The History of Wat Saket Bangkok
Dating back to the Ayutthaya era in years 1350 to 1767, the Wat Saket Buddhist Temple, popularly known as the ‘Golden Mountain Temple’ because of its unique location on a steep hill. it 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 spread throughout Bangkok in 1820 taking more than 60,000 lives. The disease was finally put down to a halt 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 344 steps up can be a challenge. However, on your up, you will encounter dozens of funny statues all along the way. Those little figures make the journey to the top amusing. Peaceful monks gathered to pray and chant gives the temple it’s special atmosphere. They might ring giant bells calling for all the good luck to present and lift up your spirits. A self bell ringing is available too if you are up to it. Benches available along the way and 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 regaled 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. The Golden Mount is still considered high. The Thai government is making sure it is kept that way. 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 grown-up or a small kid, one thing is for sure; day tour to the Golden Mountain Bangkok is definitely an essential activity and if you came all the way to Thailand, you might not want to miss it especially when the entry fee is kept as cheap as one and half US dollar.