The Golden Mountain Temple, Named by the local people Wat Saket, is one extremely special and old temple in Bangkok city. It is located on a mountain that was once, the highest spot in the area viewing over the town, making the temple shine with its golden stupa from a distance.
The History of Wat Saket Bangkok
Dating back to the Ayutthaya era in the years 1350 to 1767, the Buddhist Temple Wat Saket, popularly known as the ‘Golden Mountain Temple’ because of its unique location on a steep hill.
Wat Saket is one of the oldest temples in the city and It is also one of the most visited spots in Bangkok.
An astounding representation of Thai architecture, the structure had its first renovation in the 19th century by orders of King Rama I (1737 – 1809), who also gave it its current name, discarding the previous Wat Sakae. According to tradition, the King opted for that name (which translates to ‘wash hair’) because he had stopped by the temple on his way back from war to take a bath.
The temple was originally built with the intention to serve as a crematorium. The need for casualties within the city walls became handy. When cholera disease spread throughout Bangkok in 1820 taking more than 60,000 lives. The disease was finally put down to a halt around 60 years later in 1881, and today there is a tribute at the entrance of the temple in memory of those who perished; because of this the temple and surroundings became to be known by locals as the ‘Ghost Gate’.
Golden Mountain Bangkok – These Days
The hill on which the Golden Mountain Temple stands nowadays resulted from a previous building that had collapsed due to the unstable ground. It was King Rama V who decades later oversaw the construction of a chedi – a Buddhist stupa on top of the hill, adding a massive structure of Buddha that was brought from Sri Lanka inside.
As it is, the Golden Mount is the highlight feature of this historical temple, standing 78 meters tall. At the entrance of Wat Saket, you will notice a collection of small animal figures. Each animal representing the Chinese Zodiac Years and the corresponding information about them.
The Special Atmosphere of Wat Saket
The 344 steps up can be a challenge for some. However, on your up, you will encounter dozens of funny entertaining statues all along the way. Those little figures turning the journey to the top amusing especially if you are traveling with your family and aware of the importance of entertainment for the kids.
Other than that, the presence of peaceful monks gathering to pray and chant gives the temple it’s a special atmosphere. Once they ring those giant bells, calling for all the good luck to come and be present to lift up everyone’s soul and spirits. A self bell ringing is available too if you are up to it.
If that is not enough, benches available along the way and a small café for refreshments as well. That in case you need to take a short break. The way up will take you around 10-15 minutes.
Once you reach the top of the hill, you will be thrilled with the majestic sight of the Golden Mountain Temple, shimmering against the city. Just a couple of decades ago, this was the highest point in the area. However, the Golden Mountain is still considered high due to the will of the Thai government which preserves the area and ensures that the Golden Mountain remains to be the highest spot in the area.
Once on the top, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of Bangkok. Featuring landmark buildings such as the Temple of Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, and the Rama VI Bridge.
So does it really worth visiting?
Bangkok has so many interesting attractions, amazing street food, and activities to offer. It doesn’t matter if you are a grown-up or a small kid, one thing is for sure; a day tour to the Golden Mountain Bangkok is definitely an essential activity, and if you came all the way to Thailand. Missing out on this unique sight would not be reasonable, especially when the entry fee is really so cheap as one and a half US dollars (approx $1.5) only.