A One-Minute History of Wat Saket in Bangkok, Thailand
Thai Buddhism plays a significant role in the lives of the people residing in the Land of Smiles. This undoubtedly reflects in the number of temples visitors will find here, and while each one is noteworthy in its own way, there is one that towers, both literally and figuratively, above the rest: we are talking about Wat Saket in Bangkok. Here, everything you need to know about Wat Saket and the Golden Mount in 60 seconds.
The temple of Wat Saket
Wat Saket is one of the oldest structures in the capital. It was built during the Ayutthaya era but was later renovated in the early 19th century by King Rama I. He also renamed the temple from Wat Sakae to Wat Saket. Its original purpose was to serve as a crematorium, and later in the 19th century, it held the remains of those who succumbed to cholera. It is estimated there were some 60,000 victims laid to rest in this temple. Visitors will see the tribute to these victims when they first enter the temple.
The Golden Mount
The temple’s most noteworthy aspect is the large Golden Mount towering at the top of the man-made hill that the temple is found on. This is why it is also known as the Temple of the Golden Mount. The mount was added to the structure later under the reign of King Rama V and stands some 78 meters tall. The climb to the mount will require visitors to climb 320 steps, but the final destination is undoubtedly worth the workout. It is a relatively easy and enjoyable one, as well, as the stairs are short and wide and there are plenty of things to see along the way.
Sights along the climb
As visitors climb the steps, they will find a number of bells lining the red-paved walkways. Locals will ring these for good luck, and the chimes are a ringing reminder of how serious locals are about their beliefs. Visitors will also pass a small gravesite, myriad Buddhist images, benches for relaxing, and more on their climb. Do not be surprised if you see a number of monks meandering the grounds of the temple, as well.
Towering above the city
Until the 1960s, the mount was the highest point in the capital. The views from atop this temple are breathtaking, with nearby temples sprinkled amongst Bangkok’s urban décor making for one of the most picturesque of sights in the city. Be on the lookout for Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, and the Grand Palace from the top of the temple.
How do I get there?
The temple of Wat Saket and the Golden Mount are found on the Rattanakosin island in the Phra Nakhon District of the city. It can be reached easily by taking a taxi from the Sukhumvit area, though the temple is also close to the Panfa pier.
Hours: open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Fees: ฿20 for foreigners, free for Thais