Historic Siam of old, Bangkok is beautifully set on the Chao Phraya River. Thai culture is rich and engaging in this bustling center, and its origins are reflected through centuries-old Buddhist wats, or temples. The towering Wat Arun, named for the god of the rising sun, stands dramatically on the river's banks. The revered temples and elegant buildings within the walls of the renowned Grand Palace date to the late 1700s. A gilded array of golden pagodas and stupas (shrines), it has been the royal family's residence for more than 150 years.