Wat Arun – best place to watch sunset in Bangkok
You’ll never find it difficult to locate a temple in Bangkok, but Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is one of the most spectacular, and it should be on your list of things to see if you are ever in Bangkok. Located on the west side of the bustling Chao Phraya River, it sits majestically above its low level surroundings.
They are very strict on clothing here so if you are not wearing respectful and appropriate attire, sarongs can be purchased at the point of entry.
Visitors can climb to the top of the main prang. It’s something I highly recommend and the views at the top make it all worthwhile. If you have any form of mobility issues, these are not the stairs for you. They are so steep that they are almost vertical, and you need to have at least one hand free to steady yourself along the way.
It’s best to visit this temple in the late afternoon. It’s usually a little quieter, and it then allows you enough time to experience the area in the daylight, before heading across the river to the eastern side in order to find a great place to set yourself up in time for watching the sun set behind the temple.
Every guide book will tell you that you must see this in action, and they are oh so right. The sun setting and twinkling behind this incredible architectural specimen is simply gorgeous.
There are plenty of quiet spots within the grounds of Wat Arun as well as many beautiful gardens.
Chao Phraya riverlife
This river is always active. It is a source of trade and transportation so it’s always fascinating to just sit back and watch the activity.
We had a little time to kill before sunset so our first stop once back across the river was at Sala Arun. This was a funky new cafe/bistro/wine bar, with indoor seating around the bar if you need some respite from the heat, or tables that are outdoors, overlooking the river and of course, a direct view of Wat Arun. If you are wanting to dine here, it’s best to make a reservation, particularly if you want to reserve a table at the window to ensure a special sunset view.
After a couple of cold ales, we then headed to Ambrosas, a bar that is well known and well documented as one of the best places to watch sunset in Bangkok. Whilst no competitor to Sala Arun in terms of interior design, what it lacks here it makes up for in offering a local feel and a view to die for! A couple of cocktails later, we had established ourselves front and centre at the bar, ready for the sunset. In the meantime, we just kicked back and watched the daily Bangkok river life unfurl along the waterways.
Eating by the river
Long after the sun had gone down, our final destination of the day was ‘Eat Sight Story Deck’ for a great Thai banquet. This restaurant, located on the river side of a rather run down warehouse-looking building also offers amazing night time views of Wat Arun, shimmering in the night lights.
Finally that sunset
Knowing the best place to watch sunset in Bangkok is really important to know before you visit these locations as there is a bit of planning involved.
How to get to Wat Arun
It’s easy! From Wat Pho, walk down to the river to Tha Tien Pier (Pier 8). Boats come and go regularly here and take you directly across to the Wat Arun grounds. You can buy a ticket at the ticket office at the pier. Tickets cost 3 baht for adults.
How to get from War Arun to the east bank
The pier is located nearby. Take a boat across the river to Tha Thien Pier. Just make sure the boat is going in the correct direction and will stop at Tha Tien.
Wat Arun is open daily from 8.30am until 5.30pm.
Entrance fees (for foreign visitors) is 30 baht.