Saturday, 26 July 2008

Wat Arun in Bangkok - The Temple of Dawn

The famous Wat Arun in Bangkok is known as The Temple of Dawn. It is also known locally by the Thais as Wat Chaeng and is situated on the West side of the Chao Phraya River. This Buddhist temple is a well known landmark and most recognize it by its massive elongated central prang. The tourism Authority of Thailand is proud to announce that the prang is 104 metres high; however others have said it is only around 70 metres high.

History of the Temple

The temple was constructed in the days of Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya. It was a host to two Buddha images; the Emerald Buddha (relocated to Wat Phra Kaew) and the Phra Bang. King Rama II, King Rama III and King Rama IV restored the temple while in reign and it was King Rama IV who named the temple Wat Arunratchawararam.


The temple is a beauty, its architecture and fine craftsmanship is of excellence. To date, it is one of the finest and most outstanding temples in Thailand. Wat Arun is decorated by seashells and Chinese porcelain bits whose origins were from the boat's ballast; these boats sailed from China to Bangkok during the rule of King Rama III. The exterior is decorated with tiny pieces of coloured glass, making it extremely spectacular at sunset and at night when the temple is lit.

Touring the Area

Walking up the stairs of the prang to catch a glimpse of the Chao Phraya river is possible, however be careful as the stairs are pretty steep. Walking around the Wat grounds is peaceful; one could view the murals, mystical guardians and Buddha image. Although the area is peaceful, the peace might be disrupted by the locals asking for donations of about 100 baht.

To get the best views and photographs of Wat Arun, it is advisable to wait till evening so as to capture the sun setting behind the attraction. However, due to the closing time (stated below), one could go into some restaurants on the other side of the river to watch the sun set and take some photos.

Opening Times and getting there

This attraction is opened daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm and the easiest way to get to Wat Arun is by taking a ferry through the river. The ferry leaves at every few minutes and it can be taken from the Tha Tien express boat pier (South-West of the Grand Palace).

Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Bangkok vacation apartments & Holiday rental accommodation.

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