Wat Arun

The striking Temple of Dawn, named after the Indian god of dawn, Aruna, appears in all the tourist brochures and is located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phray River. The present wat was built on the site of 17th century Wat Jang, which served as the palace and royal temple of King Taksin when Thonburi was the Thai capital; hence, it was the last home of the Emerald Buddha before Rama I brought it across the river to Wat Phra Kaew.

The 82m prang (Khmer-style tower) was constructed during the first half of the 19th century by Rama II and Rama III. The unique design elongates the typical Khmer prang into a distinctly Thai shape. Its brick core has a plaster covering embedded with a mosaic of broken, multihued Chinese porcelain, a common temple ornamentation in the early Ratanakosin period when Chinese ships calling at Bangkok used tonnes of old porcelain as ballast. Steep staris reach a lookout point about halfway up the prang from where there are fine views of Thonburi and the river. During certain festivals, hundreds of lights illuminate the outline of the prang at night.

Also worth a look is the interior of the bot. The main Buddha image is said to have been designed by Rama II himself. The murals date to the reign of Rama V;particularly impressive is one that depicts Prince Siddhartha encountering examples of birth, old age, sickness and death outside his palace walls, and experience that led him to abandon the worldly life. The ashes of Rama II are interred in the base of the bot's presiding Buddha image.

The temple looks more impressive from the river than it does up close, though the peaceful wat grounds make a very nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Between the prang and the ferry pier is a huge sacred banyan tree.

Wat Arun is open daily from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm; admission is 20B. To reach Wat Arun from the Bangkok side, catch a cross river ferry from Tha Tien at Th Thai wang. Crossings are frequent and cost only 3B.

Wat Bowon

Wat Bovornives (also known as Wat Bowonniwet or Wat Bowon), on Th Phra Sumen in Banglamphu, is the national headquarters for the Thammayut monastic sect, the minority sect in Thai Buddhism. King Mongkut, founder of the Thammayuts, began a royal tradition by residing here as a monk- in fact he was the abbot of Wat Bowon for several years. King Bhumibol and Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, as well as several other males in the royal family, have been temporarily ordained as monks here. The temple was founded in 1826, when it was known as Wat Mai.

Bangkok's second Buddhist university, Mahamakut University, is housed at Wat Bowon. India, Nepal and Sri Lanka all send selected monks to study here. Across the street from the main entrance to the wát are an English-language Buddhist bookshop and a Thai herbal clinic.

Because of its royal status, visitors should be particularly careful to dress properly for admittance to this wát - no shorts or sleeveless shirts.

More detail : http://www.watbowon.org/

Wat Pho

Wat Pho, the official name being Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn , is a first grade royal monastery, regarded as the most important one during the reign of King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty. The importance of this is due to the King having managed the restoration of Wat Phodharam, an old monastery from the Ayudhya period, and had it re-established as a royal monastery located near the Grand Palace. Some ashes of King Rama I were also kept under the pedestal of the principal Buddha image known as Phra Buddha Deva Patimakorn in the main chapel.
The monastery is located on an area of 20 acres to the south of the Grand Palace, with Thai Wang road in the north, Sanam Chai road in the east, Setthakan road in the south and Maharat road in the west. Separated by a tall white wall on Chetuphon road, the monastery has two main quarters : the sacred (or a chapel section = Buddhavas) and the residential (or the monk's living section = Sangghavas).
It is said in a stone inscription that, after moving to the Grand Palace, King Phra Buddha Yod Fa The Great (King Rama I) recognized that there were 2 old temples along both sides of the Grand Palace : Wat Salak (Wat Mahatart) in the north, and Wat Phodharam in the south. He ordered his noblemen from the department of the Ten Crafts to restore Wat Phodharam in 1788. This first restoration took 7 years 5 months and 28 days. Then there was a celebration in 1801 and the Royal named it “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklavas”, which was changed to “ Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm during the reign of King Rama IV.

The great restoration, having taken 16 years and 7 months, was done during the reign of King Rama III, by extending both the South Vihara and West Vihara where the large reclining Buddha image is kept, the Missakawan Park, Phra Mondob (Library Hall) and teaching-learning hall as they are of today. Although there was another restoration before the Bangkok Bicentennial Celebration in 1982, no more other major work has been done on the monastery, except for some minor repairs. From the by-paths of history in the great restoration during King Rama I and King Rama III, it is said that all best craftsmen from the Royal Palace, outside the palace, all art work specialists, and the monks devoted themselves in creating this elaborately decorated monastery. This was done to fulfill the King's ambition of using this Wat as the centre of Thai arts and knowledge, where descendants can study indefinitely.

In “ The Ubosot of Wat Pho “ book, Chakrabhand Posayakrit who is a famous artist of Thailand said on October 10, 1999 “The fine arts in Wat Pho are a bounteous wealth of knowledge. These enormously valuable resources can stimulate and enhance youthful enthusiasm for attaining artistic excellence and distinction.”

Wat Pho is an important landmark in the Rattanakosin area. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Buddhist fine arts and the existing Thai intellect which has descended from ancient times, taken as immortal careers knowledge. The monastery is open daily from 08.00 to 17.00 hrs., with an admission fee of 20 baht.

From : http://www.watpho.com/