Arun Wat was one of the best places I visited during my last trip to Bangkok this year. It was the sole reason for me to stay in Bangkok else I would have preferred to extend my stay in Phuket or Siem Reap.
Well, why I didn’t like Bangkok much is another story. However, Arun Wat is a must-visit place if you happen to be in Bangkok anytime.
Origin of the Name –
Popularly as well as literally known as the “Temple of Dawn” – Wat Arun Temple is one of the most astounding and artful temples in Thailand. It is situated on Thonburi – the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in the Yai District of Bangkok.
The temple is of Buddhist origin but derives its name after the Hindu God Aruna, who is known to personify the crimson glow of the almighty Sun. The same can be seen if you visit or look at the temple during sunrise. The morning light bounces off the temple which makes it glow. Hence the name.
About the Temple –
Initially, King Taksin envisioned the temple in 1768 when he established Thonburi on the West bank of the Chao Phraya river as the new capital after the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767 by the Burmese. The Thonburi Kingdom ended with the death of King Taksin in 1782. With this began the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which established Bangkok as the new capital on the other side of the Chao Phraya river.
The temple proudly stands where it is today since the 17th century and has been renamed and renovated several times during the reign of King Rama II and named it Wat Arun Rajwararam or Wat Arun for short.
The most remarkable sight of the temple which is its central prang is built in the Khmer style of architecture and dominates the skyline around the Chao Phraya River. It has a seven-prang trident on top of it and many refer it as the ‘Trident of Shiva”. Four other prangs are surrounding the central prang with Buddha images depicting his life.
It is interesting to know that the bases of the prangs depict Chinese soldiers and animals. Also, Hindu God – Indra can be seen riding an elephant on the second terrace of the main prang. The halls built around the premises are of Chines style. The Ubosot or ordination hall is the main hall with the principal Buddha image of the Wat Arun. King Rama who appraised poetry and art wholeheartedly, designed this image himself.
Each prang symbolizes different Gods & characters in Hindu mythology. E.g.: The Green colored demons represent Ravan from Ramayana.
Best Time to Visit –
As the name suggests the temple is most beautiful when visited at dawn from the east side where the sun rises. When the sun shines on the central spire, the ‘Trident of Shiva’ glows and radiance can be seen emerging from the prangs.
You can also visit the temple during the sunset to get a similar view when the setting sun throws its rays on the prangs. The temple is lit at night and can also be adorned from the opposite side for a memorable view.
Opening Hours – The Temple opens daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
How to Reach the Temple –
The temple is directly opposite of Wat Pho across the river and the best way to access it is by a boat from Than Tien Pier near the Grand Palace on the back road. Frequent boats are available to take you across the river for 3 Baht only. I took the ferry and sailed across the river for an unparalleled view of the Wat. You can also get to this pier from other piers or hire a taxi or Tuk-Tuk as per your choice. Take a day pass if you wish to visit other sites around the river else one-way pass for the express boat is the best option for visiting Wat Arun.
Tip – if you are traveling from downtown – take metered cab/taxi instead of Tuk-Tuk. There is no MRT or Skytrain subway station nearby.
Entrance Fee – 50 Thai Baht for Adults and Children
This is all I have on Wat Arun.
Do share your experience on the same. Till then Bon Voyage!
Subscribe to TrotWithMe
Keep up to date on the latest content, here at TrotWithMe.