Towering over the banks of the Chao Phraya River with its unique design and colorfully decorated spires, the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) is easily one of the most visually striking and famous landmarks in Bangkok.
Wat Arun’s star attraction is its central prang (a Khmer-style tower), which stands at 260 feet (79 meters) tall and is intricately decorated with tiny pieces of colored glass and Chinese porcelain. It’s even possible to climb the tower—although the steps are incredibly steep, the viewpoints at the top reveal stunning vistas of the winding river, with the Grand Palace and Wat Pho visible on the other side.
With its location on the west banks of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is best enjoyed as part of a canal cruise that takes in other top Bangkok attractions, such as the nearby Grand Palace. The temple can also be enjoyed from land, with many travelers opting to visit the temple, along with other major sights, on a bike tour of the Bangkok.
Insider's Tip: Although Wat Arun is a popular tourist attraction, it’s also an important place of worship for Buddhists, so be sure to dress appropriately for your visit. Modest clothing can be rented near the temple’s entrance.
The easiest way to reach the Temple of the Dawn is by taking a water taxi from Tha Tien Pier near Wat Po. By road from the city center, travelers can head to the west side of the Chao Phraya River by way of the Phra Pin-klao Bridge and follow the waterway south on Arum Amarin Road.