Thailand has many known temples, but Wat Arun is one of the most well known of them. This iconic landmark is situated on the West Bank of the Chao Phraya River, with the sunset falling right behind it and the lights illuminating the temple come nightfall.
Being waterfront and right across Wat Pho, there are many opportunities to take photographs of the stunning Wat Arun. The architecture of the temple is also very unique, making it one of the must-see places in Bangkok.
As the meaning of its name suggests, Wat Arun is called the Temple of Dawn. With its colorfully decorated tiles overlooking the river, it’s no wonder why people from all over the world come to take photographs and see its wonder.
During our visit to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand – we made it our mission to find the best place to see Wat Arun at Night, Wat Arun at Sunset, and Wat Arun at Sunrise. Photography is something that we are extremely passionate about, so taking in the silhouettes of the temple as the sun sets behind it and the lights start to shimmer was a priority in our Bangkok Bucket List.
This guide will show you where we traversed to find the best place to see Wat Arun during the three most magical times of the day.
Overview of Wat Arun
Wat Arun: The Temple of Dawn
- The history of Wat Arun dates back to the late 1700’s when it was stumbled upon by King Taksin.
- It is believed that after King Taksin fought the war with the Burmese Army in Ayutthaya, he made it to the temple at the break of dawn.
- He then decided to reconstruct the temple and call it Wat Arun, or the Temple of Dawn.
- Through the centuries, the temple has been renovated, developed and has become the home of the Emerald Buddha before it was moved to Wat Pho or the Grand Palace.
- Today it stands as one of the most visited places in Bangkok.
- It is also one of most widely recognizable landmarks with its majestic structure and intricate design that can be seen from afar.
- Located by the Chao Phraya River, many people come to take photographs of Wat Arun at Night, Wat Arun at Sunset, and Wat Arun at Sunrise.
When is the Best Time to See Wat Arun
Wat Arun at Sunset
For us, Wat Arun at Sunset is the best time to see the temple. Below we have summarized a few reasons why:
- Wat Arun at Sunset is a beautiful sight to behold. As the sun sets directly behind the temple, you will be rewarded with some beautiful silhouette shots of the majestic structure of Wat Arun.
- Make sure to get to the East Bank of the Chao Phraya River at least 1 hour before sunset time to find the best spot to take photographs of the temple.
- The East Bank can get quite crowded during this time so you’ll want to ensure that you find your own spot and avoid the bigger restaurant chains or hotels that require reservations or are expensive to dine in. We discuss our recommendation of where to go to see Wat Arun at Sunset in the next section.
Wat Arun at Night
For us, Wat Arun at Night, especially during the early hours following sunset, when the sky is at blue hour is also a noteworthy time, to see the temple. Below we have summarized a few reasons why:
- Wat Arun at Night means the lights of the temple have been turned on for all to see.
- These lights glimmer across the sky and reflect over Chao Phraya River, making it a truly magical sight.
- If you already have plans to see Wat Arun at Sunset, you might as well stay an hour more to see Wat Arun at night and get some incredible photographs in.
- It’s also a great sight to behold if you want to have a romantic dinner with your partner at one of the restaurants by the Chao Phraya River.
- If that’s the case, then we would recommend that you splurge out a little bit and have a fancy meal overlooking the view of the temple. We discuss our recommendation for a Wat Arun at Dinner restaurant that you can check out.
Wat Arun at Sunrise
Seeing Wat Arun at Sunrise is also a great experience to consider. It’s less crowded and although the sun rises on the other side, it promises golden rays as it shines over Wat Arun, entailing a rather unique photo opportunity than the typical silhouette shots that is often seen.
Best Place to See Wat Arun
Finding the best place to see Wat Arun at Night, Wat Arun at Sunset or Wat Arun at Sunrise on the East bank of Chao Phraya River can be quite an overwhelming experience.
This side of the river holds various restaurants, bars, cafes, street markets, and housing complexes that make it difficult to find the best place to see Wat Arun at Night, Wat Arun at Sunset or Wat Arun at Sunrise.
In this section, we discuss the 3 options you can consider, depending on your schedule and budget.
ViVi The Coffee Place
If you’re a digital nomad and constantly working on the go, then staying at a coffee shop which offers the beautiful views of Wat Arun at Sunset and Wat Arun at Night is your best choice.
For us, we stayed at the terrace of ViVi the Coffee Place, located at Pansuk Alley. The coffee in this place is decently priced for the view that you get in return especially if you have to work.
We actually found this spot by chance as we were walking around looking for the most affordable coffee spot but where we could still enjoy the view.
If you are on a budget and don’t want to spend hundreds of baht staying at an expensive restaurant or rooftop bar where it’s a bit weird to take out your laptop and start working, then the best place to see Wat Arun at Night and Wat Arun at Sunset is ViVi the Coffee Place.
Below is a map of where it’s located on the East Bank of Chao Phraya River.
Secret Viewpoints of Wat Arun
If you don’t have to work and are simply looking for the best place to see Wat Arun at Night or Wat Arun at Sunset for FREE, then we have two recommended secret viewpoints that we have discovered during our time in Bangkok:
- The first spot is actually right beside ViVi the Coffee Place. There is a parking spot that has become quite known, where you can see Wat Arun at Night or Wat Arun at Sunset.
- Before, this spot was actually not yet searchable in google maps but upon checking recently, it has now been geotagged. Below is a map of exactly where it’s located.
The next spot is still a best-kept secret, below are a few details on how you can get there:
- The next secret spot is right beside a restaurant called Supanniga Eating Room, not far from the first secret spot.
- If you continue down the alley from the restaurant, there is a secret and small pier named Riva Arun Pier, where you can get amazing views of Wat Arun at Night or Wat Arun at Sunset. Below is a map of exactly where it’s located.
Restaurants and Rooftop Bars at Thai Wang Alley
Now as we mentioned earlier, if you’d rather have a romantic sunset or dinner experience at a restaurant or rooftop bar (with budget being no issue), there are many choices available.
Most of the best restaurants and bars can be found at Thai Wang Alley. Here is a list of some of them that you can check out.
Best Places to Stay Near Wat Arun
Staying near Wat Arun is a good idea as it’s a very central location in Bangkok, near major must-visit attractions, commercial arterias, and the overall lively atmosphere. It can also be quite cheap, starting at 16 euros per night for 2 people.
Here’s a short list we’ve compiled of the best places to stay near Wat Arun:
Royal ThaThien Village
– Room rates for two people start at 16 euros per night.
– Room rates for two people start at 20 euros per night.
– Room rates for two people start at 22 euros per night.
– Room rates for two people with shared bathroom start at 22 euros per night.
Elefin Bed and Breakfast
– Room rates for two people with breakfast start at 32 euros per night.
Sunset and Night Tours in Bangkok
If you’re looking to go on a Sunset or Night Tour encompassing Wat Arun and other great temples in Bangkok, here are some of the top picks in the area that you can consider.
Map of the Best Place to See Wat Arun at Night, Sunset or Sunrise
So there you have it! If you’re looking for the best place to see Wat Arun at Night, Wat Arun at Sunset or Wat Arun at Sunrise, then this google maps itinerary has got you covered. Seeing this iconic landmark in Bangkok during the most beautiful times of the day is a definite must-do, especially if you’re into photography.
Have you been to Bangkok and Wat Arun? Do you know of any other best places to see Wat Arun at Night, Sunset or Sunrise that we have not covered in this guide? Let us know of your travel experiences or questions in the comments below!