Last Updated 12/11/2019.
Wat Arun, The Temple of The Dawn or Wat Arun Ratchawararam stands on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River at Thonburi in Central Bangkok. It is almost immediately opposite the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. A small shuttle ferry will take you to Wat Arun’s doorstep via Maharaj Pier. The temple catches the morning light and its ceramic mosaic prangs reflect it perfectly. Wat Arun dates from the 1600 s but the main prangs date from the reign of King Rama II. There is a small entry fee to this Buddhist temple for tourists, around 50 Baht. Small children should be free.
We have been to most of the big Wats in Bangkok, several times. The kids’ two favourites are Wat Po and Wat Arun, they ask to go back every time we’re in Bangkok. With Wat Arun, it’s the river taxi ride to get there and climbing the prangs that attract them. At Wat Po I think they just enjoy exploring the grounds and, of course, the huge reclining Buddha is spectacular. So if you’re in Bangkok with kids don’t limit yourself to “for kids” attractions, even small children can get a lot out of the cultural sites too.
I’ve been to Wat Arun twice in the two weeks we’ve been in Bangkok. That must be some sort of record? I guess it’s one of the best things about slow travel, if we like somewhere we’ve got the option of going back. It was the kids’ idea, they wanted Dad to see it because they enjoyed it so much. I’m glad I went along to Wat Arun a second time because there was a whole section we missed during our first visit.
For the children it was a combination of steep steps, cats and bells to ring, they’re easy to please!
Yes, they did shoot off all the way up there. I didn’t, they’re now calling me a wuss.
I’m not sure it’s the best Wat in Bangkok, I’m a big fan of The Grand Palace, it’s breathtaking, but Wat Arun ( the temple of the dawn) is really pretty and different.
It’s not all glitzy, sparkly gold and mirrors like Wat Pho and The Grand Palace, it’s got a really pretty floral design, totally different, really fresh and lovely.
The decorations are made from broken porcelain and cowrie shells, they all came from China as ballast on the trade ships.
Wat Arun Entrance Fee
Wat Arun is also one of the cheapest of the big tourist draw Wats, 50 Baht/adult, the children got in for nothing, Wat Pho was 100 Baht, The Grand Palace was 400 Baht. Child admission prices seem to be based on height, get the kids to look short and cute, sometimes D ( 9) gets in for free, sometimes not.
Prices were correct at the time of our last visit, please check for current prices.
You don’t get the huge crowds at Wat Arun as you do at the Palace or Wat Po. It’s a smaller complex to get around and it’s cooler with the river breeze, making it a more comfortable Wat to visit with children.
There are Two Parts to Wat Arun.
The part you have to pay to enter, the part with the prangs ( towers), is only a small part of this Buddhist temple complex, if you go around the edges there is much more to see. If you want to save yourself 50 Baht and don’t fancy climbing the prangs, don’t pay, just wander around the complex.
Getting to Wat Arun by Boat is Part of the Fun.
Wat Arun is very easy to get to by boat, it has its own jetty on the Chao Phraya River, right opposite the jetty for Wat Pho, a little ferry shuttles between the two sides of the river ( 3 Baht/person, the kids are free, sometimes). Different boats run up and down the river, the tourist boat will set you back 40 Baht for a one-way ticket, the “local” boat is 15 Baht. Look our for the huge river fish at the jetties, you can feed them for an extra 10 Baht from the Wat Arun side. Again, check the prices, they may have changed since publication.
If you’re heading to Thailand and looking for things to do in Bangkok, do your very best to get to Wat Arun, or at least take a look from the river. It’s nice to get up close and see the ceramics and gardens if you possibly can.