Most visitors to Bangkok have heard that the iconic Wat Arun on the riverside is also known as ‘The temple of Dawn’, but the best time to capture its beauty is at sunset. And the best place to witness the sun disappearing precisely behind the monument is from the balcony of ‘Arun Residence’, a great restaurant located right across the Chao Phraya River. For this exact reason, the hard to find Arun Residence is now an increasingly popular restaurant and reserving a table has become necessary. Serving an excellent Thai food, it’s the perfect place to dine with friends on a trip to Bangkok, or even for a romantic tete a tete. The restaurant is quite narrow but there is plenty of space over the three floors and wooden terrace. Unfortunately, a large boat often parks in front and although it doesn’t really obstruct the view, it doesn’t looks very good in a photo.
Luckily there is a way to get that irresistible sunset photo. The secret is to climb to the top floor bar and enjoy a drink before dinner. Open entirely on the side facing the temple of dawn, the bar is very cosy and the view from up there is simply breathtaking. As the sun slowly drifts down right behind Wat Arun, creating a gigantic shadow play, everyone suddenly becomes quiet and all cameras get busy. Once the sun has disappeared, don’t go yet as the best is still to come. Order a second drink and take the time to enjoy the declining light between twilight and dusk as the sky displays an ever-changing palette of colours as drifting dinner cruise boats adding their festive lights to the exotic atmosphere. When sky becomes dark it’s time for dinner and you can move to the table you wisely booked in advance. At this point the view is not as important as the idea of a nice dinner and the breeze adds a nice touch to the riverside ambiance.
Food at Arun Residence is prominently Thai, elaborate without being too sophisticated, it definitely keeps an authentic Thai flavour and some dishes can be spicy. As we did on one of our many visits, you can start with some fried frog legs with peppercorn, it is always more fun to order unusual things and experience a different taste of Thailand. Try also their great pomelo salad, (an overgrown grapefruit) an interesting combination of sour, spicy and delicately sweet. Follow with a nice mushroom salad and duck confit with green apple, but make sure you keep some space for the famous mango sticky rice. Found at the end of a small soi (a lane) in the old city, Arun Residence is not easily accessible; the only way is by car or better by taxi as parking can be scarce. Since it is located precisely behind the famous Grand Palace, it is the perfect way to end an afternoon spent exploring Wat Prakaew and Wat Pho.
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 11:00 am 10:00 pm, Fri – Sun 11:00 am 11:00 pm (top floor bar opens 5.30pm)
Location: 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road
Tel: 02 221 9158
How to get there: There are no BTS in this area so to get there, taxi is the best way.