Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount), Bangkok

Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount), Bangkok (must see)

Wat Saket is a Buddhist temple and a famous landmark in Bangkok, dating back to the Ayutthaya era. The towering gold chedi of Wat Saket, once the highest point in the city, is notable for its spectacular views, much as for hosting the annual Loy Krathong festival.

A steep hill with a shiny dome inside the Wat Saket compound, covered in small golden squares reflecting the sun, is called “Golden Mount”. As such, the Golden Mount is not a natural mountain but an artificial one, and was constructed under King Rama III when the latter attempted to build a chedi which collapsed because of the soft soil beneath. The king, thus, ordered that a sturdy mound of mud and bricks be made to support the structure. For about half a century, the mound was left alone until it took the shape of a natural hill and was overgrown with weeds, and was thenceforth called "Phu Khao". King Rama IV built a small chedi on top of it and put nearly 1,000 teak logs, all along the shore, to prevent the structure from sinking into the swampy ground. Finally, Rama V completed the chedi that stands here today housing a Buddha relic brought from India. During World War II, a set of concrete walls were added to prevent the hill from eroding and the structure from collapsing.

From late October to mid-November (for 9 days around the full moon), Wat Sakhet hosts Bangkok's most important temple fair, part of the Loy Krathong festival. During this event, a red cloth is wrapped around the Golden Mount and a carnival starts with many food stalls, theatrical performances, freak shows and animal circuses. This festival also includes a candlelight procession up to the Golden Mount, during which worshipers place flowers and light candles near the temple.

To reach the Golden Mount's peak, 318 steps must be ascended, but it is well worth the effort as the panoramic view of Bangkok, opening from the top, is truly spectacular!

Why You Should Visit:
Bangkok is a pretty flat city, so to be able to scale the only hill for miles around and see a lovely temple on top, from which to admire the view... is quite great!

Tip:
Go early in the morning to avoid the heat and the crowds.
If it's hot and sunny, be sure to have a hat or some sort of parasol, as you'll be exposed to the sun most of the way up.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7:30am-5:30pm

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Bangkok, Thailand within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount) on Map

Sight Name: Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount)
Sight Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Bangkok, Thailand

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