Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn

This famous Bangkok landmark is on the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River, directly opposite the Grand Palace complex and easily accessible by boat from the Bangkok side. The temple dates back to the Ayutthaya period. The temple was enlarged by King Rama II and King Rama III. Renovations were completed in the reign of King Rama IV. The Emerald Buddha was enshrined in this temple for a brief period before King Rama I built the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo on the Bangkok side.

The landmark of this temple is a 79-metre-tall massive central pagoda, “Phra Prang”, and four smaller ones at each corner. The ornamentation of the central pagoda consists of encrusted pieces of porcelain which sparkle in the sun. Despite its name, the best photographic opportunities are in the late afternoon with the sun setting in the red sky behind the temple.

To visit the temple, shuttle boats from the Tha Tian Pier at the south-west side of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo area are provided regularly. The Chao Phraya Express Boat stops at the Tha Tian Pier and there are several Thon Buri canal tours, which include the temple. Enter the temple from 7.00 a.m. to 5.20 p.m. for 20 baht. Website: www.watarun.org constructed in the early 19th century and there are four smaller chapels constructed on each of its corners.

The main Buddha image, Phra Si Sakayamuni was orginally cast in the Sukhothai period (1238-1438 A.D.) Eight-metres tall, on a six-metre pedestal, the image is the largest bronze-cast one in the kingdom and considered one of the most beautiful Buddha images in Thailand. The cloisters within the complex are pleasantly quiet and contain many Buddha images. With an admission fee of 20 baht, the temple is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Website: www.watsuthat.org