Adelind Bozarth

Written by Adelind Bozarth

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bangkok, Thailand. With its stunning architecture and rich historical significance, this temple attracts millions of visitors each year. But beyond its beauty lies a plethora of fascinating facts that make Wat Arun truly enigmatic.

In this article, we will delve into 20 intriguing facts about Wat Arun that will leave you amazed and eager to explore this enchanting place. From its architectural wonders to its religious symbolism, each aspect of Wat Arun has its own captivating story to tell.

So, buckle up and get ready to uncover the mysteries and secrets that lie behind the majestic facade of Wat Arun.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is a majestic landmark in Bangkok, Thailand, with a rich history, stunning architecture, and cultural significance that captivates visitors from around the world.
  • With its blend of Khmer and Thai architectural styles, Wat Arun is a symbol of Thailand’s spiritual heritage, offering breathtaking views, enchanting nighttime displays, and a sense of peace and harmony for all who visit.
Table of Contents

The Temple of Dawn

Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Bangkok, Thailand. Its name is derived from the Hindu god Aruna, who is often depicted as the charioteer of the sun.

A Majestic Riverside Location

Situated on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun offers a breathtaking view, especially during sunrise and sunset when the temple shimmers in golden light.

Architectural Marvel

Wat Arun showcases a mesmerizing blend of Khmer and Thai architectural styles. The central prang, or tower, stands at an impressive height of 79 meters and is adorned with intricate porcelain designs.

The Emerald Buddha Connection

Inside the ordination hall of Wat Arun, you can find a stunning replica of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most revered statues in Thailand. The original Emerald Buddha is housed in Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, in Bangkok.

Legends and Mythology

According to legend, Wat Arun is believed to be the place where the gods descended to build the world. The temple’s design and intricate details reflect the mythical tales associated with creation and the afterlife.

The Coveted Prang

The central prang of Wat Arun is said to enclose a relic of Lord Buddha. This makes it one of the most important sacred sites for Buddhists in Thailand.

Historical Significance

Wat Arun dates back to the Ayutthaya period and has witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties. The temple has been through numerous renovations and remains a significant symbol of Thai cultural heritage.

The Annual Temple Fair

Every year, Wat Arun hosts a vibrant temple fair during the Chinese New Year. The event showcases traditional performances, food stalls, and a spectacular firework display.

The Temple of the Dawn or the Temple of Light?

While Wat Arun is commonly referred to as the Temple of Dawn, it is also known as the Temple of Light. This alternative translation reflects the temple’s radiant beauty, especially when illuminated at night.

A Magnet for Photographers

With its stunning architectural features and picturesque riverside location, Wat Arun is a favorite spot for photographers from around the world. The temple’s intricate details and unique perspectives offer endless opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots.

The Khmer Influences

Khmer-style towers, known as prangs, are prominent features of Wat Arun. These structures are reminiscent of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and highlight the historical and cultural connections between the two countries.

A Stairway to Heaven

Climbing the steep steps of Wat Arun’s central prang can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. As you ascend, you are greeted with panoramic views of Bangkok and the river, creating a sense of serenity and awe.

The Guardians of the Temple

Two massive demon statues, known as Yaksha, stand guard at the entrance of Wat Arun. These mythical creatures are believed to protect the temple from evil spirits and ensure the safety and sanctity of the premises.

A Symbol of Peace and Prosperity

Wat Arun plays a significant role in Thai culture and spirituality. Many locals visit the temple to offer prayers and seek blessings for peace, harmony, and prosperity in their lives.

The Ritual of Ordination

Wat Arun continues to serve as a venue for ordination ceremonies, where individuals dedicate themselves to a life of Buddhist teachings. These ceremonies are considered pivotal moments in the lives of those who choose to become monks or novices.

The Four Directions

Each side of the central prang at Wat Arun faces a cardinal direction: north, south, east, and west. This alignment is symbolic of the interconnectedness between humans and the universe, emphasizing the balance and harmony sought in Buddhism.

The Annual Rite of Passage

Every year on Wan Khuhaa Prajaad, the 19th day of the waning moon in the 7th lunar month, locals gather at Wat Arun for the sacred rite of releasing fish into the river. This act is believed to bring good luck and appease the river spirits.

A Cultural Landmark

Wat Arun is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic and cultural significance. Its unique architecture and spiritual value make it a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike.

A Nighttime Spectacle

When night falls, Wat Arun is bathed in a captivating display of lights, revealing its true grandeur. The temple’s illuminated beauty creates a magical atmosphere that leaves visitors spellbound.

Revitalizing the Icon

Wat Arun is an ongoing restoration project, with periodic renovations aimed at preserving its architectural integrity. These efforts ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate the splendor and allure of this enigmatic landmark.

As one explores the 20 enigmatic facts about Wat Arun, it becomes evident why this temple holds such intrigue and fascination. Its rich history, architectural marvels, and cultural significance make it a symbol of Thailand’s spiritual heritage. Whether you visit at sunrise or sunset, or admire it from across the river, Wat Arun’s mesmerizing presence never fails to leave a lasting impression.


Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, is truly a mesmerizing landmark that captivates both locals and tourists alike. Its rich history, intricate architecture, and stunning views make it a must-visit destination in Bangkok. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture lover, or simply seeking a unique experience, Wat Arun won’t disappoint.

With its towering spires, dazzling mosaics, and tranquil surroundings, Wat Arun is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Thai artisans. Exploring the temple complex is like embarking on a journey through time, where ancient legends and spiritual traditions come to life.

So, don’t miss the chance to visit Wat Arun and immerse yourself in its enigmatic beauty. Witness the breathtaking sunrise or sunset over the Chao Phraya River, and discover the secrets hidden within the temple’s walls. It’s an experience that will leave you awe-inspired and with memories to treasure for a lifetime.


1. How did Wat Arun get its name?
Wat Arun, which translates to the Temple of Dawn, got its name from the Hindu god Aruna, who is associated with the rising sun.

2. When was Wat Arun built?
Wat Arun was built during the Ayutthaya period in the early 19th century, but it underwent significant renovations during the Rattanakosin era.

3. Is there an entrance fee to visit Wat Arun?
Yes, there is an entrance fee for foreigners. The fee helps with the maintenance and preservation of the temple.

4. Can I climb to the top of Wat Arun?
Yes, visitors are allowed to climb to the top of Wat Arun’s central prang. However, please exercise caution as the steps are steep.

5. What is the best time to visit Wat Arun?
The best time to visit Wat Arun is during sunrise or sunset when the temple is bathed in golden hues and offers stunning photo opportunities.

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