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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Some Things You Should Know About Wat Arun - Witness the Beauty of Wat Arun
Joanna James Joanna James
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Some Things You Should Know About Wat Arun - Witness the Beauty of Wat Arun

One of Thailand's most iconic landmarks, Wat Arun is not only a striking sight but also holds great historical significance.


The History

Wat Arun was initially established because the King of Thonburi shifted the capital from Krung Si Ayutthaya to Krung Thonburi. The temple was initially called Wat Makok. Wat Makok was used to enshrine the Emerald Buddha the King had brought with him but since then the Emerald Buddha had been transferred to Wat Phra Kaew. King Rama II carried out extensive restorations on the temple and by King Rama IV.


Unique Attractions

Wat Arun has a Khmer-style tower, known as a prang, which is over 80 metres in height and is adorned with shattered colourful porcelain tiles and seashells. Broken Chinese porcelain as a common decoration during the early Rattanakosin period as Chinese ships used to discarded porcelain used as ballast at the port of Bangkok. The interior of Wat Arun is also a worth viewing as the central Buddha engraving is said to have been designed by King Rama II. Regardless of its origin, the image is remarkable as it entails a detailed depiction of Prince Siddhartha's experiences outside his palace walls.


Religious Significance

The name of the temple was subsequently changed to Wat Arun in honour of the Hindu God, Aruna. The steep stairway located in the middle of the prang is meant to represent the 'stairway to heaven' and the central tower symbolises the home of the Gods in Hindu mythology. Wat Arun is also one of six select Royal Temples and is one of the most revered temples in the country. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Wat Arun is an important place of worship for Buddhists. Visitors should dress appropriately or cover-ups can be rented near the entrance.


The Best Time for Viewing

The temple can be visited during opening hours and the quietest hours are during the early morning. However, to best admire the beauty of this awe-inspiring landmark, visitors may wish to book a Chao Phraya cruise. A cruise along the river will allow visitors to admire Wat Arun against the backdrop of the riverside and city. There are many reputed cruise providers available, including Anantara Cruises. While the purpose of the broken porcelain decorations is to reflect the sun, the temple dazzles both during the day and at night.


Practical Information

The entrance is located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River and it costs a mere 3 Baht to cross over from Tha Thien Pier. Wat Arun is open all year long from 8 am to 5.30 pm and the entrance fee is 100 Baht. It is best to set aside at least an hour to explore the temple. A visit to Wat Arun can be easily combined with a visit to the famous reclining Buddha temple, Wat Pho, which is across the river.

No visit to Bangkok would be complete without taking in the beauty of the majestic Wat Arun.