The Temple of Dawn, or Wat Arun as it is also known, is one of Bangkok’s most famous temples. Its whole structure has been painstaking adorned with tiny bits of coloured glass and porcelain and it looks incredibly majestic by the Chao Pharya River on the Thonburi side. It really is an unmissable Bangkok attraction.
There’s a convenient shuttle boat from the other side of the river which costs just 3 baht and takes you almost directly outside the entrance. Tickets to The Temple of Dawn cost just 50 baht (around £1).
Like many temples in Thailand, it’s important to dress modestly as a sign of respect. At the entrance it’s possible to hire out shawls to cover exposed legs or arms, for a small deposit.
The highest spire or prang is around 80 meters in height and it’s possible to climb up it. The accent is a very steep one consisting of a fair number of steps. Once you make it to the top you are rewarded with a great view of the Chao Phraya River and beyond.
When I visited there were yellow sheets hanging up witch people were writing on. A lot of the writing was Thai but I think that they were signing their names or perhaps writing Buddhist prayers.
After thoroughly exploring Wat Arun by foot, I recommend jumping on the shuttle boat back to the opposite side of the river where there are a number of rooftop bars that have wonderful views of Wat Arun. I went to Eagles Nest which is an open air lounge located directly opposite, to watch the sun set over Wat Arun. I can’t recommend this enough, in fact it was probably one of the most memorable things that I’ve done in Bangkok.
Eagle Nest is little treasure of a bar. The staff are warm and friendly, the atmosphere is relaxed and inviting and the music is ambient. There are snacks, cocktails and warm drinks available and it’s reasonably priced when you compare it to other fancy rooftop bars in Bangkok. Best of all is the 360 degree view from which some of Bangkok’s most iconic buildings can be seen. At one end of the lounge are stunning views of Wat Arun and at the other are stunning views of the Grand Palace.
When you travel, sometimes things aren’t all they are cracked up to be in the flesh. Hyped-up attractions or travel experiences that you read about in shiny travel guides sometimes don’t blow you away like you hoped they would. I suppose the things that really amaze you are subjective and can sometimes catch you by surprise. For me, witnessing the sun set over Wat Arun and its reflection dancing on the water was one of those overwhelmingly stunning sites that took my breath away in a way that I could never have expected. These unpredictable but amazing moments are what travelling is really about.
The Eagles Nest is located at the top of the Sala Arun Hotel. There is more information on its location and how to get to it on its website.