Wat Arun


Buddhist Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn got its name from the Hindu god Aruna, a mythological being associated with the radiations of the rising sun. This wat will amaze you with is enchanting brilliance at dawn, as it is seen from almost everywhere in Bangkok thanks to its prominent prang (spire) decorated with ceramic tiles and colorful porcelain. It is believed that the main depiction of Buddha that dates back to the reign of King Rama II was created by the king himself! The ashes of King Rama II were buried in the basement of the statue.

The height of the prang (stupa in Khmer style), according to different sources, varies from 66.8 and 86 meters. This is the tallest prang in Thailand. The prang symbolizes the Meru Mount, and its levels stand for multiplicity of the universe. The main prang is surrounded by four smaller prangs, also decorated with seashells and pieces of porcelain that were used earlier as ballast on vessels coming to Bangkok from China. At the corners of the prangs the niches house equestrian statues of the god of wind named Vayu.

The construction of the prangs started under King Rama II (1809-1824) and completed already during the reign of King Rama III (1824-1851). Narrow and steep steps lead to the balcony of the central prang. By the basis of the temple there are various sculptures of Chinese soldiers and animals.

This wat exists from as early as the 17th century. Then it was known under the name of Wat Makok, after Bang Makok village where it was situated. King Taksin the Great renamed it to Wat Chaeng after the new capital of Thonburi was established following the destruction of Ayutthaya. There is a legend that Taksin promised to restore the wat when he saw it at dawn. Interestingly enough this was the very place the Emerald Buddha was housed before it was taken to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. After Taksin's death the wat was abandoned for a long period of time and only when the power was assumed by King Rama II, who restored the temple, this magnificent building returned all of its brilliance.

Next to the prang there is the ubosot guarded by two demons or, as they are called, guardians of the wat. The frescoes of the ubosot were created during the reign of Rama V.

Address: 158 Wang Doem Rd, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai
Opening hours: daily 8.30 am – 5.30 pm
How to reach: Tha Tien pier, buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 62, 91
Coordinates: 13.74391, 100.48852