Wat Arun, Bangkok

Wat Arun("Temple of the Dawn") in Bangkok is a Khmer-style Buddhist temple and major landmark on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.


History of Wat Arun

Wat Arun was built in the days of Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya, and was originally known as Wat Makok ("Olive Temple").

In the ensuring era when Thonburi was capital, King Taksin changed the name to Wat Chaeng. The temple briefly hosted the revered Emerald Buddha after it was recaptured from Laos, but it was moved to Wat Phra Kaew in 1784.

King Rama II enlarged the central prang and changed the temple's name to Wat Arunratchatharam. The work was finished by King Rama III, and King Rama IV gave the temple its current full name of Wat Arunratchawararam.

What to See at Wat Arun

Despite its name (from Aruna, the Hindu god of the dawn), the best views of Wat Arun come at sunset - there are several restaurants and coffee shops across the river that make fine viewpoints.

The outstanding feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (a prang is a Khmer-style pagoda), which is about 80 meters tall and symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, center of the universe. It is possible to climb the prang, using some very steep exterior steps, to two terraces providing fine views.

The corners are surrounded by four smaller satellite prangs, which are dedicated to the wind god Phra Phai. The prangs are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain which were used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.

Around the base of the prang are various sculptures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan.

At the riverside are six pavilions (sala) in Chinese style, made of green granite and contain landing bridges.

Next to the prangs is the Ordination Hall with the Niramitr Buddha image said to have been designed by King Rama II. The front entrance of the Ordination Hall has a roof with a central spire, decorated in coloured ceramic and stuccowork sheated in colored china.

There are two temple guardian figures in front. Characters from the Hindu epic Ramayana, the white figure is named Sahassateja and the green one is known as Tasakanth.

Quick Facts on Wat Arun

Site Information
Names:Wat Arun · Wat Arunratchawararam · Wat Jaeng · Wat Makok
Dates:18th C
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:13.743773° N, 100.489132° E
Address:Wang Doem, Bangkok Yai
Bangkok, Thailand
Hours:Daily 9am-5:30pm
Lodging:View hotels near Wat Arun
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Frommer's Thailand, 6th edition
  2. Wat Arun, Bangkok - Asian Historical Architecture
  3. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn - Into Asia
  4. Wat Arun or Wat Arunratchawararam - Bangkok Thailand Travel Guide
  5. Wat Arun - Thailand Guidebook
  6. Bangkok: Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) - Virtual Tourist user reviews
  7. Wat Arun - IgoUgo user reviews

More Information

View of Wat Arun from the river. © mykaul
Wat Arun across the river at sunset. © Hartfried Schmid
Wat Arun. © Daniel Cheong
Stairway up the main chedi of Wat Arun. © Daniel Cheong
Stairs ascending the central chedi of Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. © Yogesh Rao
Detail of the shells and porcelain pieces that cover the central chedi of Wat Arun. © Sivakumar Thyagarajan
Octobre 2006 - Voyage au Vietnam et en Thailande © Patrick Toutain
Octobre 2006 - Voyage au Vietnam et en Thailande © Patrick Toutain
© Trey Ratcliff
Rooftop at Wat Arun. © Daniel Cheong

Map of Wat Arun, Bangkok

Below is a location map and aerial view of Wat Arun. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.