When it comes to must-see temples in Bangkok, Wat Arun is definitely in the top three. Everyone’s seen at least one variation of that classic riverside scenery shot with Wat Arun either captured at dreamy sunrise or stunningly lit up at night. Not only a remarkable sight thanks to its unique design, Wat Arun’s prime riverside location further adds to its appeal.
What makes this temple so exceptional? Its design represents Mount Meru, Buddhist cosmology’s centre of the world, which is located in a transcendent realm of perfection. Architectural details further reinforce this concept with carefully placed guardian gods and symbols found throughout. The highlight has to be the main ‘prang’ (Khmer-style tower) and its four minor towers. These remain the highest in Thailand, decorated with beautiful porcelain and ceramic mosaics. Their design symbolizes the earthly representation of heaven. You can even find large Yak (Thai mythical giants) guarding the temple entrances. It’s said that these two are rivals of the two Yak found guarding the Grand Palace!
Photography lovers searching for the perfect snap will be in heaven here. You can spend at least an hour exploring the temple grounds. The decorations make for a striking backdrop, with many special corners waiting to be discovered. Fun fact: While the name means “Temple of Dawn”, sunset is another ideal time to take pictures – most popularly directly across from the temple to get that classic shot.
Wat Arun is only around a 20 minutes drive from ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai. You can hop on a taxi cab and cross over to the Thonburi side of town. However, the most picturesque and charming way would be to go by boat!
Some more official details to keep in mind:
If you’re hungry for more culture, Wat Arun is directly opposite from Wat Pho, so you can visit that later too when you cross back over the river.
Be the best kind of visitor and adhere to the Wat Arun’s dress code. Show respect for the sacred space by dressing modestly. This means covering bare shoulders and no deep necklines for women. Bottoms, whether skirts or pants must be knee-length or longer. This is the same for men, shirts with sleeves and long pants are key! You also might need to leave your shoes at designated spots if you venture in to certain areas.