Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). Location, Opening Time, Entrance Fee and More.

Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) is one of the most famous landmarks in Bangkok. Even though the stunning main pagoda is the main star here, this temple also has other interesting buildings you may want to check them out.

Historically Wat Arun has many stories related to Wat Phra Kaew, I will do my best to tell them to help you can connect the dots easier.

History of Wat Arun

King Taksin built Wat Arun by restoring a Buddhist temple that had existed on a site since the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and then renamed it to Wat Chaeng.

The temple had enshrined the Emerald Buddha before King Rama I moved it to Wat Phra Kaew in 1785, then it was abandoned until King Rama II completely restored the temple and renamed it to “Wat Arun”.

The temple received major restorations in the reign of King Rama V, then in 1980 for Bangkok’s 200th anniversary celebrations, and the most recent and extensive restoration took place in 2013-2017.

The latest restoration got some criticism as it made the main pagoda look washed-out compared to its previous state. However, The Fine Arts Department clarified that the restoration was made to represent the temple’s original appearance. 

Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun’s official name is “Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan”. It is one of the 6 highest-class royal temples in Thailand ***

*** The highest-class royal temple always has “Rajwaramahawihan” at the end of their full name.

Attractions in Wat Arun

The Main Pagoda

The main pagoda (Phra Prang Wat Arun) is 82 meters high***, plastered with white lime and decorated with small pieces of colorful porcelain.

King Rama II planned the construction of this pagoda, which was built during the reign of King Rama III and completed in 1851 under King Rama IV.

The pagoda represents Mount Meru, the center of the universe in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The mount has 5 peaks, so it is surrounded by four smaller pagodas.

A pagoda of this importance normally enshrines a sacred relic inside, but no one knows if anything at all is enshrined inside it.

*** The height ranges between 66-86 meters, according to different sources.

King Rama II Statue

Wat Arun is considered the temple of King Rama II as the foundation of the temple today was laid during his reign.

Phra Ubosot

The main chapel enshrines “Phra Buddha Dhammisaraj Lokathat Dilok” the principal Buddha image, which King Rama II designed the head of the statue himself. Under the pedestal are some ashes of King Rama II, placed there by King Rama IV.

Wat Arun Giant

The guardian giants guard the entrance of the temple. According to the myth, these giants fought with giants from Wat Pho and the fight was stopped by giants from Wat Phra Kaew.

Little Vihara

It is believed that the Emerald Buddha was enshrined here during the reign of King Taksin. Today it enshrined a replica of Chulamanee pagoda, which is considered having equal dignity as the Emerald Buddha.

If this is a replica, then where is the real Chulamanee pagoda?

According to the Buddhist myth, Chulamanee is the pagoda that contains the hair relics and the top right canine teeth relic of the Buddha, and the real pagoda is in the heaven. You could see it in your after life if you are a good person.

Little Ubosot

King Taksin was often referred to in the history of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun, here you can finally see his statue.

This small chapel enshrines 3 sacred things.

The first one is an old Buddha statue that existed in the temple before King Taksin restored it.

The second one is a small shrine of King Taksin.

The last one is his bed, which he used to meditate on.

If you feel unlucky, want to have good fortune, or want to try it just for the experience, you can try the following steps. 

  1. Pay homage to the Buddha statue.
  2. Pay homage to King Taksin at his shrine.
  3. Make a wish and then crawl under the bed.

How to Get to Wat Arun

• The best way to get to Wat Arun is to get on a boat at Tah Tian
Tah Tian is opposite of Wat Pho and not too far from the Grand Palace, so you can’t miss it.

The Best Time to Visit Wat Arun

• The best time to visit is before 10.00 hrs and after 16.00 hrs. Because it is not too hot and the light is not too hard, making it more suitable for taking photos.
• Keep in mind that in the afternoon the sun will be directly behind the main pagoda.
• Around 18.00 hrs you can take photos of Wat Arun from another side of Chao Praya River. Many restaurants have a beautiful view of the main pagoda. If you are on budget, you may want to try this spot.

How Much Time You Need at Wat Arun

• We recommend spending 2 hours at the temple.
• 1 hour is okay but you will not be able to explore it properly.

Opening Hours, Entrance Fee

Opening Hours

Temple complex
• Daily 08.00-18.00 hrs.

Little Vihara and Little Ubosot
• Daily 08.00-17.00 hrs.

Entrance Fee

• Foreigners: 100 baht per person
• Thais: free