Wat Saket is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok built during the early years of the reign of Rama I. It was originally named Wat Sakae until the King renamed it in Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan after a first restructuring. The temple is located just outside the old area of Rattanakosin Island, close to waterway Khlong Saen Saep. Wat Saket's structure best known is The Golden Mount, Phu Khao Thong in Thai, a man-made hill with a golden chedi 80 meters high on the hilltop, which was completed during the reign of King Rama V after decades of construction. The hill was artificially raised during the reign of King Rama III, to build on it, subsequently, a large chedi to beautify the Wat Saket complex. During the construction the hill collapsed, due to the ground too soft to support the great weight. Several years later King Rama IV strengthens the hill making it more stable with a large number of logs, and so was built a small chedi up it. The great golden stupa existing today was built during the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V, and became the high point of the whole Bangkok. In 1940 the hill was further strengthened using concrete. To reach the golden stupa on top of hill you have to climb a staircase of 318 steps. It is home of some sacred relics of the Buddha brought here from India. On one of the platforms along the climb there is a row of large bells for prayer, producing a very deep sound, very useful in ancient times when the Golden Mount was used as a lookout point for fires. Even today the top platform is the perfect place to enjoy a 360 degree view of the old district of Bangkok. Wat Saket is located at the foot of the hill, but most of the tourists ignore it preferring to climb the hill to visit the golden chedi. In the temple complex there are a Phra Ubusot, the ordination hall, a Viharn, named Ho Trai and houses of sacred Buddhist scriptures, and the monks’s residences. Wat Saket in ancient time was used to cremate the dead peoples too poor to afford a funeral. When an epidemic hit Bangkok during the reign of King Rama II, the remains of tens of thousands of poor people have been brought here for cremated. Every year, in mid-November, to coincide with the Loy Krathong, Wat Saket hosts a grand festival that lasts nine days. The faithful Buddhists carry a long red cloth over their heads; they climb the stairs up to the top of Golden Mount to pray in front of Buddha's relics and to wrap the cloth around the base of the chedi.
Admission fee & Opening hours: Wat Saket is open daily from 08.30 to 17.00. The access to temple is free; the admission to the chedi costs 20 THB.
Getting there: The temple is located about 500 meters east of the Victory Monument, approximately in the center of Thanon Ratchadamnoen Klang Road. There aren’t SkyTrain or Subway stations in the immediate vicinity; the best way to get there is to use a metered taxi, always cheap in Bangkok, or in alternative to use the boats that run along the Khlong Saen Saep.Read More
Wat Saket & Golden Mount Events
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