3. Prepare some small change
To save time, it’s highly recommended that you prepare some small change before you visit Wat Arun. Sometimes, the ticket counters for the boat rides and the temple might not have enough change. So, it’s best that you have some small notes in your pocket like – 20 Baht, 50 Baht and 100 Baht.
4. Beware of tuk-tuk scammers
There are some local scammers who may approach and inform you that the temple is closed. They will then offer you a cheap tuk-tuk tour instead. Beware of this scheme because the temple is open daily, from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
5. Don’t miss the nearby attractions – Grand Palace and Wat Pho
Did you know that Wat Arun is very near to other top attractions like Grand Palace and Wat Pho?
Just like Wat Arun, Grand Palace and Wat Pho are also very popular in Bangkok, with millions of travellers per year.
Each of these famous attractions has its own beautiful features. But what makes it more amazing is that all 3 tourist spots are located near each other! This means you can actually tick all of these sites off your bucket list in just one day.
And that’s what I did during my holiday in Bangkok.
If you want to know more about Bangkok’s most famous landmark, check out my blog here: Grand Palace Bangkok. Or, if you want to get more details about the well-liked Buddhist temple complex, see here: Wat Pho Bangkok.
And to help you plan out your trip properly, here’s my suggested route to help you visit these 3 famous spots in one day.
- Grand Palace ⇒ Wat Pho ⇒ Wat Arun
How to Get to Wat Arun by BTS and Boat
Save time and money by taking the BTS Skytrain and Chao Phraya Express Boat. This is the easiest way to get to Wat Arun temple without breaking the bank.
The first step is to take the Silom Line going to Saphan Taksin BTS Station. Then, head to the Exit 2 of the station. At the end of the Exit 2, climb down the stairs. Go straight for around a minute, and you’ll spot the Sathorn Pier on the left side.
Right after, hop aboard the Orange Flag Boat (Chao Phraya Express Boat) to Tha Tien Pier. Once you alight from the Orange Flag Boat at the Tha Tien Pier, catch the cross-river ferry over there. This will bring you to the opposite side of the river where the Wat Arun temple is located.
To have a detailed view of the instructions, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go to Wat Arun by BTS Skytrain and Boat.
A Step-by-step Guide on Getting to Wat Arun by BTS and Orange Flag Boat
1. The very first step is to take the Silom Line that will bring you to Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
2. Then, get off the Skytrain at Saphan Taksin BTS Station and head to the Exit 2. The Sathorn Pier is just a minute away from the Exit 2 of the Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
3. At the Exit 2 of Saphan Taksin BTS Station, take the stairs down.
4. Walk straight for less than a minute and turn left. This is where you’ll find Sathorn Pier.
5. Then, go straight and you’ll see the ticketing booth that sells the Orange Flag Boat ticket.
6. This is the ticketing booth where you can buy the Orange Flag Boat Ticket. It’s not hard to find the ticketing booth. Just look for the spot with a sign “Chao Phraya Express Boat (Orange Flag)”. The one-way boat fare is 15 Baht per person. This amount is already the fixed rate regardless of the jetty where you get off.
7. After buying your boat ticket, follow the queue for the Orange Flag Boat. The travel duration from Sathorn Pier to Tha Tien Pier is around 15 minutes. And, you won’t have a hard time looking for the right place to get off. It’s because there’s a signboard that shows the pier name, so just check if it’s “Tha Tien Pier”.
8. Upon arrival at Tha Tien Pier, you will need to catch the cross-river ferry.
9. The cross-river ferry will bring you to the opposite side of the river, where the popular temple is situated.
10. It will take around 3 minutes to cross from Tha Tien Pier to Wat Arun Pier. And in case you miss the cross-river ferry, nothing to worry because it will go back. It caters passengers every 10 to 15 minutes. The fare for the cross-river ferry boat is 4 Baht per person. You can buy it upon arrival at Tha Tien Pier. And for the return trip, just reverse the steps listed above.
For a more pictographic guideline on how to reach Wat Arun via BTS Skytrain and Orange Flag Boat, see the Google Maps below. This will give you a better idea of how to reach the place.
Summary: Saphan Taksin BTS Station to Wat Arun
- After you get off the Silom Line at Saphan Taksin BTS Station, look for the Exit 2.
- Go down the stair at the Exit 2 and then go straight ahead in less than a minute, you’ll discover Sathorn Pier located on your left.
- Purchase Orange Flag Boat ticket at the ticketing booth over there.
- Line up to board the Orange Flag Boat to Tha Tien Pier.
- You should get off the Orange Flag Boat at Tha Tien Pier and then take a cross-river ferry to Wat Arun Pier.
- Finally, Wat Arun temple just in front of you.
Estimated Time Required = Orange Flag Boat + Cross-river Ferry Boat
= 15 minutes + 3 minutes
= 18 minutes
Estimated Travel Cost = Orange Flag Boat Fare + Cross-river Ferry Boat Fare
= 15 Baht + 4 Baht
= 19 Baht
How to Go Back from Wat Arun
For the return trip, it’s very easy. Simply purchase the cross-river ferry ticket at Wat Arun Pier for only 4 Baht per person. This is the same amount as the ticket purchased at Tha Tien Pier.
After, take the cross-river ferry from Wat Arun to Tha Tien Pier. Then, board the Orange Flag Boat from Tha Tien Pier to Sathorn Pier.
Take a Tour to Wat Arun, Grand Palace and Wat Pho
Wat Arun is not just a breath-taking temple. It’s beautifully positioned near two famous attractions― Wat Pho and Grand Palace. Because of its strategic location, you can visit all 3 spots in one day!
If you don’t have enough time to plan for your trip, simply avail of the tour. This is the perfect option for busy individuals who can’t plan out their trip due to full working schedules.
With this tour, you’ll be able to see all these 3 top-rated attractions at once. Plus, you won’t have to worry about what public transportation to take or what particular pier to visit.
In addition, this tour will let you experience the scenic longtail boat cruise that goes around Chao Phraya River. This cruise will show you with panoramic views of different iconic landmarks in the city.
So, if you want to see these 3 popular attractions, take the tour, relax, and enjoy! The tour is led by a professional local tour guide, who are well-organized so you’ll reach all the attractions easily and comfortably.
Want to know the feedback made by previous travellers regarding my recommended tour? Simply check out the reviews here to see what previous visitors have said about this tour.
For the latest price, assembly location, itinerary, and actual departure & return time, see the link below.
Visiting Wat Arun Nearby Attractions Guide
1. Wat Arun to Wat Pho
Another nearby attraction of Wat Arun is Wat Pho. To reach Wat Pho, you just take the cross-river ferry from Wat Arun Pier to Tha Tien Pier. The boat fare is only 4 Baht per person.
After you alight from the ferry boat, head out of the pier and walk straight for a couple of 3 minutes.
I’ve also prepared Google Maps below so you can easily navigate from Wat Arun to Wat Pho.
2. Wat Arun to Grand Palace
If you’re from Wat Arun, you can also visit next the Grand Palace. The route is also pretty easy because you’ll just have to take the cross-river ferry from Wat Arun Pier to Tha Tien Pier.
The boat fare is only 4 Baht per person. From Tha Tien Pier, just walk for about 11 minutes, and then you’ll see Grand Palace.
For you to have a more convenient way of going from Wat Arun to Grand Palace, just check the Google Maps below.
Wat Arun is more than just a religious site that was created to honor the god of dawn―Arun. After many centuries, Wat Arun still stands to be one of the most scenic temples in the Bangkok. So, make sure you include this on your top spots to visit in the Bangkok!
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you find lots of interesting facts about this top-rated attraction. And hopefully, it will help you in preparing for your own Wat Arun trip in the future.
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Once again, thanks a lot and wishing you a fun, convenient, and enjoyable trip to Wat Arun!