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Wat Arun

The Wat Arun or the Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan is a Budhist temple in Bangkok. Also known as the Temple of Dawn, the Wat Arun is one of the most popular Thailand landmarks and a must see for anybody who travels here. The original temple that was built on the Wat Arun site was known as Wat Makok and it was even showed on the French maps.

One of the biggest parts of the temple is the central prang, which is encrusted in porcelain and with a height reported to be between 66.8 meters and 86 meters. There are also smaller prangs that are decorated with various seashells and porcelain and there’s also the Buddha image that seems to have been molded by king Rama II himself. What is known is that the ashes of King Rama have been used in the base of the image as he was the king who restored the once abandoned temple here on the site and built what is today known as the Wat Arun. Actually, the construction of the highest prang was created by King Rama during 1809 and 1824 and was continued by King Rama the third during 1824 and 1851. At the base of the prang there are different figures that represent the ancient Chinese soldiers and animals and the towers are supported by demons and monkeys. There is also a balcony on the central tower where you can have a wonderful view. The second terrace features statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan.

Near the prang there is the Ordination Hall that features a Niramitr Buddha image that was designed by King Rama II and on the front entrance the Hall has a roof with a central spire decorated with ceramic and stuccowork sheeted colored china. The temple is filled with symbolism, the central prang symbolizing Mount Meru in the Hindu mythology and cosmology and the smaller prangs are devoted to Phra Phai, the wind god.

You can easily access the Wat Arun from the Chao Pharaya River. You can catch a ferry there and travel across the river towards the Maharaj pier. For foreigners there is an entrance fee and the Wat Arun is very busy during the festivals. You can even catch a glimpse of the Royal Kathin and the king during the processing to present new robes to the monks after their lent period has passed. It is a wonderful view that travelers shouldn’t miss.