Wat Arun: Most Famous Temple in Bangkok

There are 400 temples in Bangkok, Thailand. Among the hundreds of temples, Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn is considered the most famous. The temple is in Thonburi, on the west bank of Phraya River. It is a Buddhist temple which existed since the 1600s and is one of the most significant landmarks of Thailand. Arguably, the most impressive part of the temple is the central prang which is nearly 90 meters tall. Moreover, the prang is covered with colorful tiles and statues representing various figures from Hindu and Buddhist mythology and stories. The prang represents Mount Meru which is the equivalent of Mount Olympus in Greek mythology.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun takes its name from the Hindu deity Aruna which is also found in Buddhism as well. According to the myth, Aruna was the charioteer of the sun deity.

Wat Arun tiles

The original temple that existed in the same place before Wat Arun was not quite popular until the 18th century. When the Burmese invaded the northern part of the Siam Kingdom, King Taksin tried to flee the invaders and into safety. During his escape, he saw the former temple, and at the same time, the sun was setting. The king believed that this temple had symbolic importance so he renamed it and brought a very significant artifact to commemorate it: the Emerald Buddha.

Wat Arun prang

As time passed, Bangkok became the capital of Thailand and Rama II himself renamed the temple. Rama II was also the one who added the famous central prang to Wat Arun as well. One of the most interesting aspects of Wat Arun is the renovations and development of the temple never really stopped. Even in the 21st century, the Thai government fixed the exterior of the prang.

Wat Arun colorful tiles

Today, open to the public, Wat Arun is the most famous temple in Bangkok and a true landmark of Thailand.

Wat Arun during evening
the temple central prang
the temple stairs
the temple during the night
the temple prangs