Thailand is an exotic Southeast Asian country that offers travelers a great diversity of attractions. From modern night clubs to local markets and historic landmarks, visitors to Bangkok will find a diverse range of experiences.
As a Buddhist temple with buildings dedicated to Hindu gods and surrounding pavilions built in the Chinese style, Wat Arun is representative of the different influences that comprise the heritage and style of this nation. Wat Arun is a can’t miss destination for anyone eager to experience the true culture of Thailand.
Located in the Bangkok Yai district of Thailand’s capital city, the temple is a distinctive and recognizable landmark. The temple’s full name is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahawihan but is simply referred to as Wat Arun which means “Temple of the Dawn” and is named after the Hindu god of the dawn, Arun. According to sources, the name comes from the way the light of the early morning sun reflects off of the temple with a shimmering iridescence. The most distinctive and recognizable element of the temple is its khmer style prang which is found in the center of the temple complex.
The top of the central prang is decorated with a seven point trident known as Shiva’s Trident which refers to the Hindu god Shiva. The central temple is surrounded by four smaller prangs which have been decorated with seashells that were formally used as ballast by old Chinese trading ships. While visitors will find images of different Hindu gods, the central figure of worship is a statue of the Buddha which was cast by King Rama II and contains the ashes of this King in the base of the statue. Wat Arun plays a prominent role in the yearly festival of the Royal Kathin where visitors can watch as the King himself travels across a procession of royal barges to present new robes to the monks who reside in the temple.
As one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Thailand, Bangkok’s Wat Arun is a destination that every traveler who likes to stay in a boutique Bangkok hotel should include in their trip. Offering a unique look into the culture of this exotic land, the temple is easily accessible by public transportation. Many local tour companies will also include a trip to the Wat as part of their package. While there are many different sights, sounds and tastes to experience in Bangkok, it’s important to visit sites like Wat Arun to better understand the nature and influence of this diverse culture.