The ceramics-covered towers of Wat Arun
Also known as the Temple of Dawn (ever since the soon-to-be King Taksin landed on the site at sunrise in October 1767), this is one of Bangkok’s oldest monuments and one of Thailand’s most iconic landmarks (it’s the image you see on the 10-baht coin). Its architectural style, inspired by Hindu-Buddhist cosmology, is actually unique in the country, with a central pagoda standing at 82 meters tall (270 ft) and symbolizing the mythical Mount Meru (home of the gods).
It can be seen from different parts of the city, soaring above the Chao Phraya River, on the west bank. The stunning towers, which you may actually climb for bird’s-eye views of the complex and the river, are covered in pieces of colorful Chinese ceramics discarded by Chinese traders who worked at the port nearby, and date back to the early 1800s. The steep steps represent the difficulty of reaching higher levels of existence.
Other structures in the complex were added over time, including shrines, ponds, and a pair of yaksa (giant) statues. It was briefly home to the Emerald Buddha, which is now in Wat Phra Kaew, and still features 120 Buddha images.
A pair of yaksa welcoming tourists to the temple
The best time for a visit is at sunset, when it’s especially stunning seen from the river, as the sun shines from the west, lighting up the spire. It’s also beautifully illuminated in a golden glow at night.
Opening hours: 7:30am-5:30pm
Tickets: 50 baht
How to get to Wat Arun
Buddha images surround the temple
Stay by Wat Arun
Wat Arun seen from the river at sunset