Wat Arun is one of the most popular temples in Bangkok. It’s situated in the district of Bangkok Yai at the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Thailand. This Buddhist temple is known for its prangs or spires, one of them towering at over 80 metres high. These prangs are decorated with porcelains, tiny colored glasses and seashells, which cause it to sparkle when hit by sunlight. You can climb on top of the central prang to give you a fantastic view of the surroundings. You’ll have a perfect glimpse of the gorgeous river, the Grand Palace and the Wat Pho temple, which are on its opposite side.
The history of Wat Arun dates back before Bangkok was even discovered. In 1767, the temple where Wat Arun stands, which was known as Wat Makok, was made as the capital of King Taksin’s Thonburi Kingdom. This was after Ayutthaya had fallen to the hands of the enemies. The temple was abandoned at the death of the king, which also marked the fall of the Thonburi Kingdom. King Rama II restored the temple during his reign and renamed it Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or Wat Arun.
Aside from its prangs, there are other features that are worth seeing in the temple. One of them is the main prayer room, which is called ubosot. The main image of Buddha in the temple can be found here. King Rama II personally designed the said image and its base contains his ashes. There are also attractive murals on the wall that were made during Rama V’s reign. The central prang features four Buddha images that shows the important periods of Buddha’s life including birth, first sermon, enlightenment and nirvana.
The temple is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. You need to pay an admission fee of 50 Thai Baht per person to get in. Be mindful of the dress code too in order to show respect. Do not wear revealing clothes. Wear something that would be cover your legs and arms. There are also cover-ups that you can rent near the entrance of the temple. It’s less crowded if you go there early morning, although the view is better when it gets dark because of the lights surrounding the temple and the river. To go there, you need to take a boat from Sapphan Taksin boat pier going to pier 8. There are small shuttle boats that you can ride from pier 8 to the temple.