Wat Arun is also known as the Temple of Dawn, this impressive temple is located at the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. This is a royal temple in the highest rank and it is by far the most visited tourist attraction in Thonburi.
How to get there
These 3 baht ferries take off about every 10 to 15 minutes and operate daily from 06:00 till about 22:00.
Admission fee to the temple costs 50 bath.
Walking around the temple gardens and looking at it from a distance is free, but if you want to enter the temple compound and climb the steep stairs, it costs 50 baht (for foreigners at least).
Entering the complex can be recommended, as otherwise you won’t see the small porcelain pieces it is decorated with.
The temple grounds are opened from 07:30 till 17:30. Thousands of foreign tourists visit the temple everyday, many of them by canal tour early in the morning.
Wat Arun description
A temple has occupied this site since the Ayutthaya Period. It was first named Wat Makok, which means “Olive Temple”, named after the many olive orchards in the area. After the fall of Ayutthaya, General Taksin was at war trying to conquer Siam back from Burmese armies. When he arrived in Thonburi in the morning, he reputedly saw this magnificent temple during sunrise. Since then, the temple got the name Wat Chaeng or Wat Arun, which means the Temple of Dawn. Wat Arun served as King Taksin’s royal temple and was inside the Wang Derm Palace grounds, his personal residence. In the Thonburi Period, Wat Arun housed the recaptured Emerald Buddha for several years, before it was moved to the Grand Palace in Rattanakosin in 1785. In the Rattanakosin-era, Wat Arun lost its special status to Wat Phra Kaew in the Grand Palace, but it remained one of the most iconic temples of Thailand.
The magnificent main prang is in Thai called the Phra Prang Wat Arun. Overlooking the Chao Phraya river, it is not only the symbol of Thonburi, but a world-famous landmark and one of the most photographed icons of Thailand. The prang was originally built during the Ayutthaya Period and is in a classic Ayutthayan style. It was reconstructed and enlarged during the reign of King Rama II, and was completely finished in the reign of King Rama III. The height is reported by different sources to be between 66 and 86 metres. It was the tallest structure in Bangkok until the advent of the modern skyscraper. The main prang and its four satellite prangs are beautifully decorated with colourful broken Chinese porcelain pieces. It is believed that these broken porcelain pieces come from Chinese trade ships that were shipwrecked at sea.
Steep steps lead up to two terraces that surround the prang. From there, you have a nice view of the Chao Phraya River with the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and even downtown if you look far enough. Beside the famous central prang, be sure to take a look at the main chapel, the image hall, the Chinese style bell tower, and the open pavilions overlooking the river.
More info at WikiTravel
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