Wat Arun Ratchavararam

A Guide to Wat Arun Ratchavararam: Thailand’s Iconic Temple (2024)

Are you fascinated by Thai temples? Who wouldn’t, right? They are spectacular and beautiful. With so much culture and traditions, the temples in Thailand are unique and they standout. Be it Wat Arun Ratchavararam in Bangkok or Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, they are all architectural marvels. In this post, you will find the information on visiting Wat Arun Ratchavararam in Bangkok.

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About Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Commonly known as Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun Ratchavararam is a Buddhist temple located on the bank of Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. One of the notable things to see in the temple is a sacred image of the Buddha.

History of Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Named after the Hindu God Aruna (charioteer of Surya, the Sun God), the temple is a place of worship and meditation for both monks and visitors. It is considered as a symbol of the dawn of a new era.

History of Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Originally known as Wat Makok, Wat Arun Ratchavararam dates back to the Ayutthaya period. The temple was then renamed as Wat Chaeng by General Taksin of Thonburi Kingdom and it is believed that the general vowed to restore the temple. According to the story, when the Burmese armies conquered the Ayutthaya Kingdom, General Taksin marched with his army to conquer it back, he arrived and saw the temple at dawn.

The successor of General Taksin, King Rama I moved the palace to the other side of River Chao Phraya as the temple was on the grounds of royal palace. Unfortunately, the temple was then later abandoned. But in the 19th century during the reign of King Rama II, the temple was renovated and restored.

Sculpture at Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Notable features and architecture

The main feature of the temple is the tall tower like structure named Prang. Built in a combination of Thai and Khmer-style architecture, the prang is a distinctive structure in the complex. Interpreted as the stupa-like pagoda, this tower is decorated by shells, tin-glazed pottery, and colourful porcelain. Overlooking the river, the tower is somewhere between 66 and 86 metres.

Female Traveler at Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Some of the other notable features in the temple premises are:

  • Seven-pronged trident on top of the central prang that is referred as Trident (Trishul) of Shiva.
  • Four smaller satellite prang surrounding the corners of central prang that are devoted to the wind god.
  • Figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals at the base of central prang.
  • Four statues of Lord Indira riding on Airavata (also called Erawan) on the second terrace. Airavata is the Kind of Elephants which is white in colour and has four tusks and seven trunks.
  • Niramitr Buddha image in the Ordination Hall.
  • Two door keepers (yaksha) or the temple guardian figures in the front.
  • Chinese style bell tower.

In Buddhism there are three symbolic levels. Ground or the base for Triphum indicating the realms of existence, middle for Tavatimsa indicating the Tusita Heaven where desires are gratified and the top for Devaphum indicating the sic heavens within seven realms of happiness. The central prang in the temple is considered to have these three levels.

Trivia: The Emerald Buddha was at Wat Arun Ratchavararam before it was moved to Wat Phra Kaew in 1785.

Visitor Information

  • The temple is open everyday between 8 AM and 6 PM. But the best time to visit the temple is either in the morning or just before the sunset so you can witness the temple during the golden hour.
  • There is an entrance fee of Thai Baht 50 per person for foreigners that you can purchase at the entrance of the temple.
  • You need at least one or two hours at the temple to see everything.
  • As this is a religious place, ensure to dress modestly and respect the culture. There is a strict dress code where you need to cover your shoulders and knees.
  • The temple is located close to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, so you can visit this temple along with those landmarks.
  • There are many terraces in the temple and you can climb up to those terraces to get an amazing view of the Chao Phraya River.
  • During the Buddhist festival of Kathina, the Kind travels to the temple in Royal Barge Procession to present new robes to the monks.

How to get to Wat Arun Ratchavararam?

The temple is accessible by a few different ways.

  • By Ferry – The most picturesque way is by taking a ferry directly to the temple for a minimal fee of Thai Bhat 4 per person. You need to reach Tha Tien Pier (N8) first and from there you can take a short ferry ride across the Chao Phraya River to reach the temple. The ferry operates everyday between 6 AM and 10 PM, and is scheduled to leave every 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Tha Tien Pier (N8) is also accessible by a boat ride from Sathorn Pier. You will need to take Chao Phraya Express Boat.
  • By Taxi – There are many taxi drivers or Tuk Tuk drivers who can drive you directly to the temple. Make sure to agree on the fare before getting into the taxi or the Tuk Tuk.

Safety for Solo Female Travelers

Bangkok is very safe for solo female travelers. I have been to the city alone and visited this temple during that trip as well and I did not have any major issues as such. The only thing was that the Tuk Tuk driver demanded extra money after reaching the destination but other than that it was totally fine. However, like any other major city in the world, be cautious and know your surroundings, especially at night.

Beautiful Sculpture at Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Wat Arun Ratchavararam

Q: What is Wat Arun Ratchavararam?

Frequently known as Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arum Ratchavararam is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok.

Q: Can tourists visit Wat Arum Ratchavararam?

Yes, the temple is open to tourists.

Q: What is the entrance fee of Wat Arum Ratchavararam?

For Thai residents, it is free. And for foreigners, it is Thai Baht 100 per person.

Q: What is the opening hours of Wat Arum Ratchavararam?

The temple is open everyday between 8 AM and 6 PM.

Q: Is there any dress code for Wat Arum Ratchavararam?

Yes, there is a strict dress code for the temple. You need to cover you shoulders and knees.

Q: What is the best time to visit Wat Arum Ratchavararam?

The best time to visit the temple is either in the morning or just before the sunset.

Closing Notes

Wat Arun Ratchavararam is an extremely beautiful and interesting temple to visit when you are in Bangkok. The detailing of all the works in the temple are mesmerising. I highly recommend adding this temple to your itinerary.

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